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HOKUSAI (review)

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Got to try out this place, HOKUSAI, the other night, located in the spot where The Continental used to be on Wilshire.

The place looks much different. It's dark and has very modern, urban feel to it. Sort of like a cross between the spartan interior of R23 and the swank sort of vibe that e3d Steakhouse tries to achieve.

The food is supposed to be Japanese-French fusion, but to me it was more "just" Japanese than anything else. Couldn't really see, nor taste, any French influence in the dishes.

We didn't bother with the menus, just went ahead and had quasi-omasake chef's tasting menu. 8 courses total if I recall correctly.

Some items of note:
a cucumber mozuku salmon roe salad
waygu beef wrapped around asparagus tips
various sashimi courses, some infused with champagne I think (was this the French influence?) monk fish liver
bay scallops

Every thing was pretty good, not great. Fish was fresh. Presentation was lovely.

Servers were very friendly, and if I'm not mistaken, one was actually hitting on my dinner companion ...

I didn't pay, but my guess was that bill (before alcohol) was probably around 200.

Hokusai
8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211View Map
(323) 782-9717
http://www.hokusairestaurant.com/

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  1. Ate at Hokusai last night. This place is a staightforward sushi joint as I did not feel a hint of french cuisine. We had the miso soup, chilled vegetable dish, hamachi sashimi plate with jalapeno and ponzu, salmon sashimi with herbs, softshell crab roll, caterpillar roll, and one hamachi scallion hand roll and one spicy tuna hand roll to end the night. We had 3 beers each, and the bill for 2 came out to about $140 with tax and tip included.

    I would go back for a nice mellow sushi experience since I live half a block away. They did tell me that from 4-7 they have a happy hour with small plates at half price, and hand rolls for $3. Not a bad deal.

    Will revisit and report back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Schweinhaxen

      My office is very near Hokusai, and I went there right when they opened, and then again (even though I wasn't impressed the first time, I always will try something twice unless I get sick):
      1st Visit - subpar sushi and sashimi, but really good rock shrimp tempura. Very pricey for lunch, felt a little taken on such mediocre sushi so close to Matsuhisa.
      2nd Visit - got a lunch special, so was a little more price-friendly. Again, the fish that they made nigiri out of was really not that good. Their unique way of doing rolls that came with lunch were really good and interesting and almost worth a second visit, but at the end of the day, I have to say that if I'm spending $30 on lunch, I'd walk the block and a half to go to Matsuhisa.

    2. Had lunch at Hokusai last week, omakase. Would have passed by the building if not paying attention driving down Wilshire and was surprised by the contrast provided by the expansive, simple and tasteful interior. Sushi and sashimi were of excellent quality with attractive presentation - take note for the future to impress someone. The mix of seafood and terrestrial (wagyu and jidori) would make it easy if you have a picky, nothing raw, guest. The sake offerings were carefully chosen and unique, better hurry as a number of old distilleries are feeling the pinch of shochu popularity which is by the way also well represented in the menu.

      The service was attentive but not obtrusive and inquiries beyond the database of the server brought the manager Tiger (no relation to Nike) with a informative and enthusiastic explanation or discussion. I had originally alloted 2 hrs for a leisurely meal but had to call the office to push back the schedule an extra hour.

      Need more places like this.

      1. hmmm..was planning on giving it try. But from the sound of it, doesn't seem like it's any different from Koi..Katana...Katsuya

        1. i thought i would share my review
          pics over here: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...

          Last Friday I took a lawyer friend of mine to dinner, to thank him for all his help in some matter against BofA (if you're interested, see this post).

          He suggested we go for sushi, and requested that the place also serve martinis. I figured that would limit me to the trendy sushi restaurants. I decided to try a place I have never been to, and since Hokusai had some good reviews on citysearch, I thought I would give it a try.

          The place was loud, as expected. We arrived on time but the table wasn't ready, so we waited about 15 minutes. They did have a list of martinis. I ordered a cantaloupe martini and he ordered a lemon drop martini. The martini was very strong, and not sweet enough for my personal taste.

          They had something called a 90211 roll that I really wanted. It had wagyu beef, foie gras, and black truffles. Unfortunately, they were out of wagyu beef :( so I settled for other things.

          We got some sashimi/carpaccio dishes. This was the tuna wasabi
          <pic>
          I thought this was pretty good, although too spicy for me! (I'm weak sauce). The tuna was pretty fresh and the sauce was delicious. Again, spicy though.

          They mistakenly placed this tuna carpaccio that was meant for another table on ours:
          They said it's ours now and on the house since it was their mistake. Underneath all those stuff are slices of tuna. I really like this dish, since it had lots of mayo-based sauce and I love mayo. It is quite different from other carpaccio dishes I've had before and it's quite a refreshing change.
          And free is always good too! :

          )

          We also ordered some regular sushi. Some salmon, salmon belly, hamachi belly, etc
          The fish itself is not bad although not comparable to real sushi places like Sasabune, Asakuma, Mori etc. The slices were small though and they put too much rice.
          This place was definitely better for the carpaccio/appetizer dishes than the sushi.

          We got the chocolate moelleux for dessert. Good, standard chocolate souffle:
          Better than what a lot of places dare to call "souffle", though not the best.

          All in all, I liked the appetizers and the creativity in the dishes, but sushi and the fish itself is subpar.

          1. Cynaburst and I ate here last Wednesday night, in one of our rare adults-only dinners; we picked it for its proximity to the LACMA event we were going to later that evening for the opening of the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum. We liked the look of the place OK and some of the food was decent (a toro sashimi platter was quite good, for example) but on balance, it actually had quite a bit in common with the new Broad Museum- despite interesting ideas, ultimately the execution just wasn't memorable. Service was fine as were the expensive drinks, but I have to think one would be better off at Matsuhisa for this sort of stylish Japanese-inspired fare in the area.