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Chaya in Venice -- Good?

liu Apr 24, 2007 06:10 PM

I enjoyed Chaya years ago when they first opened. I would like to hear a recent report.

If not there, are there any other really good sushi bars within walking distance of Abbot-Kinney?

Thanks!

  1. g
    glutton Apr 24, 2007 09:11 PM

    I like it. For a place that's been there for that long, they still have a bit of buzz in the room. I cannot really comment on the sushi, but the cooked dishes are excellent. I've had both good fish and good pork there, so they've got some versatility.

    1. s
      spicychow Apr 24, 2007 09:32 PM

      I like it a lot. I haven't had their sushi, but their cooked items are great. I usually get their sea bass, and it's really good. Plus the restaurant has great happy hour.

      1. liu Apr 24, 2007 10:01 PM

        I'm thinking lunch and sushi...do I still have your votes?

        2 Replies
        1. re: liu
          g
          glutton Apr 25, 2007 07:16 AM

          never had lunch there and never had sushi there, so any recommendation I make would be based on general faith in the ability of the restaurant. I have to think that the sushi would be decent.

          1. re: liu
            wilafur Apr 25, 2007 09:24 AM

            i've only been to chaya venice for lunch a couple fo times and it is not bad at all. the food is well presented and tasty but, imo, a tad pricey for what you get.

          2. l
            lakeshow318 Apr 24, 2007 10:14 PM

            ditto on the fried sea bass with curry sauce. overall, pretty darn good. can't comment on their sushi, but their dishes are very good. a little pricey though.

            1. y
              yogachik Apr 25, 2007 08:41 AM

              Do a search here - there's a very recent (this week) discussion about Chaya Venice. And yes, it is still excellent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: yogachik
                liu Apr 25, 2007 11:28 AM

                Thanks, yogachik. I read your very positive review there.

              2. liu Apr 25, 2007 03:18 PM

                Thanks to everyone who responded so quickly and offered pretty positive feedback. Perhaps we will change our approach and NOT order sushi since the other items seem pretty good.

                Still, I am curious, so if anyone has had a sushi lunch here recently, I would be interested in your review.

                4 Replies
                1. re: liu
                  omotosando Apr 26, 2007 06:08 PM

                  I don't think there is any great sushi in that vicinity. Sushi Roku on Ocean in Santa Monica is unbelievably mediocre. Tengu recently opened in Santa Monica. Haven't been, but the L.A. Times really blasted the sushi. Chaya is probably okay if you want a roll, but I wouldn't order full out sushi there.

                  1. re: omotosando
                    liu Apr 26, 2007 08:49 PM

                    Advice from a trusted 'Hound -- thanks, omotosando!

                    When sushi is an option, everything else pales in comparison; I will, however, heed your advice.

                    1. re: liu
                      omotosando Apr 26, 2007 08:57 PM

                      Yeah, but mediocre sushi is crushingly disappointing. I remember biting into the sushi at Sushi Roku in Santa Monica and frowning in dismay.

                    2. re: omotosando
                      e
                      epop Apr 26, 2007 10:58 PM

                      yes, sushi roku is a complete disappointment and always was. i was reserving some hope for Tengu but it seems like we're stuck with corporate sushi

                  2. b
                    bulavinaka Apr 26, 2007 09:50 PM

                    I don't know if you're doing lunch or dinner, but two places on Abbot Kinney come to mind for dinner. Wabi Sabi and Shima are diametrically opposed in many ways, while being slightly similar in others. Wabi Sabi tends to have unique spins on a lot of Japanese and other Asian dishes. You either think they're the bomb, or you may wish someone would just drop a bomb on Wabi Sabi's kitchy new Venice attitude. While we have a couple of friends who can't get enough of this place, it's too trendy, busy, and loud for me, not to mention the prices that seem to indicate that this place has gotten pretty full of itself. Their chefs are adventurous but I often wonder where do I relate this food to.

                    Shima, on the other hand, is a more straight-forward first rate sushi experience but with a couple of exceptions that are interesting and vital. The twist on Shima's sushi is the rice - the brown rice. And being that Yoshi (the owner) is a true stickler about each and every aspect of your sushi dining experience being just so, he mills his own rice to achieve just the right amount of bran on each grain of rice to have the right nuttiness and texture. So much about Yoshi and Shima brings to mind the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, from the simple 81/2 by 11 sheet of paper posted on the wall outside his restaurant that modestly announces his restaurant's presence, to the clean, mid-century modern feel of his dining area where the furniture and plates stacked on the counter seem to mismatch and match at the same time. From the seemingly out-of-placeness of brown rice for his sushi, to his methodic, unflinching and seemingly obsessive standards for quality and freshness (he makes his own tofu, a simple yet supreme ingredient in the right hands) - Shima seems to have that knack for perfecting imperfection, which gets me back to what Wabi Sabi and Shima might have in common. While Wabi Sabi seems to have some design aspects of its namesake - the front door's handle made from a seemingly random twig, it only offers lip service to the concept by sacrilegiously emblazoning their name on their storefront. Shima on the other hand obviously lives the concept. And the artwork hanging on the wall isn't half-bad either.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bulavinaka
                      liu Apr 26, 2007 11:01 PM

                      This is a terrific comparison of the two! I have been to Wabi Sabi and I know about Shima, so you really captured the essence of each. Thanks...I'm still thinking Chaya for lunch.

                      1. re: liu
                        b
                        bulavinaka Apr 27, 2007 06:58 AM

                        I think Chaya is a great choice. Much more accessible in terms of hours and choices... Shima is all about the eating experience - the focus is on the food. While Chaya has food that is similar in vein to Wabi Sabi, the atmosphere is more airy, sophisticated, and conducive to good conservation with your dining companions.

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          liu Apr 27, 2007 08:13 AM

                          This will be a special occasion lunch, so you are exactly to the point.

                          Another time I will visit Shima because it sounds like my kind of place...thanks!

                    2. westsidegal Apr 26, 2007 09:55 PM

                      the best sushi in that area, imho, is shima, and as i recall, they are only open for dinner.

                      Shima
                      1432 Abbot Kinney Blvd (Cross Street: California Avenue)
                      Venice, CA 90291-3741
                      (310) 314-0882

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: westsidegal
                        b
                        bulavinaka Apr 26, 2007 10:04 PM

                        IMHO, no "imho" required... think of Hama - a whole world away - like the underworld...

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          westsidegal Apr 26, 2007 10:08 PM

                          hama doesn't serve edible food.

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            b
                            bulavinaka Apr 26, 2007 10:17 PM

                            Exactly... hence, no "imho" ;-)

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