Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue, Level 2
Dining date: 3/6/16
Waku Ghin, in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, is regarded as one of the top restaurants in the city. Tetsuya Wakuda is the chef, a Japanese-born chef who established himself working in kitchens in Australia. His restaurant in Sydney, Tetsuya’s, is one of the most highly-acclaimed in Australia for its Japanese cuisine with French accents. He opened this sister restaurant in 2010. It was ranked #70 in the 2015 world’s best restaurants list and one of the top in Asia. When Singapore’s first Michelin guide comes out later this year, Waku Ghin is expected to garner a star, perhaps multiple.
Waku Ghin features multiple ‘private dining rooms,’ each seating 4-6 people. The seating surrounds a griddle very much like a teppanyaki restaurant, offering a front-row view into the food being prepared. The menu here is tasting menu-only, 10-12 courses. My dad dined here in November and enjoyed it so much that a return was in order.
424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 11/23/14 and 1/30/16
Kinjiro opened at the end of 2014, replacing the meat-centric b.o.s. concept. I was sad to see b.o.s. go, though Kinjiro has been a strong follow-up effort with a little more comforting and familiar fare. Situated right next door to the ever-popular Sushi Gen, the restaurant has garnered a following of its own for its take on a Japanese izakaya. There is no sushi here, though the menu is pretty varied from raw dishes to steamed, fried, grilled, noodles and more. A large selection of sake is on hand to consume with the food, as well as a small but well-curated beer and wine list.
I’ve dined at Kinjiro a number of times since opening, but this post captures just a couple of those meals.
521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining date: 1/9/16
This was my third time dining at Q. I visited twice when the restaurant opened in 2014 but didn’t get a chance in 2015. Both of my first two meals were great and I was looking forward to seeing if this third meal would still live up to expectations. Pricing for a meal here is still the same at around $165 for the omakase-only meal.
I had a bottle of champagne from a prior birthday, waiting for the right moment to open it. Pairing the champagne with a sushi omakase seemed like an ideal time to drink it.
665 Townsend St
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining date: 12/27/15
San Francisco has seen a lot of growth in its sushi scene in recent years, particularly in the high end segment. Michelin-starred sushi restaurants Maruya, Kusakabe, and Wako opened in 2013-2014; Omakase opened in 2015 joining that group with a Michelin star of its own. I’ve yet to go to one of those other restaurants, but was able to squeeze in Omakase as my last dinner in San Francisco over the Christmas holiday.
Two fixed menus are available each evening, one at the $150 level and one at $200. From what I could tell, the higher level offered a couple more pieces of sushi and a beef course towards the end of the meal (at least on this evening). We went for the $200 level.
2006 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Dining date: 9/20/15
Sushi Tsujita opened about a year ago and was the third LA restaurant from the Tsujita group. The first two restaurants are popular noodle bars; I’ve been a huge fan of the tsukemen they serve (even trying it in Tokyo a few years back). However, this restaurant is something a little different – a refined sushi bar. Reviews of the restaurant have been strong thus far, so a visit was in order.
The dinner menu is omakase-only at three levels: $120, $150, and $180. We went right in the middle. While sushi made up the bulk of the menu, there were a scattering of small, plated dishes throughout.
521 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Dining date: 10/3/15
Raku is one of the year’s most exciting restaurant openings for me; I never expected to see this place in Los Angeles. I’ve enjoyed the restaurant a handful of times since it opened in Las Vegas’ Chinatown 2008. In its early stages, it was a fairly unassuming ‘locals spot’ in a Chinatown strip mall. The restaurant steadily gathered a very devoted following and national acclaim, following up with a Raku Sweets concept in 2013 and this second location of Raku that opened just last month.
The menu at this West Hollywood location is virtually identical to the original, with a long list of menu items and a chalkboard of daily specials. We ordered up a couple of daily specials (bluefin tuna sashimi, iberico pork skewers), a few old favorites and some new dishes.