Wakasan, an izakaya-lover's wet dream. It's almost a hybrid between izakaya and kaiseki cuisine but in a more rustic setting. Rumor has it that the "Sushi Nazi", Nozawa, has been sighted after hours dining here with fellow sushi chefs. It can't go wrong if the chefs are taking care of their hunger pangs here. What's not to love about a place that has a 35$ omakase?! Yes, you heard me. 35$ omakase. You're not going to find a menu at Wakasan. You walk in with no choice but the 35$ set. But if you do find the whimsical desire to upgrade, just call a day in advance and make a reservation for the 55$, 75$ or 95$.
One expects to find the 35$ omakase a watered down version and skimpy portions, right? Not so.
I count 10 courses to be exact, including dessert. The first three sunomono courses are light and refreshing, a perfect opening.
The sashimi is surprisingly good for an izakaya setting. The red snapper and tuna are fresh and do not have too many bristles. Even the less than perfunctory riceball ochazuke adds a surprise element. Who would've thought rice ball and ochazuke?
My favorite dish of the night turns out to be a salad. But not just any salad. It's a salad that I end up licking the dish of its last sesame and egg yolk dressing. Leave it to the Japanese to think of adding a poached, half-cooked egg over a conventional albacore sashimi salad. Only a true-egg lover can appreciate this dish for its unadulterated beauty.
So the nabe is only mediocre. The meat is overcooked and too bland for my liking. Although the cute presentation did help bump it up a couple of notches.
Wakasan is a place still under the radar. It's been known as more of a "foodie" place (God, I hate that word). The unpretentious setting and mom-and-pop fare has attracted many diners who aren't about the "scene", but more for authentic, modest Japanese fare. Many have tried the 55$ and up omakase, but still are avid supporters of the 35$. Makes sense. 35$ for a delicious, no-frills meal? This does not suck.
1929 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025