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Tucked away in West Los Angeles is a new restaurant, KUSAKI — a plant-based omakase bar and sushi restaurant. Kusaki (which means ‘plant’ in Japanese) features artistically prepared Japanese food that is sophisticated, inventive and 100% plant-based.
The inspiration behind Kusaki was to create a dining experience where one could enjoy high-end sushi or omakase that tasted like “real” sushi, without using animal products. “Our objective is not to be known as a vegan sushi restaurant, but as a restaurant that serves some of the most amazing sushi in the world that just happens to be vegan,” says Kusaki restaurateur Jade Estrella in a statement. “Some people might mistake our offerings for fish or meat, but everything we serve is 100% plant-based, as well as being organic and non-GMO.”
The restaurant features a number of chefs who have experience working at Michelin star restaurants and have used their creative abilities and direction to develop sushi and small Japanese-inspired dishes that take plant-based to the next level.
It took more than a year for Kusaki to come together – finding chefs skilled and talented enough to make sushi that does not taste like vegetables, and a designer who could construct an ambiance that matches what the palate experiences. Every plate achieves that elusive, cuisine-defining balance that will leave the diner asking, “is this really plant-based?”
Select menu offerings include Seared Tuna Nigiri, Sailfish Sashimi Crudo and Chilled Edamame Soup, and off-style creations such as Butternut Squash and Eggless Tamago Sushi.
In order to elevate the experience, Kusaki chefs worked to cultivate non-sushi items like a Shishito Burger with a shishito spread, Portobello Fries and Citrus Avocado Salad for a full and balanced dining experience. All small plates are designed to be shared.
The eight-seat omakase bar features an ever-changing five- or seven-course menu ($75/ $105) with intense flavor combinations created for sophisticated palates.
All sushi is dressed with house-made sauces such as soy and ponzu. Like traditional Japanese sushi, Kasuki serves nigiri style (rice topped with fish or vegetables). “The sushi is really beautiful, and whether people are vegan, vegetarian or eat meat and fish, it’s all about amazing food, delightful decor, artistic plating, and an intimate dining experience,” adds Estrella.
CHILLED EDAMAME SOUP – puffed rice, seaweed caviar, ginger, truffle oil
CHARD OF ASPARAGUS – yuzu, crispy garlic
SHISHITO BURGER – brioche, maitake mushroom, shishito, cheese, shiso leaf
PORTOBELLO FRIES – tempura, yuzu aioli, togarashi
POSSIBLE BLOSSOM – puff pastry, impossible meat, chive cream cheese, sprouts
SALMON – pickled wasabi, lemon, ponzu, truffle oil
SAILFISH – yuzu kosho, ponzu lemon, sea salt
SEARED TUNA – crispy onions, ponzu, wasabi
CALAMARI – ponzu, jalapeno, seaweed caviar, lemon, wasabi
CRISPY GARLIC TUNA – crispy garlic, avocado, microgreens, seaweed confetti
SALMON SHISO – shiso vin, crispy onions, wasabi, sesame seeds
SAILFISH CRUDO – yuzu kosho, radish sprouts, ponzu, sea salt
TRUMPET MUSHROOM – wasabi, ponzu, sea salt
BUTTERNUT SQUASH – soy, wasabi, sea salt, lemon
EGGLESS TAMAGO – brown sugar, dashi, sweet glaze
SWEET CORN HAND ROLL – chili garlic, ponzu, yuzu kosho aioli, green onion
KING MUSHROOM – trumpet mushroom, chard asparagus, ponzu, seaweed confetti, sweet glaze
THE PHILLY – salmon, chive cream cheese, chard asparagus, ponzu
KUSAKI is located at 2535 South Barrington Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90064 and is open Sunday-Thursday: 5-10pm and Friday and Saturday: 5-11pm.