It’s Monday night. We’re both craving sushi. Luckily, we both live in L.A.’s sushi mecca aka the San Fernando Valley… home to great one-off sushi restaurants, like Asanebo and Sushi Iki, and trendy chains like Sugarfish and Katsu-ya.
When we heard there was a new kid on the fresh fish block, we had to go. Would Kaiju, opened in the former ice cream and candy shop owned by celeb Melissa Joan Hart, be our new go-to sushi fix?
With its sleek black exterior and torri entrance (Japanese gate), the stage was set to impress. The interiors did not disappoint either: a modern but not too-cool-for-school ambiance of wooden tables, black curtains and—except for the sushi bar—low lighting exuding from glowing, red lanterns overhead.
When we found out who was behind the sushi bar—chefs Mark Hayashi and Go Nakabayashi (in photo above), formerly of Koi in WeHo— we let go of masterminding our meal and embraced omakase-style dining. Simple, yet creative dishes ensued where the freshness of the fish, rather than fanfare, ruled the roost.
Here were some of our favorites:
The carpaccio section of the menu is stellar. Order anything and you’ll be a happy camper.
Seabream with Plum Sauce
There’s not a specific sushi roll menu. Just tell chef Go what kind of flavors you like and he’ll whip up some kind of wonderful, as shown in the photo above.
During our regular sushi outings, we always order spicy tuna, crab or shrimp atop warm crispy rice (a Valley speciality that kind of tastes like a tater tot. So GOOD!). Usually, they are huge bites and really awkward to eat (i.e. don’t order this on a first date). Kaiju has fixed this dining dilemna. Their crispy rice squares are actual bite-sized and tasty to boot.
Even if you’re not in the mood to do raw, Kaiju’s cooked items are surprisingly just as outstanding.
Must eats: truffle edamame, baked cod and… wait for it… lamb chops with truffle mashed potatoes. No joke. Truly divine. And neither of us really like lamb and we now order it every time we go in.
After checking it out on three different occasions, it’s now the VV’s go-to sushi spot when the craving hits. Why? Because it’s low-key cool but so ridiculously delicious with powerhouse chefs running the sushi show.
Kaiju (which translates to ‘strange beast’ in Japanese and also refers to a Japanese genre of sea monster films, think Godzilla)
13704 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, 91403