Wakasan, a quiet and cozy izakaya hidden in the street of Westwood, helps put an end to the popular misconception that Japanese food is only about sushi and tempura. Sure, sushi and tempura are an important part of the Japanese cuisine, but there’s much more to the Japanese culinary tradition than just raw fish and fried whatever. Just come by Wakasan and you’ll discover the wonders of Japanese homestyle cooking yourself.
I would have to say that izakayas rank as one of my all-time favorite places to dine because you get to sample variety of dishes with absolutely no guilt. Each dish is served in a tiny portion so there’s no fear of over indulgence, and those tapas-like dishes are generally cooked steamed or sautéed with little or no oil. This explains why Japanese women are so darn thin. But of course, I too am Japanese but I’m also American bred, so I’m the super-sized version of those Japanese women.
We ordered the “omakase” dinner so we were able to relax and talk without stressing over what to order. With “omakase,” which literally translates to, “I’ll leave it up to you (the chef),” the dishes just keep coming and coming. Because the menu changes daily, it’s a mystery as to what you would get, but everything served here is nothing but perfection. And the friendly and skilled servers deliver those treasures to your table at a perfect timing — never too fast, never too slow.
I don’t want to ramble on about how the food tasted and all the technical stuff because no words will do justice, but I hope these pictures would illustrate how magical this place and the food truly is.
The night’s offerings were (I think there were more dishes but I was too busy eating):
Crab Sunomono and Kongnamul
Grilled Salmon and Assortment of Sashimi
Spinach tossed with ground sesame
Somen with a hint of plum
A special birthday gift for mom, courtesy of Wakasan himself
Chawanmushi, the perfect way to conclude the fabulous dinner
Wakasan: 1929 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025