Takami Sushi & Robata Bar Restaurant
Downtown L.A.’s New Sizzling Spot
Move over Koi and Katsuya, because there is a new sushi and robata restaurant in town! Since its debut in August 2007, it has been catching the appetites of foodies everywhere. Within a high rise, and brilliantly situated on the same floor right next door to club Elevate, diners can simply walk over to Elevate for dancing and lounging after dining at Takami. The atmosphere is airy and open with wide glass panes separating the inner dining area from the outdoor patio, which overlooks L.A.'s cityscape of tall buildings and bright lights. Takami, 21 floors above Financial District, is chic, with a Manhattan feel that almost makes you feel as if you were in New York. Upbeat hip-hop music with dim lighting and art deco reflections of colorful hanging lamps off the glass panes liven the scene. Wide canvas booths with dark glossy mahogany wood tables, and warm colors of orange, yellow, and red, is offset by the openness of the towering glass panes and engulfing city view. Even on a weeknight, Takami is packed with tourists, locals, and businessmen from Downtown Los Angeles, all noshing on the restaurant's delectable eats. Takami is not your average sushi bar – with its robata and grill, and adjoining club, it is so much more!
Takami offers an alluring list of fresh and creative cocktails. The Lotus Blossom martini, garnished with a red rose petal, is made with Grey Goose, lychee sake, fresh lime and lychee juices, and tastes floral and light. For something with a kick, try their Ryu Momotaro, made with peach vodka, lime juice, and Serrano chili. One look at Takami’s menu will make you want to try everything. A variation on the standard starters are the Takami Edamame, edamame pods perked up with a delicious soy sauce, butter glaze with immense garlic flavor and the Clam Miso Soup, a delicious white miso broth and Asari clams served steaming hot, which is extremely savory with plenty of clam flavor.
Their specialty dishes are definitely worth sharing and ordering just for the experience. Some of their more unique dishes, like the Sweet Scallop Present was presented beautifully, with sweet tempura bay scallops inside an artfully tied egg wrap. Takami's twist on the taco is their Japanese Taco, a meaty taco made with fried gyoza skin, packed with crab, shrimp, and spicy tuna, and drizzled with a hot, tangy dynamite sauce. This creative dish is light because the blend of spicy tuna against the crab and shrimp is just enough to get your appetite going. The Pop Art Crab has tempura style Dungeness crab and avocado, wrapped in fried soy paper, and served with different sauces artfully dotted along the plate. The tender crab inside its crispy batter goes delightfully well with the creamy avocado.
Takami's version of the ever so popular Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice is much more fun to eat than the usual nigiri rice pieces at other restaurants because here they are little bite size poppers of crispy rice with spicy tuna, avocado, and jalapenos on top. These miniature delights have a crunchier texture while the avocado smoothes it out. Takami also offers a traditional sushi menu, including excellent buttery and soft toro with amazing flavor, and sweet shrimp, that is large, plump and sweetly sublime. Specialty house rolls include the Takami roll, with a light apple ponzu sauce over spicy tuna, snow crab, and asparagus, wrapped with slabs of albacore, and toped with crispy slivers of fried onions. This roll has the best of the best, and is sure to be devoured in seconds. For Lobster lovers, try the Lobster Wrap, with lobster, cucumber, and avocado wrapped in rice paper, and served with warm Kimisu sauce.
In addition to sushi and their specialty dishes, the robata menu is also a must try! Diners can select from a variety of vegetables, beef, chicken, and seafood, to be grilled. The New York Steak with Asparagus had meaty kabobs of beef with tender grilled asparagus. If you want a richer combination, the Filet Mignon and Fois Gras is a good choice. The Baby Lamb Chops is one of the best items to try, as it is tender, and succulent with just a slight smoky aftertaste. The King Crab legs, hold its grilled flavor, while remaining moist. Another favorite was the Negima, tender chicken breast pieces flavored with slivers of green onions. Other notable robata selections are the Chilean Sea Bass, Tsukune (chicken meatballs), Duck Breast, and Scallops. With every robata order, the kitchen presents a gourmet selection of dipping sauces for your meats and vegetables. Be sure to try the avocado wasabi sauce, just slightly spicy, and the truffle sauce, aromatic and rich.
For dessert, the Mochi ice cream is just slightly sweet, and hits the spot with its variety of green tea, mango and strawberry. The Apple Spring Roll Raft, covered with cinnamon, warm caramel sauce, and green apple gelato, is also a satisfying home-style favorite.
Open for lunch Monday – Friday. Dinner nightly. Reservations highly recommended. 811 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 2100, Los Angeles (213) 236-9600. www.takamisushi.com