ROKU restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood dashes the belief that you can only get authentic sushi at an underground, insiders’ sushi bar. While there may be a certain romanticism about dining at an dive sushi bar, there is much more to be said about enjoying the ambiance of a fine restaurant while also indulging in the highest quality sushi, and that is what ROKU offers.
I am not a regular eater of raw seafood, but I have tagged along on plenty of sushi excursions with dining partners who are connoisseurs of this category of food art. I have been to the hole-in-the-wall sushi bars where there was no sign on the door, where you have to duck under a noren to get in. While one may find interest in the cultural experience, I much prefer the comforts and upscale environment of a modern sushi restaurant, especially one that offers an extensive menu of cooked food, like ROKU.
As with their décor and atmosphere, ROKU challenges traditional sushi menus with inventive, modern preparations, as well as traditional style sushi for their old-school sushi enthusiasts. At the sushi bar, Chef Jiro Kobayashi prepares his recommended chef’s choice Omakase along with a variety of fresh fish daily, including Roku signature style sushi of warm rice with an innovate touch for their Ume six-piece selection or their Matsu eight-piece selection. Specialty rolls include hand rolled baked crab, Shima shrimp wrapped spicy tuna, with cilantro and avocado, and Ebi Tuna shrimp tempura topped with tuna, jalapeno vinaigrette and eel sauce.
For those who enjoy the communal and interactive dining experience of Teppanyaki, at the grill table Teppan chefs prepare A-5 Japanese Wagyu, Matsuzaka beef, Santa Barbara spot prawns and other high-quality ingredients at interactive grill tables. This dining style is offered for dinner, generally for groups of two to eight.
On days when the weather is pleasant, which is most days in West Hollywood, the patio is open for dining; or for a serene and elegant dining experience among a garden of bonsai trees and the glow of votives, the dining room offers an environment conducive to a relaxing business lunch for dinner, or of course a date night.
ROKU has a delicious twist on the Bento Box, traditionally a take-home or carry-out meal, but at ROKU these eat-in delights include an executive Bento Box of shrimp and vegetable tempura, tuna and yellowtail sashimi, baked miso cod, chicken yakitori, green salad, and rice.
Other entrees include kobacha and butternut squash and grilled octopus with kimchee vinaigrette , and pickled vegetables and toro tartare are prepared tableside with pomp and circumstance. The bar at ROKU also serves up progressive fare, with many Japanese whiskeys, sakes and creative cocktails, like the Matcha Mule with green tea infused vodka, ginger root, fresh lemon and honey.
ROKU answers as the sushi restaurant that has outstanding and authentic Japanese food, personal service and an inviting atmosphere. If you are seeking the casual and dressed-down sushi experience, you will need to go elsewhere. In fact, beachwear, athletic wear and flip flops are not allowed, so wear your business causal and bring your appetite for a satisfying, new LA-style sushi scene.
ROKU is located at 9201 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Call for reservations at (310)278-2060