When it comes to eating great sushi, not all Japanese restaurants are created equal. KULA Sushi Bistro proves that, with a sophisticated atmosphere (right down to the three-piece trio playing soft music in the background) and a focus on “the natural culinary traditions of Japan.”
That means that KULA eschews foods with preservatives and additives, focusing on using seasonal local produce and fish, as well as fresh specialty items imported from Japan. In fact, KULA is a well-known name in Japan, with over 200 restaurants across that country; this Century City location is the company’s first in the U. S.
The restaurant sports a long rectangular black marble bar, where specialty cocktails, sakes, and other wines are offered in a convivial atmosphere. Have a few appetizers there (Edamame, or maybe their Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, a crunchy and jalapeño-spiced bite that will jolt your taste buds), then move into the traditional Japanese style dining room, with its white tables, dark chairs, and soft lighting.
KULA’s menu is broken into categories, designed for sharing, from Small Bites (the Saikyo Miso Grilled Black Cod is sweetly delicious, and the Shrimp Tempura is perfectly fried) to Sushi Rolls, Hand Rolls, Sushi Nigiri, Sashimi, Tempura, and Land and Sea (which feature larger, main course dishes). The sushi served here is fresh and plump – especially delicious are the toro, the hamachi, and the albacore – as is the sashimi. This is a restaurant that really understands the traditional Japanese meal, and serves it up elegantly and well.
The biggest surprise at KULA is the Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce and a Potato Gratin. The beef was perfectly cooked and smothered with shitake mushrooms, a real winner. As is often the case when it comes to American palates, however, the desserts were less than exemplary, so unless Soy Milk Pudding is your idea of heaven, save the calories – or have another piece of their warm sweet eel sushi, a kind of dessert in itself.
KULA Sushi Bistro
10351 Santa Monica Boulevard
Century City, CA 90025