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YAMATO OPENS IN WESTWOOD

By Michael Hepworth

Yamato Japanese restaurant has been getting some good press since opening in December, with the Los Angeles Times describing it as “Japanese pub food at great prices”.  Although the restaurant found that accolade not exactly to their liking, they loved the business that it has been bringing.  The owner recruited Toshi Tamba as head chef from the Wynn Hotel, and although he only made the briefest of appearances on what was essentially a slow weekday night, he clearly prefers being in the kitchen. They also have recruited sushi chef Katsu Hanamure from Matsuhisa Restaurant.

Located in the old Eurochow building on Westwood Blvd , Yamato is indeed an impressive looking restaurant, and the staff clearly enjoys bounding around this impressive 1929 space.  They are also equally enthusiastic about the food being offered. There is an impressive looking sushi-bar as soon as you enter the room on the right, with five trained Japanese chefs, and the overall quality of the food served is high. Freshness and flavor are Yamato’s calling card, and if the consistency level under head chef stays at this level, the restaurant will be around for some time.

Start out with the Appetizer sampler, 4 compartments of seasonal delicacies like Shrimp stick, Spring Rolls, Japanese Mountain Potato and Duck Breast with Foie Gras. The list of courses is impressive, and almost everyone is superbly prepared. One of the standouts had to be the Black Cod, which is also listed on the menu as an appetizer ($7.95), and something definitely to ask for. I have rarely had a fish dish so succulent- this dish is a winner.  I also could not get enough of the Mushroom ravioli soup, which is not on the menu and must be ordered if soups are your thing.  The Sea Bream with kiwi-fruit on top was also a special order, and the fruit gave the fish a true sweet tasting flavor, and was a brand new combination of ingredients for this writer. 

After many decades, Westwood is still trying to find their culinary niche in the restaurant community.  Often thought of as a place to dine before going to a UCLA sporting event or a concert at Royce Hall, Westwood is developing their own personality to compete with “The Grove” and “ 3rd Street ” as the open mall areas on the Westside. Yamato Japanese restaurant is sure to be a destination restaurant rather than a “passing thought” on the way “to something”.  Who wouldn’t want to try variety of good healthy tasty foods bounded by the campus energy and spirit of UCLA.  I took a short walk after my pleasant dining experience around Westwood eventually watching one of the new movies at the Mann Westwood theatre.    The beautiful thing about Japanese food is you feel perfect after the culinary experience an not bloated or too full at all.  This will allow movie-goers to order a small bag of popcorn with a Diet Coke during the movie and not feel guilty.

 

 

Fact Sheet

Address: 1099 Westwood Blvd , Westwood, Los Angeles CA

Valet Parking  $4.50

 

Mon-Sat

Lunch: 11:30 AM- 2:30 PM

Dinner: 5:00 PM- 11:00 PM

 

Phone: 310-208-0100

 

Website: www.yamatokura.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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