It’s called Kula Sushi Bistro. A Sushi “Bistro” in Century
City? This was going to be an adventure. From reading all
the reviews and descriptions, I was expecting a fairly authentic
Japanese dining experience but with some “dumbing down” for
the American palette, all in a funky, modern setting.
I was right.
Great space, contemporary decor. Very open, nice
accoustics. They could have easily packed a lot more tables in,
but instead there is a generous amount of open space and it is very
comfortable. Great date setting, as there are many
tables/booths that are fairly private. Funny thing…there is no
actual sushi bar, only tables.
Happy hour was in the
lounge off to the side of the restaurant. They offered Free Toro for
Happy Hour! Ok, just one piece, but a nice touch. They also comped us for some black edamame, fried lotus slices and a crispy rice with a crab and avocado topping. We supplemented that with their homemade chawan mushi, and their crispy rice with spicy tuna. We also tried an order of their homemade cold tofu. A few premium sakes (as well as some wine, beer, and well drinks) are half price. We took advantage of this as well. Sake was served in a traditional style, the overflowing glass in the wooden box. Chawan Mushi was a well-constructed egg custard with a few non-traditional ingredients, including a few pieces of unagi (eel) and some black edamame. The tofu was also of high quality. It was exceptionally creamy and lush, and was garnished with shaved bonito. The texture was like a custard. Again, very traditional. As for the crispy rice with the toppings, this is not traditional of course, but it is cut in small pieces and makes a great finger food and accompaniment to alcohol. I found the crispy rice slightly overcooked and chewy, but scot really liked it.
After happy hour ended we went over to the restaurant for dinner. We kinda ate a lot at happy hour, but figured we would at least try some sushi. And we had to get one more order of the tofu and chawan mushi. They comped us each another piece of toro. (woohoo) I had brought a bottle of burgundy to open, but their Sake selections were so interesting and nicely priced, we kept with that.
All in all, we found the portions of fish on the large side and very well-priced. The owner came by to chat later on. We were asking about some of the flavors and methods used, and she explained that the chefs prepare the food in an Osaka style, versus a Tokyo style. A specific difference is that the sushi rice has a slightly sweeter profile than what we were expecting. Not sweet like that awful mix they use in fast-food or supermarket sushi rice, but not like the stuff you get in premium sushi bars either. Most of the sushi bars and Izakayas we typically go to are apparently much more Tokyo-styled.
Also, Kula Sushi Bistro is very focused on organic, high quality ingredients. It shows. I would definitely like to go back and try their hot entrees.
Kula Sushi Bistro
Sushi, small plates, organic “when possible”
10351 Santa Monica Blvd, Century City, 310.282.8870 Valet: $5