Restaurants like Aki in West LA are a dying breed. Imagine when Japanese food was something exotic. Teriyaki and sukiyaki are words seldom used these days, but it lives on in classic establishments like this. There’s not many who still have the mid century Japanification by usage of rice paper screens, carved wood signs and wooden tea house stylings. I grew up in my family’s restaurant (Hakata 1970-2002) which began similar complete with the vinyl booth seats and it turns out that the owner of Aki, Mr Hada actually went to the grand opening in 1970. He opened Aki in 1974 which makes the place 38 years old.
Two simple ala carte items. Beef Teriyaki and Chirashi. They can’t be any way similar except there’s rice included. There’s almost nothing to review, both are made with history. They’re both the epitome of what it’s supposed to be, as if they were made to illustrate the entry in Wikipedia. Beef cooked just right, the sauce Americanized, sweeter and thick. Rice is firm. Chirashi. Done fine. It’s all in there. Aside from the actual dish, the miso soup and side sunomono are all what you’d expect and that’s how they’re still around. Prices are in the $15+ range for an entree at dinner. It’s more than the food, it’s the type of place, the history, and the impending doom of places like this. Will anyone open a new one similar? The kids these days will open new establishments. It’s hard to call them restaurants with tasty food, but will they be around for 10 years much less 38? No way.
Read more about Aki Restaurant in BestofLA blog. It’s what’s reminded me of this place and the few others like it that still stand. The weird thing is that the owner of Aki are my neighbors.
11513 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310) 479-8406