Wá is woah – amazing. Whether you get the omakase chef’s menu or order á la carte, you will be mesmerised by the quality of ingredients and the skills of the chef.
Sushi omakase at Wa
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi and innovative Japanese cold and warm dishes.
Visit: February 2013
Price: Medium (for such a tremendous quality it is a good deal, compared to the hyped Matsuhisa south on the same road or the ultra-luxurious Urasawa on Rodeo it is a steal).
Wa sushi counter
Chef: The trio of founding chefs from Japan come from the rare breed of chefs honing their culinary skills at the nearby Matsuhisa. As many from this herd of skilled chefs they left this legendary precursor  to the international chain of trendy Japanese restaurants Nobu (Matsuhisa) and established their own place. Wá has been at La Cienega for some years now and it has under its roof multiple dining awards mainly from the critical local press, but also from the coveted Zagat guide that gave Wá extraordinary 28 points (30 is maximum).
Creative sushi roll at Wá
Food: Traditional with gourmet twist of the chef and superb quality of ingredients. The menu is fun as most of it are dishes you have probably never seen before. If you do not want to risk it order one of the most popular dishes highlighted on the first page. I have started with the Halibut Carpaccio and savoured the Tuna Carpaccio from the omakase of my partner and was not disappointed. The fish was fresh and the condiments (mustard sauce) perfectly matched the type of the fish.
Mozuku kelp
My next course was more adventurous. I have ordered the Mozuku kelp that the server told me is popular in Japan (mainly in Okinawa) but not in the US for its rather “very traditional taste”. Usually majority of diners go for the dark green wakame sea weed, the flat wide noodle-shaped and slightly crunchy seaweed that is tasty only with vinegar and other condiments, yet I was pleasantly surprised by the Mozuku sea weed. Resembling super-thin soba noodles, it was slightly brownish and delicate. The chef made it savoury with sweet soy vinegar and served on a bad of jelly in a flattering glass. The omakase plate of Caviar and white fish uni was also quite adventurous yet delicious.
Uni with caviar and white fish
This time I skipped the Caviar and gold leaf crowned terrine of ankimo (monkfish liver) since I was not as keen on it last time I had it at Matsuhisa in Aspen, Colorado. It seems quite rich and fatty next to the pristine fish and seafood dishes.
Deep fried tofu trio
Vegetarian options such as the sizling Mushroom tobanyaki or tofu will please the local veggie fans. It is all well-presented so not only your soul but also your aesthetical self will both be pleased. From the warm dishes I highly recommend the Agedashi tofu with pepper. The three cubes of lightly fried tofu in broth with shi-shito pepper, seaweed and condiments were soft with the sauce adding lots of freshness and depth to the neutral tofu.
Sizling Mushroom tobanyaki
One of the signature dishes the Lobster Tempura with Spicy Creamy Sauce was delicious as well. It was not as big as the dishes like this (Rock shrimp tempura) tend to be, which is highly practical because the fried lobster together with spicy creamy sauce are quite hard to digest. Therefore enjoy this yummy dish with moderation in a stylish martini glass.
Of course there are staples such as the The crispy rice and spicy tuna, but also the chef’s own take on them like in the Spicy Tuna Special of spicy tuna in shiso leaves, which is lightly fried with tempura sauce.. In the case of the crispy rice he fries it a bit more so the rice gets burning amber hues adding more richness and depth to the already distinctive tasting dish.
There are some desserts on the menu as well. In Japanese restaurants I love the Mochi ice cream so I went for it. Just ask your server for available flavours. I got mango, green tea and vanilla – all subtle and slightly sweet, mango being my favourite. Usually I like the green tea flavour, yet this time the mochi was less about the tea and more about the sweetness presumingly catering to the local American palates.
Mochi ice cream
Atmosphere: Understated, friendly and humming with coming and leaving diners popping in and out constantly. Wá is not about looks, it is a low-key dining spot on the second floor of a small strip mall above a Jiu Jitsu school and just next to 7-Eleven market. There is a parking garage downstairs for the driving guests convenience. The sushi bistro additionally offers one semi-private room with a large Tv.  There you can watch your favourite team or a Tv show with your friends while savouring the tremendous food. In the main dining room you can sit on a bar, which is ideal for the omakase, where the chef serves you one course after another as he pleases. The rest are just simple tables. Wear anything casual, even sneakers and baseball hats. I love the little details (like the one below) you can find around the restaurant.
The Ladies bathroom doll
Opening hours: Open only for dinner Tue-Sun: 6pm-11pm. Closed on Mondays.
Address: 1106 N La Cienega Blvd #201; West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA.
Contact: Tel: +1 (310) 854-7285