It makes no sense to me how bad Japanese food is in America. Especially in L.A. and S.F. there are large enough populations of native Japanese peoples that you’d think there would be some good restaurants. Although there are some good sushi places, almost without fail anything that is not sushi in pretty craptacular. There are a few places that are okay but none have been true Japanese food.

That is until now. Wakasanchi is 100% authentic. Everything I was given was not in the least bit out of place from my experiences in Tokyo. The “Omakase” or leave it to the chef thing might be a little off putting for some but I think it’s for the best because unless you’ve lived in Japan you would not know what or how to order.

This is not a place for Teriyaki Beef or Chicken (something I **NEVER** encountered in my 7 years in Tokyo).

If you want the REAL thing. This is it.

Do not go if you are a picky eater. Do not go if you are vegetarian. Do go if you want to experience true, delicious, healthy Japanese food.

Let me note that Japanese cuisine covers many kinds of foods and this is only one kind but so far it is the only kind that’s made it to America un-touched and un-changed.

Wakasanchi is on Westwood Blvd between Santa Monica Blvd and Olympic Blvd.

  • YOYO

    where is this place located at?

  • location

    sorry about that. I added a location reference above

  • tony

    greggman, I just ate there last night. It was excellent, although we did get lost trying to find it in westwood village, for some reason it’s listed as 929 Westwood Blvd instead of 1929 Westwood Blvd in the online yellowpages. Anyway, for those who want to go, the food is excellent, but be prepared to spend $$$. The bill was around $40 per person, but without beer it would have been around $35.

  • jintokyo

    I agree with you about japanese food outside japan.  Why is it so bad?  Although, after I had been in Japan about 18 months I went to lunch with a client in Akasaka and there was chicken teriyaki on the menu.  It was kind of humorous. 

    one thing I disagree with you on is the sushi.  In Japan, i only eat nigiri and work my way through the better fish.  In the states, a lot of places insist on serving roll sushi.  Roll sushi is ok for kids lunch boxes or when you have bad ingredients…but it just doesn’t cut it when you are sitting at a counter.  I don’t live in the states, so maybe I have never been to one of the better places.

    I would be very happy to try to place you recommend next time in SF. 

    I really don’t understand why we can’t just open a normal branch of a chain izakaya in US, UK, Australia etc.  Every foreigner that comes to Japan seems to love them…so why doesn’t it export easily?

  • Why doesn’t “true” Japanese food export easily?

    ‘Cuz the “foreigners” that are in Japan are generally a self-selected bunch.  They left.  The people who stayed behind in America, UK, etc. are the actual target audience.

    I don’t know if you have ever been to the Midwest, but if you give Chicken Teriyaki to someone, that is *exotic* fare!  Even mentioning Taco Bell will raise eyebrows!!!  Trust me, I lived there for a couple years. 

    Don’t even start with sushi.  The fact is 90% of the US would not go to a “true” Japanese restaurant.  Therefore, the “true” Japanese restaurants can only open in areas where there is a critical mass of either Japanese expatriots or more adventurous palates…

    Sad but those are the facts of life.

  • That makes sense but it doesn’t explain why there are almost no good Japanese restaurants in NY, LA and SF, places where there are plenty of people to try new things and large populations of Japanese as well.

    It’s not like good ramen has some strange hard to get used to flavor. My grandmother from Iowa thought the tonkotsu ramen she had in Japan  was some of the best soup she’d ever had.


    There are some pretty good nigiri sushi places in LA and SF. Whether they are as good as the best in Japan I don’t know. I’ve been to a few $100 a person sushi places in Tokyo. The toro was off the charts but the other fish didn’t taste substantually different from cheaper places, at least to my unskilled tongue.

    As for rolls, yea, sushi in LA and SF is roll heavy. Fortunately I love california style rolls as well and I actually missed them in Japan (I know two places that serve them in Tokyo but they didn’t have the variety. Right now, the 2 places I enjoy sushi at in SF are Sushi Zone. I get the rolls there but my friends get nigiri. The other is Ebusi Sushi which I’ve only been to twice but both times I had pretty dang good nigiri sushi.

  • exotic fare, yes!

    Hey, now… I live in Wisconsin and I can’t get enough “exotic fare”. Taco Bell is dog food. Sushi is where it’s at. And also, very spicy Thai food- the hotter the better. I wish I could come to SF and try this place (drooool)….

  • AKita
    Bad Japanese food

    But most Japanese restaurants in the U.S. are not operated by Japanese and comparable to pizza joints as Italian food.

    Sushi in the U.S. is not Japanese sushi, but American sushi. Prior to becoming part of the American milieu, Japanese restaurants served the local Japanese American population who immigrated at a time when actual Japanese was not importable because of the high costs, so utilized ingredients they could get here (and some imported) to create what they think is Japanese food. This is like saying chop suey houses were what Chinese cuisine is all about.

  • anonymous1

    I sure hope someone figures out how to promote decent Japanese food in the US soon, because they’re pulling awful hard in the other direction…


  • Ben
    Maybe it’s the ingredients?

    I think part of the problem is the ingredients the restaurants have at their disposal. I’m guessing the infrastructure for getting fresh, high quality ingredients in the US is much less developed than it is in Japan. Fish, other seafood, and rice may be an exceptions which would explain why Sushi is one of the few foods that come close to the quality level available in Japan: almost all seafood is imported, so most countries are on equal footing. The US produces extremely high quality rice which is readily available to everyone who has access to a good Japanese market like Mitsuwa, Yaohan, Uwajimaya, etc. But the other ingredients are typically lower in quality and more expensive, which really makes it difficult to serve good Japanese food at reasonble prices. This is probably a deal breaker too since most families and college students are on a limited budget and would not pay large sums of money for food they can easily cook at home. Oddly enough if you go to Vancouver, BC you will find much better food since meat and other fresh ingredients are available at lower prices making it possible for places like Zakushi, Guu, Kingyo to exist.


  • SwedeSea
    Good Japanese Food outside of Japan

    I agree with you on the whole it is difficult to find good authentic Japanes food here in the US but it can happen.  Yes, the teriyaki here is awfull.  Anyway I don’t know LA but I know Seattle and there is a couple of places here.  The best one I think is Nishino.  There you can have an Omakase dinner or a la carte if you wish.  Sushi as well.  It is in Madison Valley in Seattle so if you are ever there I highly suggest it.

    When I am in LA next for business I will definitely check out your suggestion.

  • SwedeSea
    One thing about Seattel i forgot

    I forgot to mention that Nishino is where all the Japanese expats go including Ichiro and the people fromthe Mariners and Nintendo.  When you go there you feel like you are in Japan.  The food is indeed wonderfull.

  • kyteroo
    Allergies and Chef’s choice…

    I can’t eat at any restaurant, no matter how authentic, if they insist on serving you only what the chef makes. I feel very strongly that all restaurants need to be able to make food without whatever ingredieent it is that the person with the food sensitivity can’t have. I do make exceptions for soup. One can’t make a good soup on the fly and make it work. I wouldn’t expect them too. I can’t have horseradish, onion, meat, chicken, chives, dill, alcohol or celery. I find that everything has onion in it. I wouldn’t die, but I would act as if my appendix was going. 😀

    I think its funny how many finer restaurants can’t cook to order, a dish without onion. I can make any sauce in 30 minutes or less, it funny that they can’t.

  • LeoHayakawa
    Come on, don’t tell them!

    I am Japanese who is sick and tired of those phony Japanese restaurants who serve phony Japanese food.

    I wanted to keep Wakasan my secret, but hey, it is most likely they won’t get it even after they taste the real deal.

    I’m just glad at least one man in the State of California understands what genuine Japanese food is like.


  • annakath6

    Wakasanchi is the best.  It would really satisfy your japanese cravings