Turning Japanese

December 23, 2004

L.A. has no shortage of Japanese fare. It's subtle, though: sublime sushi hidden in a strip mall. Cool ceramics deep in Little Tokyo. The not-so-giant Giant Robot store on Sawtelle.

As with a good ramen bowl, you have to dig deep for the good stuff.

Until now. Geisha House, the new Hollywood hot spot, is Japanese - but in a bold, mod-Tokyo kind of way. (We'd expect nothing less from the Dolce boys.) The décor is theatrical and stylish: multiple seating levels, a dramatic tower of fire, a 50-foot sake bar, and waiters in Petro Zillia uniforms.

Tear your eyes away from the dancing geisha and you'll find food and drink that are equally alluring. Chef Genichi Mizoguchi, formerly of New York's Megu, serves a mix of old and new: miso-marinated black cod, maguro carpaccio salad with arugula and parmesan, traditional and not-so-traditional rolls (try the cowboy, with filet of beef, asparagus, cream cheese, red pepper, and scallion).

The really good news? Geisha House is easy to spot. You know, that corner in Hollywood that's dressed in pink neon.

So, unlike L.A.'s other Japanese attractions, no digging required.

Geisha House, 6633 Hollywood Boulevard, at Cherokee Street (323-460-6300).

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