It has been years since The Monster has been to Wa Sushi. His first house in Los Angeles was up Laurel Canyon near the Country Store (it was Boris Karloff’s first house in LA as well for movie buffs) and he used to frequent places like Wa and loved the lobster that tasted like cotton candy. Once The Monster moved to Santa Monica places like Wa came off the regular rotation. Would Wa hold up?
With a small sushi bar (8 or so spots) and 6 tables plus one small private room with a TV playing weird commercials Wa is a small space with high energy. Jazz is playing and the crowd is hopping. That it is on the second floor of a nondescript mini-mall is pure LA.
With the black floors and red tables it looks like The Monster’s parents kitchen circa 1988. That’s not nearly a compliment. But sushi restaurants don’t have to be good looking (cough, Nozawa…).
Black cod and eggplant, lobster with spicy creamy tempura, shishito peppers, avocado and eel roll is the order on this evening.
The shishito peppers come out the temperature of the sun. The poor bonito flakes are screaming bloody murder it’s so hot. But they are nicely caramelized and delicious once they cool down.
The avocado and eel proves just ok. Perhaps it is a misorder, there just isn’t a lot to get excited about. About this time The Monster gets distracted by the table that has just been seated next to him. It’s later on a Saturday night and from the looks of the table these patrons are on their way out while The Monster is on his way home. The conversation that ensues can only be had from people who have lived in Los Angeles less than a year, so breathless and full of optimism and full of crap. The Monster wants to punch them and hug them.
As the black cod and eggplant is served the ringleader of the table beside The Monster declares that he is going to get really drunk tonight. The Monster can’t help but notice his fingernails are manicured. What happened to our wonderfully drunken youth? The cod and eggplant proves good, sweet, the temperature scorching hot yet again. One thing that begins to distress The Monster is the same sweet flavors of many of the dishes at Wa. Also, the ringleader just asked for the sweetest sake they serve.
And on to what used to be the showstopper for The Monster. The lobster tempura. As he vividly recalls it is sweet, wonderful candy with a hint of peanut in the sauce. This is the dish that brings a smile to The Monster’s face.
Except, as he looks around The Monster realizes that everything he ate started to taste the same. It’s sushi for the candy set. And while there is still a place for that perhaps The Monster now prefers his sushi and prepared dishes a little less adorned, a little more pure.
Why go? You have a great manicurist.
Monster rating: 3½/5 Monsters
1106 North La Cienega Boulevard, Suite 201
West Hollywood, CA 90069