Innovative, serious and very well-established, Wakuriya successfully combines a deep respect for the kaiseki tradition with a contemporary touch. This is largely thanks to the lone chef behind the counter, Katsuhiro Yamasaki; his wife is the one so deftly managing and serving the dining room.
It is located in a shopping center, but there is a sober elegance here that is enhanced by the kitchen’s quiet confidence. The room books a month in advance—set your alarm for midnight, phone them exactly 30 days ahead and pray for a call back. Each month brings a new, refined menu that combines the chef’s personal style with superlative Japanese and Californian ingredients. Course after course arrives uniquely presented, perhaps on handcrafted ceramics or even a silver spoon cradling chunks of poached lobster with an intense dashi gelée, soft-boiled Jidori egg and fried kombu. This may not be a sushiya, but the sashimi course is nonetheless excellent as evidenced by wild yellowtail featuring cuts from different parts of the fish.
Find that same level of talent in the steamed Alaskan black cod with fluffy grated turnip. The shirako tofu topped with kabocha squash tempura is beyond delightful.