Sunday, February 15, 2009

Get Lucky in Beverly Hills

Ever had one of those days where it seems like you can’t catch a break? Like, you get caught in a sudden downpour as you’re leaving the hairdresser (good bye smooth-n-silky blow dry, hello frizzy mess). Or, some jerk cuts you off and snags the only available parking spot in sight? Life’s little frustrations can take a lot out of a person. It may b
e time to refuel at the most stylish sushi spot to hit town in recent memory.

I have to admit that when I imagined a Kaiten restaurant (self-serve sushi on a conveyor belt) smack dab in the middle of our ritziest sip code, I was a bit wary. I’d had mediocre experiences with the ‘sushi go ‘round’ in a London airport between planes, and in a shopping mall restaurant in Washington DC. Somehow it felt like ‘fast food sushi,’ and I wondered how fresh the fish was given that it could have been rotating there for who-knows-how-long. Luckyfish changed my mind forever.

Now, let me start by telling you that Luckyfish is part of the Innovative Dining Group (Katana, Sushi Roku, Boa) so I was immediately reassured as to the quality of the sushi. A restaurant group with that kind of buying power gets the pick of the litter when it comes to fresh fish purveyors. And, upon taking one step into snazzy Luckyfish, you can feel your luck take an upturn.

The pristine white rotating sushi belt is loaded with delicacies (such as spicy tuna atop crispy rice) against a backdrop of cherry blossoms in a breezy open space typifying Southern California. More than 80 color coded ($3.50 - $7.50) specialty dishes waft past the tables, and guests can simply pick out the ones they like. No waiting for a server, no need to ask questions – just see, grab and eat. Additionally, each plate has a RFID tag embedded into it, so that once it has rotated for 60 minutes, it is automatically discharged from the belt, ensuring freshness.

There are cocktails, too, of course. I had the soju Strawberry Fizz martini. The ginger lychee is also worth a try, and Luckyfish also serves those fruit infusions we got to know and love at Katana. Sake is served by the glass or bottle, and there is a decent variety of Japanese beer and standard red, wine and sparkling wine.

Dining at Luckyfsh is like hanging out with Katana or Sushi Roku’s “mini me” with a more accessible appeal – its simple, fun, light and unpretentious. A playful flirt with no strings attached. A great place to stop in with the girls after work, grab a bite at lunch or a cool place for a hot date. On your way over, pick up a lottery ticket. You’re about to get lucky!

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