It was a very sad day when I drove past Kuishimbo on Wilshire and Wilton sometime last year and saw the sign removed and the storefront shuttered. Why on earth would this little treasure ever close? I tried what's now in its place, and it's just not the same.
After a super fun morning playing around with the home espresso machines at Pasquini on Olympic near Union Street and learning from Mr. Pasquini himself (I highly recommend dropping in sometime, regardless of your intentions of making a purchase), what better way to continue what was already a great Saturday than to give the relocated Kuishimbo a test drive.
It's back and dare I say, better than ever, even if the nostalgia whore in me misses (just a little) the crumbing suspended acoustic ceiling tiles, the grime, peeling linoleum eating surfaces and brown floor tiles of the original spot. This space might still have a T-bar ceiling, but the panels are new and bright, immaculate vent hoods extend along the length of the kitchen, the counter is of-the-moment granite, and slick slate comprises the floor.
We sit at the counter, which is by far the best place to be when eating in at Kuishimbo. I'm a little annoyed by the tall glass barrier that promotes good restaurant hygiene but impairs watching the cooks at eye level and getting your food directly handed to you.
Might Kuishimbo have upgraded a little too much? Yeah, but at least it lives and prospers! It is one of my favorite restaurants EVER. This fact has not changed since oh, circa 1980. The sweet miso dressing on the shredded cabbage salad tastes exactly like it always has, they still grill the shit out of the teriyaki on what I think might be the same Wolf ranges from the old joint, and the rice tastes so good in the miso soup – my personal culinary faux pas routine I must do only at Kuishimbo (and hopefully not offend anyone).
I'm too full and giddy to try Ice Kiss, the so-cool-it's-hot spot next store featuring complicated sweet concoctions that continue to fascinate. With these three places in a row, it's a holy trinity of good stuff on the block between Kenmore and Catalina. The false alarm mourning for Kuishimbo can finally end.
Kuishimbo Japanese Char-Broil
3407 W. 6th St.
Los Angeles 90020
Locations also in Sherman Oaks and Stone Harbor, NJ. News to me!