Michael Hepworth



Venice (Perfect Meal Today) 5/11/18/–Chaya in Venice was recently re-modeled and this modern looking restaurant continues to have a solid following with the beach crowd serving quality Asian fusion style food. The new name is a reflection of Four Centuries of Reinvention in Japan & Four Decades of revolutionary cuisine in the USA.

The name means a Japanese style Western Gastro Pub and to that means CHAYA has completely revamped its drinks program with handcrafted cocktails, premium spirits, Japanese Whiskey selections, Sake of course along with Japanese and local craft beers. The Restaurant recently threw a lively media bash for the change of style and if the reaction of the hungry and thirsty media was anything to go by, CHAYA has made a smart move to freshen up their approach.

How about the Chef’s behind this new deal at Chaya? Corporate Executive Chef is Yukou Kajino and he oversees the kitchen and is in charge of menu development. Executive chef is Joji Inoue and his nickname is the “Seafood Samurai.” And his particular talents can be seen at the Kaiseki Chef Counter. Making up the team is chef Katsuyuki Wako who brings meticulously prepared multi course meals to the table that are as visually stunning as the tastes and flavors of the food.

Here are a few suggestions when you either revisit Chaya or go there for the first time. Start out raw with the Seared Albacore “Aburi” with ponzu, Serrano chilli and garlic chips. After that you might want to go for the Chrysanthemum Salad which is prepared with Enoki mushrooms and a bacon vinaigrette or you can go for the Crispy Sunchoke with tomatillo miso, crème fraiche and ikura.

There is also an extensive rice, noodles and soup selections including the Wagyu Chazuke with rice, dashi tea and shitake. There is a section in the Kitchen just devoted to rolls such as the exotic sounding Remoulade & Spicy Pollock Roe Hand Roll as well as the Spicy Scallop Lettuce Hand Roll. All this food and more comes with the ancient art of omotenashi, an ancient Japanese custom of hospitality that encompasses high quality of service.

The cocktail program has been created by Feisser Stone and to quote him, he is “hyper-focused on introducing familiar concepts with an innovative twist.” Such examples would be the “Highball Cocktail” with Japanese Suntory Whiskey Toki and Soda” or the “Son of a Beasting” ginger flavored gin drink with honey, lemon and lavender bitters.

In fact if you are into Japanese Whiskey then this is the place to come As they are offered in 1 oz tasting pours for new guests or those not as familiar with the subtleties of the genre. Sake is also big here with a lot of choice either by the bottle or by the glass.

Chaya-110 Navy St, Venice, CA 90291