Sushi and Chinese Cuisine at Wokcano: Savor the Eclectic Tastes Well Into the Night

The sushi bar.

A hot late-night spot, delectable sushi and a menu as eclectic as the music… what setting could possibly boast all these attributes in one?  The two-year-old Wokcano, which offers a tasty array of sushi and Chinese cuisine.  Featuring innovative culinary combinations along with the simple classics done right, Wokcano truly provides the whole package for the seasoned diner, or an sets an elevated standard for a newcomer to Asian cuisine.

  Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed the low-light ambiance, making the setting ideal for a romantic dinner or any first date with the flattering, warm glow cast by discreet track lighting as well a single tea light on every table.  In addition to the candles, single yellow flowers encased in a clear vase graced every table.  Smooth house music furthered a relaxed sonic atmosphere for the evening.  The restaurateurs keep the good times rolling with more upbeat electronica as the night grows later, of course reverting to soft classical music during lunch to provide customers with a peaceful break from the office. 

 

The Hut - a cozy place to sit.

The restaurant opens in the morning at 10:45am, for any who may need an early sushi fix. Wokcano's busiest hours are generally between 9 and 11pm, as many sushi lovers are drawn to the site with quality sushi, where they will not have to worry about being hustled out once the clock strikes eleven, or twelve, or even one.  Wokcano is open until 2am seven days a week, and will soon resume its normal weekend hours, remaining open Thursdays through Saturdays until 4am!  Indeed, if you venture out that late, you might encounter celebrity clientele such as Dennis Rodman, enjoying the many specialty cocktails offered by Wokcano.  Something else that sets Wokcano apart, not to be overlooked, is the presence of mojitos on their cocktail menu!  This minty delight can be difficult to find even in LA if you don't know the right places. 

The rectangular space is a good size, large enough to focus solely on your own intimate table and filter out the rest (especially if you've landed a corner table under the straw-roofed hut), yet small enough to feel a jovial sense of community with your neighboring tables after a few pots of sake.  Paintings in a variety of styles line sponge-painted walls to zone out on while you anticipate your food, depicting faces on one wall and eyes on the opposite wall.  You won't have long to wait though with the friendly and considerate service.

Volcano Roll

As an avid sushi lover, I had to try the Red Dragon Roll and the Volcano Roll, Wokcano's two most popular sushi rolls.  The Red Dragon Roll is a spicy tuna roll topped with slices of fresh tuna and tempura crunch.  The distinctive Volcano Roll is a crispy shrimp tempura roll topped with eel and spicy sauce, sweet, crunchy, succulent, and juicy all at once - an exquisite blend of flavors. 

 

Philadelphia Roll

Next I enjoyed the unique Philadelphia Roll, my companion's new favorite, which consists of smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado inside, creating an unusual, mouthwatering creamy texture inside your mouth.  Next was the Crazy Roll, a fresh medley of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and crabmeat inside.  This was a succulent bite of fish complemented by the crunch of cucumber, bound by seaweed and rice.  Surprisingly, or maybe it was just because it was following the Philadelphia Roll, I found the Crazy Roll to be the tamest of the bunch, except on one piece where I overestimated my handle on wasabe.  That's the good thing about sushi - a little wasabe beckons from every dish, ready to spice anything up!

 

Crazy Roll

And of course, nothing better complements sushi than hot sake, shown above dressed in a napkin to conserve warmth.

 

Next I got to savor Wokcano's Garlic Spinach, which should seem simple enough, but I knew upon the first bite that it was like nothing I could make at home.  Of course - keep in mind the customary rule of garlic, that if you eat it, any companions with whom you might be smooching must also partake!

 

Garlic Spinach

 

  

 

Honey Walnut Shrimp

To follow was the unforgettable Honey Walnut Shrimp, pleasingly presented and even more pleasant on the palate.  These large, tender shrimp were bathed in a tangy, sweet glaze, virtually melting in your mouth. 

 

 

 

 

  

Cheesecake dessert

Desert was scrumptious cheesecake, something else to melt in your mouth.  This was followed by Wokcano's signature touch to sweeten the bill - frosted fortune cookies, served cold and wrapped in colorful foil. 

 

During a meal at Wokcano, you might occasionally test your dexterity with chopsticks on a loosely rolled yet scrumptious piece of sushi.  You might wonder about the vaguely tribal or drum-and-bass-influenced electronic music.  You might be grateful for the soft lighting as you smile coyly across your table at a first date.  You might find a new date among the diverse, chopsticks-savvy crowd.  Most likely, you'll feel at home in the mellow atmosphere induced by their choices of soft lighting, music, and décor, and yet there will be nothing soft about the impact of their delectable food.  You'll want to keep coming back for more!

Wokcano
8408 West 3rd Street (at La Cienega)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323.951.1122

Be sure to check out Wokcano's other locations, or take them up on their delivery.  They have a downtown location near the Staples Center, offering lunchtime specials to college students.  Their newest location is located in Oldtown Pasadena, marked by generous space and an outdoor patio.  To learn more, check out www.wokcanocafe.com.

Photo credit: Michelle White

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