Aburiya Raku

$ $

When you notice Strip chefs flocking to a new restaurant, it’s a sure sign something good is afoot, and that was the case with Aburiya Raku shortly after it opened in 2008.

“Aburiya Raku” translates from the Japanese as “charcoal grill house enjoyment” and it’s at the charcoal grill -- using binchotan charcoal imported from Japan -- that three-time James Beard Award semifinalist Mitsuo Endo excels, preparing such dishes as a foie gras skewer, Iberico kushi, teriyaki pork rib or direct-flamed eggplant. Housemade tofu is a specialty, served in three styles and two sizes.

Or opt for one of the omakase menus, each offering the tofu, four types of appetizers, a sashimi plate, three grilled items, the daily fish, pickles and dessert, with the smaller menu including a foie gras bowl and the larger an uni and ikura bowl and hot stone steak.

Tucked into a strip center in the Chinatown area this is a tiny place, so be sure to make a reservation or get there early.

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