I love to eat out. I really, really love it. I could probably live in a bigger, nicer place in a better part of town, but instead, I eat out at least three times a week. So the other night when a group of friends and I went out to R-23, a hipster Japanese restaurant in downtown LA, I was super excited. The only thing I knew about the place was that it had cardboard chairs and was fairly pricey, but I tend to get excited about eating at Denny’s, so…
When I got there I saw it was much different than what I expected. The cardboard chairs made me think the place would ooze pretension, but that wasn’t (and isn’t) the case at all. R-23 is tucked away in a corner of a nondescript brick building and has no real sign pointing it out to the public. The inside is cozy (small), but the furniture is placed in such a way as to affect spaciousness. Modern art adorns the walls, and even the sushi plates are hung artistically behind the counter. All in all, it’s a very comfortable space, very understated, but very nice.
But on to the food! As the resident vegetarian in my group of friends, I’m used to being the bummer of the night, always having to ask for special orders and restricting any steak houses from our restaurant lineup. So when I went to R-23, I figured I would eat some edamame, down some sake, then go home for an actual dinner. After looking at the menu, though, I saw it was going to be an expensive night.

As an appetizer, I ordered the shitake mushrooms with asparagus, and I swear I’ve been dreaming about that appetizer ever since. It was so good. After that, I had an assortment of fresh, delicious vegetarian rolls that made me feel fortunate for my eating habits. Even the sake was delicious, albeit pricey, but at the end of the night I didn’t even notice the bill. And to top it all off, I even saw one of my favorite musicians. Right after I walked in to the restaurant I saw none other than Lee Ranaldo of and his wife, filmmaker Leah Singer (who has also done a tee shirt for Xlarge, where my hubby works as a graphic designer). Wow.
I don’t know what was better; the atmosphere, the food, or seeing Lee Ranaldo. In any case, I would most definitely recommend R-23 to anyone looking for good food and a good time (just don’t forget your wallet!).

5 thoughts on “Suchi!!!”

  1. I love R23. Yes, it’s expensive, so it’s not our regular sushi joint. But for non-vegans, I recommend the crab salad. It’s light and full of crab.

    Service has always been great and the cardboard chairs are probably the most comfortable seats I’ve had at a restaurant.

  2. Oh…R-23. I dream about the avacado and tofu appetizer. Sooooo delicious. When we went there last, for a friend’s birthday, it was so great except they brought out one dish at a time. That’s good when everyone is eating it all but they brought out all of the veggie dishes one at a time first and then all the meat dishes next. So it was like, we ate first while they watched and then vice versa. Until the sushi came. For how great it was the veggie stuff wasn’t that expensive. However my friends lobster tempura was like $40. Ouch. God I have to go back there again! Is it wrong to have a Japanese thanksgiving?

  3. Jananese Thanksgiving…good call. Yeah, they did bring out the dishes separately. But I guess it’s not that big of a deal if you’re with a small group or if you’re all sharing. In any case, yeah, it’s good stuff…

  4. I’m probably soooo wrong but I think I heard somewhere that those cardboard chairs are Frank Gehry designed.

  5. Will – While Gehry did design a whole grip of cardboard chairs, I don’t think the ones at R-23 are part of that series, but I could be sooooo wrong too.

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