Chef Andy Brings Flavors To Furusato
Koreatown, Los Angeles, CA
The owner of Furusato, Andy Shim, has traveled the world to bring flavors and traditions from some of the finest culinary cultures to Los Angeles. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Shim arrived in California with his love of exotic places, along with food that has helped him create his diversified menu. This was his invitation to fuse foreign flavors with a familiar setting. Some of his influences are from Italy, Japan, Fiji, France, and China. He says that the high-quality items on the menu at Furusato rival some of the “most exquisite sushi and sashimi” that he tasted during his travels through Japan. He claims that because of his innovative passion about food, his restaurant will be an experience that diners can remember.
This is a cozy intimate Japanese sushi-style restaurant on the border of Korea town, among many other Asian restaurants. The name Furusato is derived from a Japanese word meaning "hometown." There are colorful lighted lanterns mixed with drop lamps, and some of the décor on the walls are really precious. It's sort of a black and red setting, with large mirrors, and a gorgeous sushi bar. Each booth has it's own lighting which creates a comfortable atmosphere, good for dating. There's also private rooms for special events and business meetings. A focal point of interest is their large live lobster tank adding to the authenticity of fresh seafood. With its non-assuming simplicity, the restaurant has charm and natural grace, and one could have lots of fun with a group of friends.
The chefs at Furusato only use fresh fish that arrives daily, and the selections are rare and enticing. All the rolls are artfully presented with careful attention to detail and color. In addition, orders include a salad and appetizers. One of my favorites of the evening was the “Imperial” made with tuna, salmon, white fish, avocado, and topped with masago, (caviar). The cool softness of the avocado brings out the fresh flavor of each fish, and masago adds a touch of color and zest to the dish.
Another popular selection is the "Dragon Roll" combining shrimp tempura for crunchy texture and deep flavor, crabmeat gives it a subtle sweetness, and cucumber adds a crisp touch. It's then topped with fresh-water eel and avocado used to resemble a dragon.
For true sushi lovers and those who are curious and open to new tastes, the restaurant also features “o ma ka ze,” traditional sushi and sashimi courses. The Japanese word means "to trust and protect," allowing the chef to prepare his favorite dishes and to keep sending them out until you say stop. These combinations of fish and other various ingredients are incredibly unique and flavorful since they are custom-prepared according to the chef's educated palette. The determined price is well worth it as you will receive the highest quality fish at a lower price than if it was ordered à la carte. However, Furusato does it differently, charging $99 at dinner, and $75 at lunch for the special traditional Japanese a'la "omakaze."
There are over 30-regular and special rolls priced from $6.95-$14.95; my lunch-box special was priced from $12.95-$19.95 depending on size; but I especially enjoyed the Salmon Teriyaki, with 6-sashimi/3-sushi, grilled salmon tempura, 3-rolls, and salad, ($12.95). There were four of us dining, and I know that some readers wonder how I can eat so much. We shared. The Furusato Tempura is another recommendation. But the best buy is with the lunchboxes and "combo plates." There are several salads, including "salmon skin," and the soft shell crab is an appetizer priced at $11.50. Oh yes, they have a marvelous baked lobster roll, (13.95) extremely tasty.
The party platters include 30-pieces of sushi, and 32 pieces of special rolls, ($89) and they have a second one with 56 pieces of regular roll for $58. My advice is to ask the chef, to prepare a "tasting platter" and let him know your favorite fish, (mine is Salmon)! There are over 70-items on the colorful menu, with lunch combos priced at $12.95, and dinner for $15.95. So click your glass of "Sake" and toast in Japanese; "Kampai. Banzai."
Furusato – 3881 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles; (213)389-3800; Major credit cards accepted; valet & street parking; Open from 11:30am-10:30pm, Monday through Saturday.