Long a fixture for high-end sushi-lovers on L.A.’s Westside (and tucked away in a nondescript strip mall), Hamasaku has certainly changed since it opened in 1998. For years, the restaurant was known for creative menu items inspired by a celebrity clientele—the Charlize tacos, the Twilight Roll and other dishes named for Julie Andrews and Candy Spelling. But after more than a decade of serving fame-inspired fish, it was time for an update.
These days, the menu has turned toward more refined Japanese fare, thanks to the leadership of executive sushi chef Yoya Takahashi and executive chef Wonny Lee, and the decor has been overhauled by architect Marwan Al-Sayed (of Utah’s Amangiri resort), who brought in a new “bento box” aesthetic, with blond wood and felt and fabrics in a wide variety of colors and textures. Offsetting the new design is an impressive selection of Japanese art from the collection of the restaurant’s owner, Hollywood power player Michael Ovitz.
“The quality of food and warmth of hospitality has never changed, and as all things need to evolve, it was important to not interrupt the overall ethos we originally created,” says Ovitz, a famed aficionado of Eastern influences. “Marwan Al-Sayed’s interpretation of what we had to offer breathed a new life into the space and mirrors the simplicity that I’ve always admired in Japanese design and culture.”
And that’s change we can live with.