The second opening of KAVIAR in Downtown Los Angeles was the result of a collaboration between Founder Tigran Oganessian, Executive Chef John Hans Yeo, style icon Aureta, and Managing Partner Charles Lew. Building upon the success of their first restaurant in Pasadena, KAVIAR showcases their passion for Japanese cuisine with a menu that strikes a balance between traditional and modern dishes. The restaurant’s elegant art deco design features classic elements such as marble, brass fixtures, and exposed bricks, and is further enhanced by unique artwork from local artists.
Upon entering the venue, you are greeted by a beautifully lit cocktail bar with mirrors and a large window showcasing the bustling kitchen and its hardworking staff. For those interested in a more exclusive dining experience, there’s the KAZÉ private Omakase tasting room located next to the kitchen. As you make your way to the main dining area, you’ll be led through a black walled and brick ceiling tunnel walkway. Upon entering the dining room, you’ll be taken aback by the glass case featuring three life-size samurai armor with unique designs that add an intimate touch to the space. It was a captivating experience to see the armor up close for the first time.
Adjacent to the samurai armor display, guests are welcomed into the luxurious “Aureta Room,” a space divided by elegant black velvet drapes and lined with dimly-lit bamboo trees. Inspired by style icon and entrepreneur Aureta, this room features a sparkling crystal chandelier and is designed for guests to enjoy the exclusive experience of tasting Aureta’s branded caviar, along with expertly paired sips from Casa Del Sol.
Once seated, I was introduced to the exquisite dishes crafted by Chef de Cuisine Roberto Rangel and Sushi Chef Tengis Itka. KAVIAR is renowned for its specialized sushi bar featuring responsibly sourced fish and luxurious accompaniments ranging from the world’s finest caviar to truffles from France. The menu is expertly paired with their collection of premium Japanese sake and handcrafted cocktails that change with the seasons.
Each dining experience at KAVIAR is customized to meet the guests’ needs, with knowledgeable servers providing expert recommendations on dishes and drink pairings. I was introduced to their signature cocktails such as the Kaviar Mule, Emerald City, K 75, and lychee mint martini. I also got to sample their most popular sashimi selection of bluefin toro, red snapper, and yellow tail. The standout dish for me was the visually stunning toro tartare, made even more impressive by the presentation: A server arrives at your table with a cart, expertly assembling the dish table side and finishing it off with a sprinkle of their finest caviar and 24K gold flakes. The dish was served with cute little toasts for scooping the tartare, making for an unforgettable dining experience.
The meal continued with a chef’s selection of the finest nigiri, presented nicely with minimal toppings that allowed the freshness of the ingredients to shine. From the lobster to the salmon, each bite was a showcase of flavor and quality. The sushi rolls were equally impressive, with the spicy yellowtail escolar roll and amberjack bluefin tuna roll perfectly balanced in both texture and flavor. The entire meal was executed with the same level of respect and quality, showcasing the expertise and coordination of the entire KAVIAR staff.
Dining at KAVIAR is an exceptional experience from start to finish. From the warm greetings to the impeccable customer service, guests are treated so much care throughout their visit. Whether enjoying signature cocktails at the bar, watching the kitchen staff prepare for the evening, indulging in a private Omakase tasting, or taking a group photo with authentic samurai armor, every moment here is designed to be memorable and special. No matter the occasion, a night at KAVIAR is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.
“KAVIAR isn’t a restaurant project. It’s a collection of dreams realized. When there’s real, undiluted passion behind something, the results are explosive. We work to stay true to this and we want everyone that dines with us to have a special experience.” – Executive Chef John Hans Yeo
More Information on KAVIAR
LOCATION: Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, 449 S Hewitt St, Los Angeles, CA 90013.
HOURS OF OPERATION: Open Daily 6 – 11 PM Dinner Service
Photo credits: All images are courtesy of KAVIAR.