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Kumo: On a Roll 

Breaking the Ma Maison curse

Wednesday, Oct 10 2007
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The southwest corner of Kings Road and Melrose is where good restaurants go to die, the original address of Ma Maison damning future occupiers like a curse on a tribal burying ground; Tulipe, Jozu and Citrine falling like so many swatted spiders. The hideously ugly office-building restaurant erected on the site resisted all attempts at remodeling. But Kumo is just stunning, a glowing, cloud-white space outfitted with curved white-leather banquettes, feng shui-ed to a turn, a glamorous open kitchen and a sleek Chiho Aoshima video installation that was one of the hits at MoCA’s “Ecstasy” show a couple of years ago. People have accused owner Michael Ovitz of a lot of things in Los Angeles, but you’ve got to admire his taste. Still, Hiro Fujita’s menu at Kumo, which is a spinoff of the roll-intensive Westwood sushi joint Hamasaku, is less serene than the surroundings, decent sushi sharing space with things like olive bowls and the usual Matsuhisa knockoffs, as well as truly bad ideas like sashimi pizza with miso where the tomato sauce would ordinarily be, rice-paper sashimi “burritos” and $40 burgers made with real Japanese Wagyu beef. Kumo is still in the early weeks of a soft opening, and Fujita’s cuisine, which when you got past the Judy Rolls at Hamasaku included some pretty serious sushi, may well elevate to the level of the room and the kind, understated service. 8360 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd., (323) 651-5866.

—Jonathan Gold

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