Since the mid-1980s when the first Chaya Brasserie opened, notoriously aggressive paparazzi, Chanel and Diavolina boutiques, and the rise of the Kitson empire have replaced novelty fusion cuisine and shoulder pads as popular conversation topics on upper Robertson Boulevard. But the Japan-based restaurant has remained a part of the L.A. dining scene. And so to mark a few anniversary benchmarks this year, the various Chaya Los Angeles locations are rehabbing, refreshing, and retooling.

While Chaya Venice's expansive dining room at Main and Navy Streets — which has been continually operating for two decades, nearly a full lifetime in Los Angeles as measured by typical restaurant years — closes for a quick renovation, Chaya Go (meaning “five” in Japanese) pop-up will take its place a few doors down the arcaded walkway on March 27 through March 31. “With this re-fresh,” says President Yuji Tsunoda, “Chaya Venice hopes to reflect what matters most to our guests, a comfortable and inviting atmosphere, remarkable cuisine and unforgettable service.”

Credit: Chaya Venice

Credit: Chaya Venice

The $20 per person menu buys an all-you-can-eat assortment of executive chef Shigefumi Tachibe's sushi rolls, Japanese snacks, and beer, wine and sake starting nightly at 5:00 p.m. As part of its ongoing support of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), the Chaya Go revenues will be donated to the program that targets disadvantaged high school students with interest in the food and restaurant business.

And as it settles into its second year, the newest of the Chayas located downtown at 525 S. Flower St., will introduce a weekly Japanese Beer Garden menu served al fresco beginning on March 21. Items such as yakatori skewers cooked outdoors on a hibachi grill, sake-steamed mussels, spring rolls, and Kirin pitchers will be served on Mondays from 5:00 p.m. on. For pre-dinner dining, Chaya Downtown provides pre-theater dinner, free valet for four hours, and complimentary shuttle service. And to round things out, all three local Chayas will serve a prix fixe anniversary menu for $20.10 beginning on April 1 through the summer.

LA Weekly