High-Energy Japanese Restauran Okura in Japanese is a place where the most valued treasures are stored — art, gems, and fine wines. The desert’s trendiest Japanese restaurant, Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar, is sure to be a place where you will find many treasured dining experiences. Okura is located at Point Happy in La Quinta and at Tahquitz and Palm Canyon in Palm Springs. The contemporary Okura offers a fusion of Euro-Japanese cuisines. Executive Chef Kaoru Ishii, recognized as a master sushi chef and accomplished fusion chef, has prepared a menu of dishes with a Japanese soul utilizing European techniques as well as the ancient robata cooking method. Robata uses Bincho Tan, a handmade charcoal from the Japanese seaside village of Wakayama that produces 1,200-degree heat without smoke. Fisherman filet and skewer their fresh catch cooking them over the coals. Fusion dishes change seasonally, capturing the essence of Okura’s contemporary cuisine. From prix fixe, multi-course tasting menus, appetizers, and entrées to sushi and robata, the choices are endless. Brother and sister owners, Jay Lee and Edward Shin, opened Okura with keen insight that the desert was ready for a sophisticated Japanese restaurant with a high-energy atmosphere. Okura is beautifully appointed with a mixture of textures and elements: stone, onyx, slate, wood, copper, bamboo, rice paper, and a wall of red fabric woven through bamboo poles. Dining areas are artistically separated by design elements. From the open robata and sushi bar to more intimate dining rooms, each has a gracious, calm feeling underscored by soft lighting and candles. Guests are greeted with Irashaimase! (“Welcome” in Japanese) shouted by the host and echoed by chefs and servers as they are led to their seats. Select a wide variety of beef, poultry, seafood, and vegetables from refrigerated cases to be prepared to order by Kaoru and his team of robata and sushi chefs. From an illuminated onyx bar, guests are served liquors, a robust selection of Japanese beers, hot and cold sakes, and an ample choice of California and European wines. Open for lunch from Monday to Saturday. Happy hour and dinner daily. Reservations suggested. “Okura joins ancient Japanese robata and sushi methods with contemporary fusion cuisine in a high-energy setting.
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