The TT 46

Mitsuo Endo

Aburiya Raku, Los Angeles, CA and Raku, Las Vegas, NV
Photo: Courtesy of Raku

Why he killed it in 2015: Off the beaten path in Las Vegas, past the big buffets, day clubs and casinos, Endo is turning Japan's humble pub food known as izakaya into masterful, grilled-kissed yakitori; smooth, rich foie chawanmushi; and the best agedashi tofu around. His luxurious izakaya dishes have found a new home out west in Los Angeles, where some believe he may earn a long-time-coming but well-deserved James Beard Award.

How would you describe your food? "Robata izakaya."

What's your signature dish? "Homemade tofu."

What dish would you cook for the rest of your life? "Robata. The binchotan charcoal brings out the best of the taste and umami of the subject."

How do you unwind after service? "The Japanese kitchen is a lot more old school with more discipline activities. I like to have a drink with friends or talk to staff members then have fun with family."

Rank pancakes, waffles and French toast from favorite to least favorite. "Pancakes, waffles, French toast."

Favorite way to cook an egg? "Poached."

Find Aburiya Raku on DINE.

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