Geisha House- The House That Hollywood Built
Published March, 2006
In the Scene Magazine
In Hollywood, procuring a celeb to back your restaurant is almost as common as getting the chef to cook the food: it is par for the course in opening a Los Angeles eatery. To create a scene that is hip, trendy, and successful, celebrity backing is a necessary ingredient. Take the Geisha House on Hollywood Boulevard, for example.
Hollywood hipsters, Tinseltown trendsetters and celebrated celebrities come to the Geisha House to see and be seen. Three local restaurateurs, Lonnie Moore, Mike Malin, and Shereen Arazm started with this recipe for success: invite A-list celebrity backers to join the show. Ashton Kutcher, Wilmer Valderrama, Sean Astin, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, and Dule Hill all are Geisha House investors.
The décor and atmosphere are as flashy and stimulating as the cool clientele. Entering the action, you walk down a long hallway lined with fire engine red wood posts and face a floor to ceiling mirror that gives the illusion of greeting yourself at the entrance.
Every aspect of the Geisha house is modern, flamingly red and straightforwardly sexy. Geisha girls walk around in full costume, titillating the customers with pure sex appeal. We were unsure of their actual function, as it appeared they operate by request only. One woman in costume sat quietly with a table of young men while another stood by a wall, apparently waiting for her next assignment.
The bar is lined with an illuminated white grid, interdispersed with mini flat-screen televisions. A huge screen perpendicular to the bar shows campy Japanese films and anime. A wall in the dining room is lined with the Tokyo skyline, while a wall across from the bar displays film strip style photos including the restaurant’s trademark lusciously red geisha lips. A glimmery red smoke stack acts as a centerpiece to the main dining room.
The Geisha House has several rooms, each with their own décor, although all share sleek, modern red furniture, retro white trim, and black leather seats. A DJ spins music from the mezzanine, and smokers head to the balcony, which has a retractable roof for warm weather star gazing, in both senses of the word.
The goal of the Geisha house is to stimulate the senses. It succeeds. While the atmosphere may be overwhelming, crowded and loud, it cannot be said that this is not intended.
At a place this hopping, one would think the food quality would take a backseat. Surprisingly it does not. The futuristic ambience crosses paths with stylishly plated pan-Asian cuisine by Chef Genichi Mizoguchi, formerly of Megu in New York. The menu ranges from cold and hot finger foods to noodle dishes, sushi, hand rolls and tempura.
The sushi is fresh and creative. The Hollywood Four Stars is a selection of tuna, hamachi, salmon and albacore drizzled in a tangy signature sauce. The hand rolls were filled with sweet and delicious fish. We loved the crispy wontons topped with tender tuna sashimi with unagi sauce and fiji apples. It is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.
We took a stab at the filet mignon. Although it didn’t look like much, the meat was tender and bursting with flavor. The soy, garlic and sesame dipping sauce was a nice touch. We also enjoyed a selection of chicken and beef Rabata-Yaka, or, meat on skewers.
With high quality sushi and Japanese bar food, a wide selection of high end sake, as well as a sexy ambience, hot geisha girls and a bustling social scene, the Geisha House is a Hollywood legend in the making.