Prana Cafe becomes a Japanese fusion restaurant; Koi's Rob Lucas tapped as chef for new venture
Mikayel Israyelyan is making a few changes to his restaurant portfolio in 2009, starting with the former Prana Cafe space in Studio City. Israyelyan has tapped former Koi sushi chef Rob Lucas to open a new Japanese fusion restaurant called Rukasu.
Lucas says the restaurant will soft open this weekend to friends and family, with a public debut early next week. "I have a big following from Koi, so I have people from all over coming in," he said Wednesday afternoon via phone. "I expect the [nearby] studios to come in as well." The small space (pictured), has been transformed from its previous incarnation as the short-lived Prana, which closed this past fall. Romanov, the larger Russian restaurant above Rukasu, remains open on weekends and now caters largely to a wealthy Russian clientele.
So, what's on the menu at Rukasu? Lucas says he has oven-roasted chicken with a raspberry soy sauce, salmon carpaccio with truffle citrus, multiple Kobe beef specials and, of course, copious amounts of sushi with a California twist (similar to inventive fusion-esque offerings served at Koi).
UPDATE: The restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner starting sometime next week and will begin serving lunch in Feb. (818) 506-5200 will be Rukasu's main phone number.
-- Charlie Amter
Photo of Rukasu by Rob Lucas