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Prana Cafe becomes a Japanese fusion restaurant; Koi's Rob Lucas tapped as chef for new venture

Rukasu2 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

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