By Will Parson
From T-shirts to power suits, there is room for everyone at Rappongi. Its namesake is a district in Japan that is famous for its nightlife, and in a similar way the Asian-fusion restaurant in La Jolla caters to all kinds. The patio alone can beat many smaller venues in terms of seating, and its expansiveness provides a series of dining niches tied together by an ever-present upbeat energy.
The main dining room leaves a visual impression, as it is lined with statues of Buddhas and dragons, as well as an aquarium. Peer through the water to glimpse the backs of chefs preparing sushi. But for a different look, just sit at the sushi bar around the corner. Across from the sushi bar is the full bar, and across from both is a lounge area. On the patio, you can sit inside a quiet canopy along Prospect.
If there’s one thing people come for, said manager Stephen Omahen, it’s the tapas. The current menu boasts 25 different kinds, but if there was one to rule them all, it might be the Polynesian Crab Stack, made with mango, pea shoots, cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado, peanuts and spicy ginger-lime dressing. And the fact that all 25 of the tapas are half-priced every afternoon makes happy hour a wise choice — an energetic start to a night in La Jolla.
Chef Stephen Window’s sushi entrees at Roppongi have been gradually creeping up on the tapas offerings in terms of popularity. And like the tapas, sushi rolls are half-priced during happy hour.
“It’s a new, creative, innovative type of sushi going on,” said Omahen, before highlighting Roppongi specialties like the Sushi BLT Style and Big Eye Tuna plates.
Roppongi might already be a familiar sight, nestled on the corner of Prospect and Faye in the heart of La Jolla, but it was recently remodeled for a “light, brighter, fresher” feel, Omahen said.
And the restaurant recently launched its new Bikini Ready menu at a big party. The menu showcases low carbohydrate/low calorie options and “skinny” cocktails. Though that event featured models in Sauvage Swimwear, a bikini is not required attire to order off the Bikini Ready menu. The T-shirt you happen to be wearing should be just fine.
Roppongi Restaurant and Sushi Bar
875 Prospect St.
Expansive, Lively, Casual
Big Eye Tuna
11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday (Dinner 5:30 p.m. to close, Sushi Bar 3:00 p.m. to close)
3-6 p.m. daily
On The Menu Recipe
Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at lajollalight.com. Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story. This week: Roppongi’s Polynesian Crab Stack