A Refreshing Touch of Class

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Fu-ga bartender Tracy Paige prepares some tasty summertime libations: from left, Blueberry Vodka Lemonade, a Tequila Peach Sunburst and a Midori Cooler. (Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
Rafu Arts & Entertainment Editor

Until the exterior sign and awning were erected last week, many strolling San Pedro Street may have overlooked Little Tokyo’s newest izakaya bar. That would be a shame, because Fu-ga, located in the subterranean space beneath the Kajima Building, offers a savory respite from the workaday world, as well as urban class after dark.

Opened June 8, Fu-ga is the brainchild of a team led by Bruce Kanenobu, the longtime restaurateur who has for decades run the Shogun chain in Pasadena and five other locations.

Fu-ga’s decor, like the menu, draws from and celebrates its Asian roots.

Spacious and modern in its decor, Fu-ga has anchored its design and its menu in Asian roots. Staple favorites like tempura and sushi rolls are joined by unexpected dishes such as king crab legs or one of my favorite comfort foods, British-style fish and chips–a perfect munch for the recent World Cup. The chefs also dream up daily specials to complement the set menu.

Lunchtime manager Asako Horiba explained that the project was a more than two-year restoration of the former home of Yatsuhashi teppan and the Nagomi bar.

“We’re very happy that since we opened, we’re getting busier,” Horiba said. “It’s mostly business people coming in for lunch, our happy hour is getting popular and the late night clients tend to be younger.”

The izakaya’s San Pedro Street entrance.

Of course, if you pour it, they will come. Fu-ga’s bar is fully stocked for any libation a thirsty Angeleno could want, with a staff of creative and energetic tenders. Tracy Paige, a model and actress who works lunchtimes at the bar, said the atmosphere is just the sort of upscale lounge that Little Tokyo has been lacking.

“It’s really hip in here,” Paige said. “Good food, great drink, a great place to be in Downtown.”

Fu-ga Izakaya & Bar is located at 111 South San Pedro Street in Little Tokyo. Open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 to 2 p.m., dinner Monday to Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Happy hour 5 to 7 p.m. Late night to 2 a.m. daily. Closed Sunday. Call (213) 625-1722 or visit www.izakayafu-ga.com.

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