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Published July 10, 2009

I Heart Hakobe
La Cienega's New Japanese Getaway

You're all for jetsetting models, obviously, but sometimes you wish they would just settle down and open a Japanese restaurant.

And if they happen to do so on La Cienega's still-bustling Restaurant Row, all the better. Welcome to Hakobe, soft-opening Monday.

Now residing in the famed former Lodge Steakhouse, Hakobe is brought to you by now-investor Adolfo Suaya (he's not the model, but he's helped you out with Bar Delux, BoHo and many others) and new owner Asako (that's the model). Since her catwalking days, she's opened a restaurant in Osaka and an exclusive limo service in Beverly Hills, so she'll be able to make you feel right at home here. (Or en route to prom.)

The Lodge layout remains basically the same, and the tree-trunk tables haven't gone anywhere. But amid new bamboo, oversized lanterns and a sushi bar, you can now start with Black Cod in Puff Pastry, move on to Hakobe Surf and Turf (it's lobster and Kobe—the culinary equivalent of Pau Gasol and Kobe) and for dessert, there's the Chilled Pear-Ginger Soup. And plenty of sake, obviously.

You've never been a model of restraint.
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Photo: Aaron Farnsworth