kiwami Photograph by Gina Sabatella

When sushi chef extraordinaire Katsuya Uechi joined with nightlife company SBE to open Katsu-ya, many of his fans were disappointed. But his newest restaurant, Kiwami, feels like a labor of love. Uechi himself is there doting on aficionados at the small sushi bar as well as at tables of families with udon-slurping tykes. The ubiquitous tuna on crispy rice makes a cameo, but homegrown hits include agedashi tofu done “Kiwami style” (mixed with veggies, fried, and served in a savory sauce), melt-away hunks of kanpachi in a tangy ponzu-Dijon dressing, and dollops of uni atop pink slices of smoked yellowtail. The omakase menu is a relative bargain at $70. » 11920 Ventura Blvd., Studio City (818-763-3910). L Mon.-Fri.; D nightly. Beer, wine, and sake. Japanese $$

Photograph by Gina Sabatella