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SAIDO’s Vegan Way | Chef Katsumi Kusumoto Popup

A coursed meal of various plates from SAIDO Vegan Cuisine

Art Direction by Noriaki Tanimura, Photography by Hiroshi Takigawa

Start 2023 on an adventurous, health-conscious note at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles’ Japanese Vegan Cuisine Popup with celebrated Tokyo Chef, Katsumi Kusumoto, whose vegan restaurant SAIDO, voted the World’s Best Vegan Restaurant in 2019 by the online vegan and vegetarian restaurant guide, www.happycow.net. For two January weeks, Chef Kusumoto will bring SAIDO, which translates to “The Way of the Vegetable,” to Los Angeles. The three-course lunch and six-course dinner menu will be a pre fixe offering featuring some of SAIDO’s most enduringly popular dishes.
Scroll down for details.

 
 

Although Japan is famous worldwide for sushi, sashimi and other fish dishes, high-quality wagyu beef and tasty ramen noodles topped with braised pork, the country also has a long-established tradition of vegetarian and vegan cuisine, which evolved in rural regions as well as in the kitchens of Buddhist temples where meat was not eaten.

Chef Kusumoto originally trained in French cuisine before specializing in fine Japanese cuisine at a members-only restaurant in Tokyo where he developed specialized vegan, gluten-free, Halal and Kosher menus for his clients. Thereafter, he continued to incorporate traditional and innovative techniques into his recipes, pioneering a new style of modern vegan washoku, or Japanese cuisine, culminating with the opening of his restaurant SAIDO in 2018. Located in Jiyugaoka in Meguro-ku, SAIDO offers a visionary approach to Japanese food. Not only does SAIDO’s food not contain any meat or seafood products, but it is free of chemicals and refined sugars, so that it fills the body and nourishes the soul.

In this special pop-up series, Chef Kusumoto will bring his unique contemporary approach to Japanese vegan cuisine to Los Angeles, with the goal of sharing this lesser-known aspect of Japanese food with the world and his passion for creating food that “all the 8 billion people in the world can eat!”

Scroll down for additional details including dates, times, cost, and more.

*Please note we politely decline all dietary restrictions and substitutions.

 
 

Meet the Chef

 
 
Chef Katsumi Kusumoto

 

Chef Katsumi Kusumoto

Executive Chef at SAIDO Restaurant, Mr. Katsumi Kusumoto was born in Okayama Prefecture. After graduating from the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka at age 19, Katsumi worked at top French cuisine restaurants and hotels in Tokyo, where he developed and refined his culinary techniques. After spending many years practicing French cuisine, he was drawn to the delicate taste of Japanese cuisine and made a career change to Japanese cuisine chef. For nine years, he was Executive Chef at Kusumoto, a members-only Japanese restaurant in Tokyo where he developed specialized vegan, gluten-free, Halal and Kosher menus for his clients, as well as in-flight dining for private jets.

Read more.

In February 2019, Chef Kusumoto joined Funfair Inc. and began operating SAIDO restaurant as the Executive Chef, where he continues to delight guests with his refined, contemporary take on Japanese vegan cuisine. He also produced a menu of ‘Samurai Ramen UMAMI Premium’, a Japanese vegan restaurant in Johor Bahru in Malaysia. Chef Kusumoto’s cooking style is simple but innovative, exploring modern variations of Japanese cuisine with a French influence. He believes the most flavorful cuisine is made simply with the best, highest quality products – including fresh seasonal ingredients, herbs, vegetables and quality infused oils – and aims to inspire and educate guests about the philosophy of Japanese cuisine.

Chef Kusumoto has appeared on many media channels and TV networks in Japan such as Yahoo!JAPAN News, Gendai Business and ANN. He has been a Halal cuisine advisor in Tokyo, as well as an ambassador for Japan’s ethical eating community. In November 2019, Chef Kusumoto and his team were honored with the title of “Best Vegan Restaurant Worldwide” by HappyCow, the world’s top Vegan/Vegetarian media channel.

 

 

Dates

 
 

January Week 1
Fri. January 6
Sat. January 7
Sun. January 8

January Week 2
Thu. January 12
Fri. January 13
Sat. January 14
Sun. January 15

 
 

Times

 
 
  • Lunch | 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM; plan for 45 – 60 minutes to enjoy
  • Dinner | 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM; plan for 60 – 90 minutes to enjoy
     
 
 

Cost

 
 

Below fees are exclusive of tax and gratuity.

  • Lunch $30 (three-course)
  • Dinner $70 (six-course)
 
 

Reservation Details

 
 
  • Reservations are recommended
  • Walk-ins will be accommodated per availability
  • For inquiries please contact us through this page or call 323-886-6058.
 
 

Sample Menu

 
 

The menu will be a pre fixe offering featuring some of SAIDO’s most enduringly popular dishes.

 
 

Click for Lunch Pre Fixe Menu

Monaka Salad
An edible jewel box of black and gold reveals market-fresh seasonal vegetables and vegan cheese in a rich tofu and sesame dressing.
  *Gluten-free: Except for soy sauce and miso
  *Allergens: Soy, wheat (soy sauce and miso)

Saimen (Vegan Ramen) – Choose One

Chilled Tomato Consommé with Noodles
The pinnacle of guilt-free ramen, crafted via a 12-hour process that adds no water yet results in a clear tomato broth. Delicious to the last drop, with ramen (gluten-free optional) noodles and topped with a medley of fresh vegetables.
  *Gluten-free: If GF noodles are chosen
  *Allergens: Wheat (noodles)

Vegan Tonkotsu
All the richness and flavor of classic tonkotsu ramen, but healthier as it’s made purely from vegetables. Served with ramen noodles (gluten-free optional) and a variety of vegetable-based toppings including a plant-based ‘boiled egg.’
  *Gluten-free: If GF noodles are chosen
  *Allergens: Soy (soup), wheat (noodles)

Vegan Cheesecake
Plant-based but it even looks like a plant? Vegan cream and raspberry mousse nestled under an earthen bed of almond and cocoa, with a pound cake bonsai sprouting in the middle. An enduring favorite on Saido’s menu in Tokyo.
  *Gluten-free: Optional (removes bonsai-shaped cake topping)
  *Allergens: Wheat (bonsai-shaped cake topping), soy (soy cream)

Click for Dinner Pre Fixe Menu

Monaka Salad
An edible jewel box of black and gold reveals market-fresh seasonal vegetables and vegan cheese in a rich tofu and sesame dressing.
  *Gluten-free: Except for soy sauce and miso
  *Allergens: Soy, wheat (soy sauce and miso)

Seasonal Vegetable Potage
A rich vegan puréed soup of seasonal market vegetables and matcha.
  *Gluten-free: Except for soy sauce
  *Allergens: Soy, wheat (soy sauce)

Vegan Grilled Eel over Rice
A SAIDO signature dish, ‘grilled eel’ is deftly crafted from tofu and root vegetables, and served over white rice with eel sauce, nori flakes and sansho pepper.
  *Gluten-free: Except for soy sauce
  *Allergens: Soy, wheat (soy sauce) and soy in the ‘eel’

Vegan Yakitori
Another SAIDO signature dish offering a vegan version of a Japanese classic. You won’t believe this vegan yakitori made in-house isn’t real chicken! Glazed in special yakitori sauce, topped with sansho and shichimi pepper.
  *Gluten-free: Except for soy sauce
  *Allergens: Soy, wheat (soy sauce)

Saimen (Vegan Ramen) – Choose One

Chilled Tomato Consommé with Noodles
The pinnacle of guilt-free ramen, crafted via a 12-hour process that adds no water yet results in a clear tomato broth. Delicious to the last drop, with ramen (gluten-free optional) noodles and topped with a medley of fresh vegetables.
  *Gluten-free: If GF noodles are chosen
  *Allergens: Wheat (noodles)

Vegan Tonkotsu
All the richness and flavor of classic tonkotsu ramen, but healthier as it’s made purely from vegetables. Served with ramen noodles (gluten-free optional) and a variety of vegetable-based toppings including a plant-based ‘boiled egg.’
  *Gluten-free: If GF noodles are chosen
  *Allergens: Soy (soup), wheat (noodles)

Vegan Cheesecake
Plant-based but it even looks like a plant? Vegan cream and raspberry mousse nestled under an earthen bed of almond and cocoa, with a pound cake bonsai sprouting in the middle. An enduring favorite on Saido’s menu in Tokyo.
  *Gluten-free: Optional (removes bonsai-shaped cake topping)
  *Allergens: Wheat (bonsai-shaped cake topping), soy (soy cream)

 
A meal from SAIDO Vegan Cuisine designed to look like a baby tree in a planter with a spoon
 

Art Direction by Noriaki Tanimura, Photography by Hiroshi Takigawa

*Concept images

 
 

About SAIDO

 
 

The restaurant SAIDO, meaning “The Way of the Vegetable” opened in Jiyugaoka in Tokyo’s Meguro-ku in 2018 by Chef Katsumi Kusumoto as a visionary restaurant that proposes a new interpretation of Japanese food – created without any meat, fish, chemicals or refined sugar – that nourishes both the body and soul. Hidden away in a quiet street, the restaurant serves exquisitely prepared vegan Japanese cuisine, as well as liquors and cordials especially selected by Chef Kusumoto. In November 2019, SAIDO received the title of “Best Vegan Restaurant Worldwide” by the media channel HappyCow, out of 110,000 restaurants. https://saido.tokyo/en/

 
 

Presented by

 
 
JAPAN HOUSA LA Foundation & JETRO Los Angeles logos
 
 

Supported by

 
 
JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles & All Nippon Airways (ANA) logos
 
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