Story of CHAYA
Our family opened Chaya’s mother restaurant, Hikage Chaya in the early 1600s, as a teahouse along a mountain pass near the harbor city of Kamakura, Japan. The combination of fine fish and spices passing through the port and the preponderance of weary travelers quietly made Chaya into a somewhat famous destination unto itself. When the Imperial Summer Villa was completed in 1893, just minutes away in Hayama, our restaurant had truly arrived. Chaya became a Ryokan and established itself as a gathering place for the royal court, government officials, and for those who sought a summer audience with the emperor.
After endearing ourselves to the imperial kitchen more than one hundred years ago, Chaya quickly evolved into the modern era. In the 1970s Hikage Chaya was a landmark destination for weddings and formal events. As Japan turned its attention outwards in the 1980s, we opened La Marée de Chaya in a pioneering step towards fusion cuisine.
Consecutively we landed in Los Angeles, opening La Petite Chaya in Silver Lake and Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills. Our marriage of French and Japanese traditions blossomed in the west. One night in 1984 at Chaya Brasserie, the iconic dish Tuna Tartare was born, and throughout the 1990s the restaurants became beloved haunts of actors and artists.
In 2006 we opened M Café on Melrose Avenue: a casual concept serving contemporary macrobiotic meals, anticipating the ongoing craze for simple, nourishing food.
Today we invite you to rediscover Chaya as we open dining rooms for a new century of tradition, food, and health.
Corporate Executive Chef
At CHAYA Modern Izakaya, our innovative team of chefs have come together for the first time combining their skills and showcasing their Japanese-Califonian cuisine in a modern izakaya setting, while utilizing local seasonal ingredients, the highest-quality seafood, poultry and meats. Corporate Executive Chef Yukou Kajino delivers not only a deft hand to creating this inspired cuisine, but also an intimate knowledge of the kitchen, the dining room and its guests, overseeing all aspects of menu development. Driven by the notion that cooking has no boundaries, Executive Chef Joji Inoue exemplifies a “Seafood Samurai,” showcasing his transcendental views through a respected culinary expertise. From introducing special omakase experiences at the Kaiseki Chef Counter, to pushing the boundaries on what one is capable of producing, Chef Joji elevates CHAYA Modern Izakaya’s commitment to innovation. Kaiseki Chef Katsuyuki Wako, whose tutelage and resume speak of his extensive Japanese education and extraordinary skill in the authentic culinary art ofKaiseki, brings balance and harmony to this powerful team with his meticulously prepared and exquisitely served multicourse meals that are as visually appealing as they are flavorful. With a perfectionist eye and Kaiseki palate, Chef Wako brings his seasonal and spontaneous mindset to Chef Joji’s European training, thus continuing the CHAYA cycle of bridging eastern philosophy with Western techniques.