2/01/2013 04:12:00 PM

Bamboo Izakaya Brings Cheeseburger Croquettes to Santa Monica

Even if it was one of the better ones up there, Ozumo was one of the first restaurants to break away from the Santa Monica Place dining deck - maybe it was the location - but the SF-based restaurant group has resurfaced with Bamboo Izakaya, which opens tonight in the former Tengu space today. They're trying to keep it a more casual and interactive affair, including letting you order your sushi, robata dishes and Japanese-inspired small plates via iPad. The app shows you photos of the dishes, gives history on Izakaya dining, and lets you re-order as many cheeseburger croquettes as you want. Server? Psht. They're now "table hosts."

There's a little bit of American, a little bit of Japan on the menu: those croquettes, which is panko-crusted cheese-filled ground beef balls; shrimp egg rolls with bechamel and corn; albacore tataki; caprese salad with yuzo kosho vinaigrette; mini udon hot pots; grilled meats and vegetables; and traditional and loaded sushi options. Ozumo Concepts International also owns 41 Ocean, the new private club and restaurant helmed by chef Chris Crary, which is set behind the izakaya. Now it all makes sense...

1541 Ocean Ave.; 310-502-7097

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