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Food

Photo Essay: Wokcano Santa Monica Grand Opening Party

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Wokcano in Santa Monica (the fifth L.A. Wokcano restaurant) celebrated it's grand opening with a huge party of complimentary specialty cocktails and passed appetizers. And of course we were there to check out the scene. Free drinks! Woo hoo!

The new restaurant, located in the space formerly occupied by Akwa, is huge with two and a half levels of dark wood and modern, Japanese-inspired decor. Downstairs is the sushi bar, upstairs is the bar and lounge area with a loft section of the outdoor patio reserved for VIP.

With all the seats in the cool sections of the restaurant reserved for extremely late-comers, we were relegated to sitting in the dark back lounge off the patio area. Fortunately, servers still came our way and we were able to sample some of the specialty cocktails. But don't envy us. The cocktail menu is made up of flavored vodkas and syrupy concoctions. Here are some of the drinks on the list:

Lust/Caution: Three Olives Pomegranate vodka, PAMA liqueur, pomegranate juice

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Godzilla: Pravda vodka, Midori, pineapple juice and Chambord

Kung Fu Fighter: Grey Goose Le Citron vodka, blue curacao and lychee juice

Sumo Sling: Stoli Strasberi, lemon juice, lemonade and cranberry juice

The only drinks we welcomed were the Sumo Sling and Wax On/Wax Off, which is simply Grey Goose Vodka, Godiva caramel liqueur, Kahlua and cream. And that's because we were craving dessert at the time.

We weren't so lucky on the food front, though, as it is with most parties like this, the servers were always swarmed by hungry party-goers. But we were able to try the Black Pearl ($13.95): salmon, tuna, yellowtail and cream cheese wrapped with seaweed and deep fried in tempura, topped with black sesame and butter garlic sauce. It was tasty but we could also feel our arteries clogging. A guilty pleasure for sure.

Peeking at the menu the signature rolls (cut or hand roll) range in price from $10.95 to $14.95. Sush rolls (cut or hand roll) range from the $5.50 avocado roll to the $11.95 rainbow roll. There's also sushi dinner available as well as other Asian specialties. The priciest item on the menu is the $25.95 Peking Duck served with onions and pancake.

There's also a Chinese and sushi lunch menu for area business folk with prices in the $9.95-$15.95 range.

It'll be interesting to see if Wokcano can succeed in the spot where sushi restaurant Akwa couldn't.

Wokcano
1413 5th Street
Santa Monica, California 90401
(310) 458-3080