Sunset Strip's RivaBella closing, Roku to replace it

Roku teppanyaki restaurant will replace RivaBella, which closes March 14

RivaBella, the large, slick Italian restaurant on the west end of the Sunset Strip, is closing after a two-year run. Opening in its place will be Roku, a Japanese restaurant focusing on teppanyaki, interactive dining with chefs using a large iron griddle, according to Innovative Dining Group, the company behind both restaurants.

The new IDG flagship restaurant is slated to open in July, and RivaBella's last day of service will be March 14, the company said in a release Thursday. 

Corporate executive chef Tyson Wong will lead the culinary team behind Roku. The menu will feature select items from the existing Sushi Roku brand menu in addition to the teppanyaki. Teppan-style items will include A5-grade Wagyu, Matsuzaka beef and Santa Barbara spot prawns. 

The restaurant will also house a test kitchen for the entire IDG culinary team, which services IDG restaurants in L.A., Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Ariz. 

The space will receive a complete revamp and include a sushi bar and teppanyaki tables, as well as an outdoor bar and lounge. 

Gino Angelini opened RivaBella with IDG in 2013. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold described the food as "the perfection of regular-guy Italian food."

"There are occasional flashes of brilliance here — a softly sweet purée of carrots under the sautéed sea scallops, or a juicy, oregano-scented salmoriglio, kind of a Sicilian pico de gallo, spooned onto grilled branzino fillets — but this may be a different kind of cooking from what we've seen from Angelini before," Gold said in his review

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