LA’s secret Japanese beef restaurant, Totoraku, isn’t so much a secret anymore. But it’s still incredibly difficult to get into. You either have to know chef-owner Kaz Oyama or know someone who has dined at Totoraku before and knows him. (The ultimate seal of approval as a guest of Totoraku is getting a business card at the end of your meal with the private number used for reservations.) Nothing about the look of Totoraku is impressive. It’s marked from the outside by a sign for “The Teriyaki House Pico,” a failed restaurant of Oyama’s. Inside the tiny space, there is little to no decor to speak of. And there’s no wine menu—interestingly, Totoraku is BYOB. But there’s probably no better place for beef—of all kinds, served raw, cooked, and grilled right at your table.

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