With pink fur-lined walls, Japanese waitresses dressed in maid outfits and drinks with names like “Orgasm,” Tapas and Wine Bar C is probably the last place you’d walk into expecting tasty food. But you’d be wrong.

Chef Iwasaka’s (formerly of Chinois and Spago) menu is as ambitious as the restaurant itself, with dishes pulling from Italy, Japan and the nether regions of his own imagination. Seafood carpaccio, corn fritters, fried goat cheese salad and pasta Bolognese at a restaurant with only a few tables would be a recipe for disaster almost anywhere, but Iwasaka pulls it off admirably.

One could easily be happy here watching a Lakers game and drinking beer, wine, liquor and sake over plates of tender, crispy chicken karaage (Japanese style fried chicken) or the surprising spicy chicken sticks – a whimsical creation of long and thin wonton skins pressed like a sandwich around a tiny strip of chicken, then fried all together until crisp.

But the menu goes much, much deeper than fried bar snacks. Shrimp and Japanese mushrooms swimming in a fiery tomato broth and topped with gooey Swiss cheese is an unexpected delight.

With yours truly coming from a particularly snobby Italian background, it’s the seafood spaghetti with Bar C cream sauce that I would expect to like the least. But the surprises keep on coming with a light and uplifting version that’s the best I’ve had in quite some time.

The force that ties the whole place together may very well be Jas, who floats comfortably from table to table, recommending wines and receiving declarations of love from drunken Japanese businessmen and wealthy USC students alike. Buxom and devious, yet effortlessly endearing, this manager-hostess is the perfect fit for this unapologetically over-the-top joint, seemingly plucked right from the heart of Tokyo itself.

The calculated madness continues every other Wednesday for “Galvatron Night,” where patrons can spend $30 for a shot of the devious alcohol concoction – a gulp-inducing combination of Bacardi 151, Maker’s Mark and Patron – and receive free bar food to boot.

For more information, visit barc.biz.