Bad news for fans of Krua Siri’s catfish laab and papaya salad. The 3 year old Thai Town dive with the hidden Issan menu closed a few months back. The good news is, it’s been replaced by an equally divey new ramenya, serving up a small menu of Japanese noodle soups and sides for ridiculously low prices. There’s a tonkotsu ramen, a miso ramen, and a shio ramen with a pat of sea salt butter, all for $7.50. But the really crazy deal is their combo.
Archive for 'Japanese'
It’s no secret why sushi is the hardest lunch to reconcile with our intense desire to keep things under $10 during the midday meal. Raw fish isn’t cheap, nor do you really want it to be. But sushi isn’t the only Japanese food that is hard to come by for less than a Hamilton. Shabu shabu has proven elusive as well, for some reason. All you can eat Korean BBQ seems to have no problem serving up endless plates of thinly sliced meat, ready to be grilled, for $9.99. But take that meat and dip it in boiling water with some veggies and the price almost doubles. Maybe that’s why the only shabu shabu place we’ve found that hits the $10 mark is in Koreatown.
But K-town’s Khan Shabu Shabu has some competition now that Shabu Shabu House has opened on Sawtelle, from the good people at SushiStop. That’s right- the cheap sushi specialists of West L.A. have branched out into Shabu Shabu.
What is it about layers that makes people go insane? Some pastry guy in New York layers croissant dough and deep fries it, and the country goes bonkers. Idiots, I say! They’re losers, right? Why would anybody wait in line for that? And yet… when I heard about Kimukatsu, a famous Japanese pork cutlet chain opening its first two locations in Los Angeles, I had a cronut moment of my own. Maybe it wasn’t as twee as what Dominique Ansel has wreaked, but it was a moment nonetheless. And why was I so excited for the news of this chain? What makes this breaded and deep fried pork cutlet more excited than the excellent pork cutlets you can get at Hurry Curry of Tokyo, Wako Donkasu, or Myeongdong? Layers. It’s all about the layers.
As great a lunch street as Sawtelle has become over the past few years not everybody is doing gangbusters. A parking spot might be hard to come by, but so is a steady stream of customers for some of the restaurants on this bustling strip- both new and old. Valley success story Ramen Jinya, who arguably started the L.A. ramen craze back in 2010, is being replaced by Downtown favorite Daikokuya after just a year. Miyata Menji didn’t even last that long, making way for the new Tsujita Annex a couple of months ago. Sawtelle Kitchen’s inoffensive white table cloth Japanese has gone the way of the dinosaurs, and I can’t help but think that Soba Sojibo isn’t far behind. Itself a replacement for Spaghetti House by Orris, Sojibo isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. And when faced with noodle competition like Tsujita, or even Tatsu and Nong La, it doesn’t really stand a chance. Thankfully if you love soba there’s another option just down Pico from Sawtelle.
I was a big fan of Fat Spoon when it opened on 1st St. Downtown. Their Italian style pastas with Japanese ingredients, like cod roe and seaweed, filled a nice void in the Little Tokyo lunch scene, and their curry offerings were more than solid. Seemed like it was perfectly situated to pull in the spillover from their perennially packed neighbor Daikokuya. And once you toss in the fact that it was opened by the owners of Lazy Ox and Sushi Roku you would seem to have a recipe for success. Or not. The place never took off, and during our DTLA noodle crawl last month we noticed that it was being replaced by a udon place called Monzo.
In case you missed it on Eater at the end of last year, I’ll say it again. If you live or work on the westside, there is really no reason to travel any substantial distance for ramen. Want a giant bowl of super porky Hakata style ramen, you go to Yamadaya. Want something porky, but a bit more refined, or the perfect bowl of Tsukemen (dipping noodles)? You’ll be joining the hordes, waiting outside of Tsujita. And if shio or shoyu ramen is your thing, then former westside ramen champ Santouka still satisfies.
So when Besha Rodell from the L.A. Weekly wrote about Hayatemaru, Torrance’s new Hokkaido style ramen shop, back in June I didn’t really pay much attention. But now that the Japanese chain has opened a second location on Olympic and Barrington, I’m all in!
CoCo Ichibanya, the huge Japanese based curry chain with locations in Torrance and Irvine, has opened their first L.A. location on Santa Monica Blvd. btw. Bundy and Barrington in an old Rubio’s. Even though it’s listed as being in Brentwood, it feels closer to West L.A. which is already home to two pretty popular curry houses. And while CoCo Ichibanya is not good enough to replace Hurry Curry of Tokyo as my favorite katsu curry place on the west side, there are still a few things to like about this chain…