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.
Archive for 'Japanese'
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…
Daikokuya just celebrated its 11th anniversary last week with $5 ramen, a deal that made those of us who already hate the lines at Downtown’s most popular ramen joint shudder. I’m as cheap as the next guy, but even on a normal day, the waits at Daikokuya have me questioning how much my time is really worth. Luckily it’s not the only noodle game in DTLA these days, and more and more places seem to be popping up every day. Here are 3 of the newest:
Men Oh Tokushima
This Tokyo ramen chain opened its first L.A. location back in October in the same strip mall as Aloha Cafe and Sushi-Gen. Fans of the super porky broth at Daikokuya might not consider it a suitable replacement, but pure ramen fans looking for something new and different will find a lot to like about this place. Their signature ramen is a combination tonkotsu/shoyu broth, giving the soup an interesting flavor that you’re not likely to find at any other ramenya in L.A. Toss in some thinly sliced, stir fired pork belly alongside the more typical chashu pork and you’ve got a bowl of ramen worth going a little bit out of your way for. 456 E 2nd St. 213-687-8485
It was inevitable. Because even in the most Japanese of Japanese food courts, man cannot live on seafood and vegetables alone. In L.A., there has to be chicken. Because even though Hannosuke, the tempura specialist in West L.A.’s Mitsuwa Market, added a vegetable tempura bowl earlier in the year you knew the menu wasn’t going to be complete until chicken made an appearance. And sure enough there it was on my visit yesterday: chicken tempura. But the joke’s on you Los Angeles chicken lovers! Check out the big surprise after the jump…
If you are a fan of ten-don but haven’t been to Hannosuke, the new tempura specialist in the Mar Vista Mitsuwa, what the hell is wrong with you!? Seriously. You need to go ASAP. And if your excuse was “I don’t really like eel or fish” or “I’m a vegetarian”, that’s not going to hold water anymore either because Hannosuke has added two more ten-don bowls to their menu. One replaces the fish with extra shrimp for $8.95, and one is all vegetables.
Check out the new vegetarian bowl after the jump…
It has been my long held position, and the position of Midtown Lunch, that dipping something in batter and deep frying it will always improve the original item (hot dogs I’m looking at you.) Sure, even I will draw the line at candy bars and sticks of butter- after all, I’m not a Republican. But even the most progressive of crunchy, granola bar eating vegetarian liberals will have to admit that treating vegetables to a spa-like batter treatment, followed by a hot oil bath, is the most humane death you could give to something that grows out of the ground.
So, naturally, when Grub Street announced yesterday that Tokyo tempura specialist Hannousuke was now open in the Mitsuwa Marketplace I became as excited as a… well… a fat guy who likes things that are battered and deep fried.