Archive for 'West L.A.'

Lunchtime is the Best Time For Shabu Shabu House on Sawtelle

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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.

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Shin Sen Gumi is Now Open on Sawtelle; Here Are 5 Reasons To Go

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I think it’s safe to say that Sawtelle Blvd, in West L.A., has become the ramen capital of Southern California.  While practically every neighborhood in Los Angeles now has a decent ramen option, Sawtelle has practically every ramen option all on one street.  Want to eat the best bowl of Tonkotsu ramen or tsukemen dippings noodles in the city?  Go to Tsujita. Want a pork fat infusion from the place that held that distinction before Tsujita, and has better rice bowls?  There’s now a Daikokuya on the strip.  Infamous Jiro style ramen, with fatter noodles? Tsujita Annex.  Soup-less ramen?  Tatsu has you covered.  And if you long for the days when L.A. didn’t know what a great bowl of ramen tasted like, there’s always the throwback assari-kei ramen at Asahi where you choose between shoyu, shio, or miso (although you’re probably better off driving the extra 3 miles to Santouka.)

So where does Shin Sen Gumi, the Gardena based hakata style ramen chain with locations in the SGV, Fountain Valley, and Little Tokyo, fit in to all this madness? When they opened up Downtown their only competition was Daikokuya, making it an easy sell.  But their newest location just opened on the little extension of Sawtelle just north of Santa Monica, blocks away from some of the best ramen in the city. Here are 5 reasons you’d want to end up at SSG…

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Your First Look at Kimukatsu’s Layers of Pork

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.

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Kula Sushi Now Revolving on Sawtelle (And It’s a Cheap Sushi Fan’s Dream Come True)

Is it weird that I love conveyor belt sushi, without ever having been to a conveyor belt sushi place that I truly love?  That’s definitely strange, right?  I guess I just love the idea of conveyor belt sushi. After all, what could be more fun than having your menu float past you on miniature boats, combining the ordering and receiving of your food into one simple motion. Sushi dim sum!  In practice, though, kaiten sushi is never as fun as you think it’s going to be.  If the place isn’t full, you watch the same things go around and around and around, wondering why you even bothered with this nonsense.  Sure, you can order anything they serve off the menu but that would defeat the purpose.  When something you do want comes along you find yourself quickly trying to match the color of the plate with the price. Is this worth it?  Am I paying more for something that may have been floating around in circles for god knows how long? How many plates have I ordered already?  Will something better come if I just wait? Am I spending a fortune?  What the hell is going on?!

It’s downright stressful.  Unless, of course, you just give in to the fun of it. In which case you always end up with a bill that seems far too expensive for what’s supposed to be a casual sushi lunch. And that, folks, is how they get you.  But even knowing all that, I can’t resist the pull of the conveyor belt.  So when Kula Sushi finally opened on Sawtelle last week, in West L.A., I had to check it out.

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Daikokuya West L.A. is Finally Open For Lunch

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier on Sawtelle in West LA, signage went up a few months ago announcing that Daikokuya would be opening just down the street from Tsujita, considered by many to be serving the best bowl of ramen in Los Angeles.  It’s enough to make ramen geeks squeal because while Tsujita is clearly serving the noodle bowl of the moment, Daikokuya’s ultra popular downtown location could be considered the ramenya that started it all here in Los Angeles.

A month ago the new West L.A. location of Daikokuya soft opened for dinner, but they didn’t start serving lunch until two days ago. And by day two the place is already packed. Check out the menu after the jump…

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Seoul Sausage Adds Monday & Wednesday Specials

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If you were getting bored of the super tasty but small’ish menu at Seoul Sausage in Little Osaka, you’ll be excited to hear that they’ve added two new weekly specials to their mix of Korean sausages and Asian rice balls.  On Mondays they’ve been serving a marinated galbi (short ribs) over bibimbap, with a soft boiled egg.  And on Wednesdays they have a pork belly special, also with a soft boiled egg, served atop a spicy mixture of rice cakes and ramen noodles (aka lakboki).

Check out the Monday one after the jump…

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Yabu’s Soba is Better Than Sojibo (and Their Tempura Gives Hannosuke a Run for Their Money)

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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.

Yabu!

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