Musha, musha, musha. Everybody loves Musha.
If you don't love Musha, then you still kinda, sorta like it, right? Well, I'm not head over hells in love and committed with Musha, but I sure have a lusty love affair on the side with this little izakaya. I frequent the Santa Monica location once in awhile, like you would for an ex-lover that you think of on your lonely nights - great for comfort, but not something you'd fall back into and commit to on a daily basis (Mr. Right Now vs. Mr. Right). Now, my most recent rendezvous was made memorable by great company, unforgettable conversations and of course, good eats.
tuna dip, spicy tuna on rice cracker
We started off with one of their most popular items, the tuna dip. The tuna had a nice kick to it, spicier than what I've had before. The rice cracker and the spicy tuna was a nice play on chips and dip. I still prefer my spicy tuna over crispy, sticky rice. What can I say... I like food that sticks to my teeth!
This milky sake was sweet, smooth and did a great job of cooling my tongue after the tuna dip.
This is one of my favorite dishes at Musha, the presentation is impressive and the dish itself is amazing. In my opinion, I don't think the mackerel is too fishy since it is only seared on top and still raw in the middle. The "fishy" flavor is not overpowering, especially when eaten with a little bit of the wasabi or hot mustard.
I think I like regular fries way too much. The tofu fries were okay, but it doesn't beat the real thing. However, if you're on a diet and need to satisfy that fried foods craving, get this and you won't feel so bad.
I love beef tongue. It's my absolute favorite. The tongue here was good, not the best of cuts, but definitely hit the spot. I like my tongue medium rare so that each bite is soft and tender, overcooked tongue is probably the worst for me. Dealbreaker, for sure.
The beef was a bit tough for me and the sauces were a bit underwhelming. I've had much better yakiniku at other places so my expectations are always high.
Musha Fried Chicken
The M.F.C. was crispy and flavorful, but not greasy or oily. I guess that's a good thing, but when I eat fried chicken I want the oil and grease. If I'm going to cheat on my diet, might as well do it with something really bad, right?
This was one of the dishes I've always wanted to try, but never got a chance. Thank goodness one of my dining companions really wanted to test this dish out! As the server mixes the risotto inside a big block of parmesan cheese, I drooled at the impressive presentation. Unfortunately, I was mildly disappointed with the lack of flavor and cheese. I did appreciate the texture of the perfectly cooked risotto.
Bodega Wine Bar
After dinner, my dining companions and I decided to sip on some wine at Bodega in Santa Monica. I haven't been here in a couple of years, but the vibe was cool as ever.
2008 White Knight Viognier
The aroma of the viognier was floral at first, but after the first sip the fruity and sweet notes really come through at the end.
2008 Baroncini Pinot Grigio
The pinot grigio was easier to drink, but was a bit too thin for me. Everyone seemed to enjoy this one over the viognier.
The night started off well with a solid meal at Musha and ended, just in time, with lots of storytelling and "cheers-ing" to different occasions. Musha is a solid izakaya and one that I would frequent more often if I lived in Santa Monica. But, for now, I will maintain my casual relationship, a secret love affair that only needs to be revisited once in awhile. I'll have to say the same for Bodega... While its cool and hip atmosphere will probably bring me back, I hardly ever drink in Santa Monica and can't say when my next visit will be. All in all, it was an eventful Monday night and a great way to start off any week.
424 Wilshire BlvdSanta Monica, CA 90401
Bodega Wine Bar
Santa Monica, CA 90401