Every person gets an order of veggies with a miso-based sauce to enjoy while they wait for the food. I like this much better than chips or bread since it's so much healthier. We usually devour this mini appetizer within one minute, but I never feel bad about it - haha!
Whenever J and I go to a yakitori spot, we have the usuals that we order. This time, I wanted to go off the grill menu and try a few of their non-grill items. The first to come out was the yellowtail roll filled with sprouts, avocado and even a carrot. I wanted a very simple roll, but this one did the job.
We ordered our usual stapes; me with my liver and tongue and j with his cartilage and wings. The tongue was actually beautifully cooked and super tender. I also almost always enjoy liver, so that was an easy one for me. J's enjoyed his cartilage but not so much on the wings. I believe he wanted crispier skin, not burnt. We both really enjoyed the beef. Although I can't remember what cut of the meat it was, it was tender and the delicious with the sweet soy-based sauce. The bacon-wrapped asparagus were just okay for me, but J really enjoyed them since it combined two of his favorite things: asparagus and bacon.
potato, sour cream
We moved onto the non-meat items, working our way through the stuffed mushrooms with radish, scallions and ponzu sauce and the grilled potato with sour cream topped with scallions and chili powder. I expected the mushrooms to come out warm, but it was served cold. The flavors were fine, but nothing extraordinary. However, the grilled potato was quite fantastic in both texture and flavor. The almost-burnt layer from the open flame gave a wonderful smokey flavor and nice textural contrast, especially when eaten with the cool and creamy sour cream. The added hint of spice from the chili powder was subtle and welll-balanced. While I would definitely order the potato again, J thought it was pedestrian and pretty average.
clams, whitefish, green beans, mushrooms
assorted mushrooms, tomatoes
I ordered the salmon onigiri because I wanted something filling, but immediately regretted it once I saw the salmon and rice ratio. I think I'm used to the more generous filling from the homemade onigiris. Nonetheless, the outside of the onigiri was crispy and nicely seasoned. We also got the clams and assorted mushroom dish. Both were passable, the clams being a bit better than the mushrooms. I think I was having a bad mushroom day. We finished our meal with the refreshing octopus sunomono. The octopus had the perfect texture, it was tender but still had a bite to it. The combination of the sweet octopus with the pickled cucumbers and seaweed result in a refreshing and delicious mouthful.
It's a well-known fact that I will miss living on the Westside, being able to walk over to Nanbankan or any of restaurants on Sawtelle Blvd. for lunch or dinner. I still haven't eaten at all the great Westside eateries, but I'm sure I'll eventually get around to it. More than the food, I will miss all the memories I've made living on the breezy side of town. The late nights, the lonely nights in and even my crazy neighbors... But, I must say that being back in Koreatown is pretty damn convenient. I forgot how easy it was to meet people up for a drink and find something to eat at 2 AM on a Wednesday. I also forgot how central Koreatown is to everything else. Besides the insane traffic and congestion, life is pretty good in Ktown, my hometown.
11330 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90189