I’m sure it’s a surprise to nobody that I enjoy eating Japanese food. I spent some time in Japan a few years ago and these days I really enjoy visiting the various eateries in Little Tokyo. Here are some mini-reviews of establishments I’ve visited in the last few weeks that I enjoyed: Oomasa, Mr. Ramen, Yamazaki and Mikawaya.
There aren’t many places in town where you can get Gizzard Shad, kohada in Japanese. Kohada tastes like mackerel and traditionally comes with a piece of clear kelp on top of it. I have developed a taste for fishy sushi and kahada fits that bill perfectly, I really like it. The chefs at Oomasa are friendly and skilled and always deliver wonderful servings of sushi and sashimi. When I ordered the sweet shrimp ama-ebi the heads came in a hot miso broth which I hadn’t had before, but is the traditional method of serving the heads as opposed to the deep frying that is more common here in the states.
It was late and we were hungry. We wanted to try something new and we settled on Mr. Ramen. The waitress was busy and somewhat inattentive, mostly because of the huge party of people that seemed to keep growing every few minutes. I ordered the miso ramen with pork and Penelope had the tofu ramen, with spinach added. Penelope doesn’t particularly like eggs or pork and both were floating in her giant bowl, so I quickly fished them out and dropped them into my bowl. The noodles were much better then the cheap store-bought ramen we ate as kids, and the broth was wonderfully complex, slightly sweet with rich tones of miso and pork. I had a large bottle of Kirin and some cold sake and almost was able to finish the massive ramen bowl. The fried chicken we foolishly ordered was barely touched. A bowl of ramen from Mr. Ramen is enough for two… don’t order any side dishes!
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, Yamazaki is a Japanese chain bakery. They make delicious bread and pastries. Penelope makes the most delicious french toast with their thick white bread. The cute little poodle tarts were light and refreshing and penelope really enjoyed the sugar toast.
Another place I didn’t realize was a chain is Mikawaya. They are the folks who make the mochi covered ice cream you can get at Trader Joes. We had some of their hand made mango sorbet and it was delicious. They also make the loveliest mochi treats I have seen since I was in Japan. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy pounded rice or home made gelato this is the spot.