From Maki to Miki -- 2 days left
Acting on a tip I received from a Japanese student who also ordered the grilled mackerel special at Maki (in Japantown), I traveled with a friend to 38th and Balboa to try the fare at Miki.
The sign over Miki says "Azusa Sukiyaki" (long story). But in the window it says Miki. When we arrived there were three groups waiting outside. One of them was the woman who runs the cash register at my favorite grocery store in Japantown. She remembered me from helping me find wasabi-zuke and said hi.
We waited about 30 minutes, but boy was it worth it. The menu at Miki is divided into sushi stuff, izakaya stuff, dinners and specials. We ordered mostly from the izakaya stuff: hiya-yakko (cold tofu with ginger and bonito flakes), niku jaga (japanese style beef stew), and goma ae. We also got the sashimi moriawase. From the special list, we got salmon kasuzuke. Kasu is the mash byproduct of sake and makes a tangy marinade (kazu-zuke) for fish. We wanted the cod kasuzuke (don't dis cod until you have had it kasuzuke'ed), but they were out.
My source at Maki told me I had to go to Miki soon because the cook was going to retire at the end of the month. That turned out to be wrong: the cook is retiring this Friday. After ten years at Miki and 23 before that at Sanpo in Japantown, he's calling it quits. A new Japanese owner will take over Miki, but it's uncertain how the place will change. If you can, I recommend checking it out on the current guy's watch. Two days left.