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Shishito peppers--where else to try them

I don't think I've had them before, but have tried them at three different Japanese restaurants in the last week. They are small green mild peppers, roasted with soy sauce and topped with bonito shavings. And I am now addicted! Is anyone else eating them too? And where?

Beacon (Culver City): lightly roasted with lots of sauce (soy and ponzu, I think) and lots of bonito, I liked these the best so far.

Sushi Karen (Culver City): over-roasted, but they removed the stems, so it's even easier to pop in your mouth. A little greasy, bonito shaved a little heavy.

Shaab (Pasadena): lightly roasted, a bit greasy.

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  1. slacker -- I, too, am addicted to these small, mild peppers.

    Beacon is at the top of my list, but I also like the ones at Nanbankan. They are grilled with a secret spice shake and a secret slather of probably soy or sake or mirin???? I have asked, but they don't tell! Their smoky grill adds a lot of subtle flavor, so this might be my second choice; unfortunately, they don't serve them with bonito flakes.

    I try them whenever and wherever I see them on a menu! I am looking forward to other responses here to your search!

    1. Ita-Cho on Beverly has my favorite version of Shishitos. They are not overly greasy, a little bit crispy and full of flavor. We always have to get an extra order.

      3 Replies
      1. re: smogqueen

        smogqueen - What else can you tell me about Ita-Cho? Is it a good destination for dinner?

        1. re: liu

          Ita-Cho is very nice for dinner. They have a lot of Japanese country-style dishes - some creative sashimi and a lot of interesting vegetables. It is fun to go there and order a bunch of stuff to share. All of their fish is very fresh and well-prepared. I also very much like their marinated lotus root, spinach/gomae and baked mushrooms. They have some kind of pork belly dish that I remember as very good as well.

          The service can be a little rushed and impersonal, but it is worth checking out.

        2. re: smogqueen

          I totally second that. And they have great food. Alway been one of our favorites!

        3. Ita Cho.

          Also "Sake House Miro" at 809 S La Brea (near Wilshire.)
          Very good there.

          1. You should double check (I've been on a grilled okra kick of late, instead of shishito) as pregnancy has dulled my brain as well as my taste for spice, but I'm pretty sure you can get them at Haru Ulala and Kokeokoko. Both in Little Tokyo downtown.

            3 Replies
            1. re: L nrs

              Yep, Haru Ulala has them, or did last October when I ate there. Tasty!

              1. re: ironykettle

                haru ulala still had them the week prior to christmas 2007, and they were FAB!!!!!! we had several orders.

              2. re: L nrs

                I had a special of these peppers stuffed with spicy tuna and then battered and fried tempura style at Haru Ulala a couple months ago. They were sooooo delicious.

              3. You should try the Japansese Korean BBQ's (e.g. Gyu-Kaku). You can grill and season yourself. :)

                1. The Hump in Santa Monica. Very fresh, not too mushy. Lightly sauced. Perfect spiciness.

                  1. I second Nanbakan on Santa Monica Blvd., just west of the 405. Not too greasy - perfectly seasoned. By the way, I have been growing my own shishito peppers in a pot. Pretty easy and I walk outside in the morning, pick a few and scramble them in my omelet (yum). I bought the shishito plant at the bonsai nursery on Sawtelle.

                    1. Our pepper plants are very productive this year -- though no success with the tomatoes. We found our shishito plants at San Gabriel Nursery, a Japanese grower. They had a lot of different varieties of peppers.

                      Our gas grill, however, can not compare to the charcoal effect of Nanbankan -- even if we are able to crack their very secret seasoning code!

                      Perhaps next year we will take a walk through the Sawtelle nurseries as you have mentioned (I think there are at least a couple there?)and buy our pepper plants on the Westside. Thanks!

                      1. Kiriko on Sawtelle - had them just last night in 2 dishes - one was shishito and portabello in a ponzu-like sauce with a bit more sweetness than most. Great dish. Also a couple garnishing spicy fried burdock. Very artful, another good dish.

                        1. Izayoi, Haru Ulala, Koshiji, Sakura House, Gyu Kaku...and at home (Buy at Mitsuwa, HK Market, etcetera!) I'm also growing a few shishito pepper plants -- bought them from a hardware store on 1st ave in Little Tokyo.

                          1. The only place I have had them is Hamakawa downtown on Central, just on the outskirts of Little Tokyo. I'm going to have to pick up one of those plants on Sawtelle!

                            1. BLD on Beverly/Vista has them in their crispy tofu salad. yum

                              1. The Zen Grill (I've had them at the one on Third Street, and the one on Olympic, haven't been to the one in the valley) has a delicious side dish of sauteed shishito peppers - I always have to get an order to share when I go there.

                                1. What a great post, slacker! I could not have imagined so many shishito peppers in this city! I oftentimes look at the menu and stop when I come to my favorite...but I know I must be missing a lot by not reading on. I really think there is a technique to REALLY reading a menu.

                                  1. I don't get it. They're everywhere. Try any kushiyaki place
                                    Kuishimbo in the Valley.
                                    14622 VENTURA BLVD #207
                                    SHERMAN OAKS

                                    and I'm pretty sure Kyushu ramen has them as well
                                    KYUSHU RAMEN
                                    15355 SHERMAN WY #N
                                    VAN NUYS

                                    1. try the ones at orris with crispy proscuitto & parm cheese....so good

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. I was searching shishitos and found this older topic on Chowhound. Hope nobody minds if I resurrect it.

                                        We've grown these and they are delicious fried. They do have a Mr. Hyde side, fairly hot when red, and getting hot before that. Not all of them are mild, so don''t be shocked when you get a little heat.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Akitist

                                          Thanks for the warning, Akitist. We did decide to grow them this year after having enjoyed them in so many L.A. izakaya places; we found these and many other small pepper plants at the San Gabriel Nursery. They are not quite ready for picking, but now I will watch them closely so that we can harvest before they begin to show red!

                                        2. I haven't had it there in a while, but I think that Azami on Melrose often has an excellent sautee shihito in miso!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Mos

                                            I enjoy Azami, and when I am at a sushi bar, the sushi is the main event and I forget to ask about some of their cooked specialties. Thanks for reminding me to inquire about shishito peppers, as I have found that they are often available but sometimes not on the menu.

                                            1. re: liu

                                              You're welcome Liu!

                                              While I do love their sushi, I think that they often have a really interesting mix of cooked dishes - some fusion type things and others that are more traditional.

                                          2. iroha and wa.

                                            misoy in a good way, well done, bonito topped and totally delicious.

                                            1. At Japon Bistro in Pasadena, they stuff them with spicy tuna and tempura fry them. Sounds like a lot, but you can taste the pepper, the coating isn't too greasy, and the tuna inside is delicious (but it does get a bit cooked). These are one of my weaknesses, and almost always the reason we'll go to JB and deal with the OK sushi. Plus, it's close to home.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: diningdivala

                                                You have reminded me of a similar dish at Izayoi in Little Tokyo. It was quite different because as you pointed out, diningdivala, the tuna gets cooked. I think I would prefer a post-stuffed shishito that they cook first, and then stuff with spicy tuna.

                                              2. I just had a few that came with the abalone tempura at Mori Sushi - not really a side order though as it was part of the omakase course dish.

                                                1. I know I am bringing this up again but does anyone know where to buy these lovely peppers? Any markets in Los Angeles????

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: girlwonder

                                                    Check with Nijiya Market on Sawtelle just north of Oympic Blvd. in West LA or Mitsuwa Market on Centinela Blvd. @ Venice Blvd. in Mar Vista.

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      next time I get over to that side o' town

                                                    2. re: girlwonder

                                                      Check out the supermarkets in Little Tokyo: Nijiya (in the Japanese Village Plaza between First and Second and Central and Los Angeles); Mitsuwa (3rd and Alameda); Marukai (in the Weller Court at Second and Los Angeles).

                                                    3. At Izayoi I had a heaping plate of grilled Shisito peppers that were sprinkled with a good amount of Bonito flakes. I enjoyed them this way. Im not sure if it was on their menu or was one of the specials. The kitchen is pretty accomodating when asking for specific items.

                                                      1. Korean markets sell shishito peppers.

                                                        i deep fry 'em just like padron peppers, then sprinkle (white) pepper + salt.

                                                        1. I just bought some at Nijiya, very nice looking. At some times of the year (but not right now, I don't think) they're available at the farmers markets, Easy to cook; we just wok 'em with minimal oil. Also they may be still be on the menu at Mishima on 3rd (but IIRC no longer at its spinoff Yashima on Sawtelle).

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: PayOrPlay

                                                            The proprietor of the Flora Bella stand at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica farmer's markets said he will have them this summer.

                                                          2. Kushiyu in Tarzana on Ventura Blvd serve them Kushiyaki style (Tasty Tidbits on Skewers) or some would say Yakitori (w/c is mainly chicken technically). While you are there, you can try their Ground Chicken w/ Chives (Nira Tsukune), also in skewer. You can find Shishito peppers in both Japanese and Korean supermarkets. The former is more pricy. I always oven roasted them at home, put a little mirin or ponzu, enjoy with a glass of sake and I guarantee it will give you a grin.

                                                            18713 Ventura Blvd
                                                            Tarzana, CA 91356
                                                            (818) 609-9050

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jotfoodie

                                                              At Kushiyu last night, there was an off menu item of yellowtail sashimi with truffle oil. Very rich and quite tasty.

                                                            2. Nebu @ Agoura sushi makes a great Shishto plate!

                                                              1. In Calabasas, a wonderful place called Bonzai or Banzai. I tried them and became immediately addicted. Since I live on the westside, I just found them at a little shabu- shabu dive on Pico and Barrington called Shabu-something. Sorry to be so vague. They're a tad greasy but still addicting....

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: deadre

                                                                  http://www.banzaisushi.com/ and I think the Shabu place is called Shabu Shabu and it's in the same little mini mall as Raku, (a really good Korean influrenced Izakaya) on the SE corner of Barrington and Olympic.

                                                                2. my favorite places to eat shishito is Koshiji in Little Tokyo. They grill these with a miso glaze. They are absolutely delicious. Also, I always order the garlic shishito at Tokyo Table, also very delicious!

                                                                  1. Just had some tonight!

                                                                    Sushi Asakura (Camarillo)

                                                                    1. on 3rd just east of la cienega on the south side of the street. it's a relatively new restaurant by katsu-ya...and if i try and spell it it will be wrong. i love them and they're great there

                                                                      1. try the relatively new restaurant by katsu-ya on 3rd just east of la cienega...more specifically between la cienega and orlando...south side of the street. i would tell you the name but i can't spell it.

                                                                        1. also, Sushi Go 55 has good ones!

                                                                          Sushi Go 55
                                                                          333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                                          1. Sasaya's is pretty good too... They give you quite a bit.

                                                                            1. Soban on Washington just east of the Costco shopping center, next to the Victorian building. I really liked the peppers here, sort of dry-fried (or whatever).

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                I have just been informed on another thread that Soban may have changed its name to Sushi but same ownership.

                                                                              2. my friends go for the ones prepared at K-Zo on culver blvd in culver city.
                                                                                haven't tried them myself.

                                                                                9240 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                                                1. I had a lovely dish of them just last week at Barbrix on Hyperion in Silverlake.

                                                                                  1. I love this post is from 2006.
                                                                                    I recently said while out eating somewhere that was not a asian restaurant,
                                                                                    "geez is everyone serving shishito I'm seeing them everywhere I go".
                                                                                    I had to laugh when I saw this post as the 3rd post from the top on the board

                                                                                    1. My DH heard good things about them and wants to try them. I'll check the Japanese markets, but can you suggest restaurants in Culver City or the SFvalley where we can find them already cooked?

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: compucook

                                                                                        Just bought some at the Japanese market at Centinela and Venice Blvd. Very cheap. Fry them in a little oil.

                                                                                        1. re: Baron

                                                                                          Add soy into the pan -- and perhaps a little honey or brown sugar -- to give them color.

                                                                                          You can also bake them in the oven with a tiny bit of oil plus soy and dust with brown sugar.

                                                                                          Adding mirin into the mix will give you a Japanese touch!

                                                                                        2. re: compucook

                                                                                          Culver City? K-Zo has it. Pretty standard: soy sauce, bonito shavings.

                                                                                          Anyone know of a place serving non-boring shishitos? Like stuffed with bacon or sausage?

                                                                                          1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                                                                                            ink had a very, very unique and tasty shishito dish on the menu a few days ago:
                                                                                            "shishito peppers, almond-bonito sand, tofu mustard"
                                                                                            It was really good.

                                                                                            1. re: MonsieurKnowItAll

                                                                                              Not bacon but Kiriko does it with Truffle oil....I now do it that way at home. Very tasty.

                                                                                          2. Had a specail pizza at Mother dough last night with shishito and soprasatta - really good.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                              Kiriko does a nice dish of Shesitos with truffle oil. Love it.

                                                                                            2. Try them at Olio on W. 3rd St. in Los Angeles. It's a really small pizza place with great food. The peppers are roasted in the wood burning oven and served with a citrus aioli dipping sauce.

                                                                                              1. While I only got one with my shrimp bowl at Hannosuke it was delicious (done tempura style just like everything else in the bowl). I wonder if I can buy more of the peppers separately or added to the bowl? I'll ask next time around.


                                                                                                1. My daughter was visiting from back East and just made some Shishitos lightly fried and sprinkled with kosher salt. So simple but they knocked me out! I'm in the Pasadena/La Canada area. Can anyone recommend where I might find them around here?

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: trimtab

                                                                                                    I love the ones Fumito-san serves at the Ai in South Pasadena (on Fair Oaks)

                                                                                                  2. CUT. They serve them with wild mushrooms. Very tasty.

                                                                                                    1. Also known as Friarelli peppers (Italian) or Padron peppers (Spanish).

                                                                                                      Sotto has them fire grilled, salted and topped with fried capers. Good stuff.

                                                                                                      1. Late to the game here, but Gjelina on Abbot Kinney in Venice serves a wonderful version.

                                                                                                        1. I believe Pedalers Fork in Calabasas has them on the menu. Haven't tried them so I don't have an opinion.

                                                                                                          1. I had Shishito peppers at Asian Ya in West-La. The table next to me had them on their table. It was stir fried in a garlic sauce. The smell from the other table was so good that I had to order it for myself. It tasted as good as it smelled. Don't forget to get the tan tan mien.
                                                                                                            11660 Gateway Blvd
                                                                                                            Los Angeles, CA 90064