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Nov 29, 2006 05:16 PM

Yatai on Sunset

Other than where Paris and Brittany will show up next, the best kept secret on the Strip has got to be Yatai Asian Tapas. Stopped in Monday night and had some wonderful chow. New cocktail alert -- Sakegria, a very enjoyable Yatai version of white sangria. Had a great plate of 4 large steamed shrimp balls, was introduced to a fiery red pepper sauce, had their beef curry w/nan and a seared hamachi platter. Everything was great, prices are quite inexpensive, beer list covers the East quite well (Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, others), and the owners -- Masa and Mitchiko -- are delightful.

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  1. Here, here, Bob!

    I can't stop raving about this place to anyone and everyone who will listen, and yet every time I go, the place is empty!

    Great for me and my date, but bad for the business...I hope they are around for some time to come!

    We never go without the Shiitake mushroom stuffed with spicy tuna and topped with pickled onions...if you haven't tried it yet, it may just become your new favorite!

    1. Hmmmm, can't imagine how to stuff a shitake, Dave and Stuff...they are so flaaaaaaat...will definately try.

      Agree that they need some more customers....that's why I posted. It's hard to belive the throngs that go to Red Pearl Kitchen wouldn't rather be at Yatai (from Ya-time-to-time) -- they'd save enough to buy some more really expensive clothes.

      1. hmm i suppose i should try this place but the name makes me cringe. "yatai" brings up WAY too many images of down and dirty food stalls in japan, and just makes me sad that i'm not there ;_;

        2 Replies
        1. re: rameniac

          Just tried Yatai on Friday night. It was packed when we arrived at 8:30pm. My dining companion doesnt eat raw fish and doesnt care much for mushrooms so we had to cancel out on ordering any of the shiitake mushrooms or sashimi. However a few of the standout dishes we had were the popcorn shrimp and the bite-size rid eye steak. I did notice they tend to use bonito flakes on quite a number of their dishes as garnishes. Really enjoyed the cocktails, very potent! I really like this place and will go back and be a little more adventurous the 2nd time around. Very nice service and pleasing atmosphere.

          1. re: rameniac

            I also don't like (not so much like, but question) the fact that they named their restaurant "yatai". Yatai is a stall, or stand, or booth and is short for "ya-ne" (roof) and "uridai" (place to sell) and they are usually mobile. Back in the days, people who didn't have storefronts would sell items using their yatai and move around from here and there (kind of like the mobile carts/stands use see in shopping malls, but less fancy). When someone says yatai in Japan now, it's usually ramen or some kind of noodle stand, oden, or yakitori (with a lantern hanging on the side). You can only carry so much ingredients in the self-contained mobile cart (and cooking equip/utensils) that the food served is usually in small portions on small plates, similar to an izakaya. To me, a "yatai" doesn't carry the restaurant/fancy food/cocktails image at all, but I can see how they might've wanted to create a new trend/thing, like "izakaya".

          2. Well its now ending the year 2008, and I finally stopped in! I didn't realize this place was almost 2 years old...Again, when my cousin and I got there it was at 6pm after work, and no one was there. By the time we left, it was getting full but not at capacity.

            Their martinis are kind of gross, but whatever--this is a Japanese tapas joint! :) If you want any real fruit juice, get the lychee martini. Now on to the food!!!! We had the spicy tuna on crispy rice (compared it to Katsuya and I prefer Yatai's--very yummy an crispy!). seared yellowtail w/ jalapeno & ponzu (a little bland actually but edible and fair price), BBQ eel an avocado roll (delicious), chicken wings (had to try it, its one of my fave foods haha...but had a weird smell but was tastey lol). The menu was nothing too adventurous but interesting, and will appeal to majority of pallets.

            It was charming an quaint and on an okay location on Sunset and across from the theater. They used to have outside patio chairs w/ a projector movie playing but that was gone and the waiter said it was too expensive to buy a specific type of outside heater :( Perhaps if more people visited, they could!

            I will def. go back again. The prices were fair and the service was friendly and prompt. The food was good and the menu is fairly extensive so there is a lot to chose from. Great happy hour specials that are actually served all evening because "every hour is happy" or something like that hehe :)

            8535 Sunset Blvd
            WeHo, CA 90069
            M-SA Lunch: 12-3pm, Dinner 6-11pm (F-S till 11:30)