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amazake & natto restaurant in L.A.

  • l

Hi all!
Does anyone know which restaurant serves this (not in the valley). I'd love the westside, but anywhere in L.A. would be fine!

TIA!

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  1. I can't remember the name but there's a place in the Mitsuwa (former Yaohan) shopping center in Little Tokyo/Downtown LA. It's on the 3rd floor and they serve pretty much everything: ramen, stir-fry, soba, udon, curry, and offer natto as a side.

    I ordered it and it was pretty fresh, just a tad too cold from being in a strong fridge. It was topped with thinly sliced green onions and a huge dollop of karashi. can't remember if it had that sauce on it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ladius

      Are you thinking of Hanaichimonme? Across from Sushi Go 55, with all the plastic foods in the window? I'll have to give it a try.

      1. re: Hailyn

        No, that place is okay but if you go further down (to the left) you'll see it. It's designed with traditional Japanese looking architecture.

    2. I have never seen amazake at any restaurant in the U.S.

      Inaka, the Japanese macrobiotic restaurant on La Brea, serves natto I believe. There used to be a sushi chef in Beverly Hills who would make natto for me, but he moved to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas and the restaurant closed. This restaurant really had the natto on hand for the kitchen staff, but the chef knew I liked the stuff, so he would make it for me. I haven't found any other sushi bar in L.A. that will do that. It's kind of time-consuming to mix it up because it's so sticky and I think they just don't want to be bothered, especially if they are a high-volume, quick turn-over type place.

      Last I ate at Sushi Yasada in NYC (one of the great sushi bars in the U.S.), natto-maki was right on the menu and you didn't even have to entreat them to make it for you.

      By the way, my favorite amazake is by Mitoku, the Japanese macrobiotic company. It comes in a plastic pouch and you thin it with water. It's made completely the traditional way, with the only ingredients being brown rice, koji and water. I've never seen it in L.A. and order it online. Erewhon sells a ready-made refrigerated amazake. If you are ambitious, you can get some koji and make your own from scratch.

      3 Replies
      1. re: omotosando

        Thanks! I just found Mitoku! That is a HUGE help!

        1. re: omotosando

          Have you ever made this omotosando? I am interested in miso and tofu making, so this might be up my alley. You can buy koji at Mitsuwa, right?

          1. re: kare_raisu

            No, never made my own amazake. Here is a link to a food blog where the author describes making her own amazake:

            http://bunnyfoot.blogspot.com/2006/02...

            Someday, when I have more free time . . .

        2. Z Sushi in Alhambra has natto.

          1. LLB: I have learned to ask for specific food favorites if I don't see them on a menu, especially at Japanese restaurants. I have found that at several restaurants I frequent there are different foodstuffs on the Japanese menu compared to the English one.

            1. I've had Natto in several restaurants in K-Town. All of them are serious Korean places... in fact I've never seen a non-Korean in any of them. I usually go with my cousin(s) who just drive and we go. Don't even really remember many of the names. Just vague locations. Most of these places would not be an easy experience if you didn't speak Korean. Also, nearly all of these places generally feature or highlight "non-mainstream" ingredients like small intestine, goat, tripe, etc... Natto is generally a starter or appetizer. Things like rice/risotto with ikura (salmon roe) and natto would be typical natto application.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Hide does not serve natto. Ask for it and the sushi chefs will shake their heads ruefully.

                  1. re: omotosando

                    oops!
                    since i goofed up on this, maybe i can make amends by offering another suggestion: the pasta served with natto and seaweed at the spoon house
                    Spoon House 1601 W.Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena 90247 At S Denker Ave Phone: 310-538-0376

                2. Just got back from the Mitsuwa marketplace in West L.A. The new ramen place (Santouka) serves natto! You can get a bowl of rice topped with natto and negi for $1.99 or you can also order natto and rice as part of your ramen set.

                  Would seem the cheapest, most convenient way to satisfy a natto craving, short of preparing it yourself. You can even do your grocery shopping afterwards.

                  1. I have had natto sushi at Noma (21st and Wilshire) in Santa Monica.

                    1. In perusing the online menu, I just noticed that Torafuku on Pico Blvd. has organic natto for lunch for $3. Doesn't appear to be available at dinner. I've never had organic natto and am anxious to see if I can discern a difference.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: omotosando

                        I tried the organic natto at Torafuku and it was really good. It is served in a bowl with a dollop of good mustard. It tasted better than the usual stuff you get out (for instance, better than the natto at Santouka at Mitsuwa) and definitely better than the little square packages you buy at the supermarket.

                      2. Don't know if you want natto just at restaurants, or if bringing some home qualifies as well - you can have your pick of at least a few brands at Japanese markets. You can even use these off-the-shelf brands as starters to make it yourself, if you still have an oven with a pilot, or proabably even a yogurt maker. A friend's mom used to do this all the time, and their family would chow down on the stuff regularly - I'm still not quite there with craving natto, though. I think of it as Japanese cuisine's equivalent to Limberger cheese - OK, maybe not that - imposing.

                        6 Replies
                          1. re: Ginger Baker

                            Natto is fermented soy beans. Supposed to be very good for you - full of vitamin K. A lot of people don't like natto because of the slimy texture and the smell (sort of like a ripe cheese). Very common breakfast food in some parts of Japan. Some sushi bars will serve natto as a handroll.

                            Amazake is a drink made from fermented rice. It's very sweet, even though it doesn't have any added sugar or other sweetner. In Japan, it's traditionally served steaming hot with grated ginger.

                            1. re: omotosando

                              Have you tried kuromame/blackbean natto Omotosando? Since trying this - I really dont go back to the regular stuff

                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                What is kuromame/blackbean natto and where do you get it? I haven't tried it, unless somebody has served it to me at a restaurant, and I haven't had natto recently at a restaurant.

                                1. re: kare_raisu

                                  where can you get blackbean natto? i've tried making it (i use a yogurt maker) but it just does not turn out as well as the regular soybean. would love to just pop in somewhere and buy it . . .

                                  1. re: myoo

                                    Mitsuwa sells it. It's quite good, but not sure it's worth the premium price.

                          2. Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen also serves natto (not sure about the other SSGs). Gardena, Rosemead, and Fountain Valley. My friend had it in a salad during dinner.