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