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Mar 26, 2007 07:11 PM

Review: Izayoi - Little Tokyo **

Izayoi was perfect for a casual Saturday night out with M. Little Tokyo is so darn close to us in Silver Lake, we really have no excuse for not exploring it's eateries more. I had remembered reading about it in the Eating LA blog a while ago and thought = beer + small plates? Sign me up! Enjoy a pictorial journey of our dinner. Oh and it was great! We'll be back. ($49 + tip, big bottle of Asahi and six dishes) Pictures from our dinner at:

1. Miso Soup: wonderfully soothing
2. Garlic Butter Flavored Grilled Mussels: the chefs cut them in half so very easy to eat, beautifully prepared and super garlicky.
3. Shrimp and Scallop Macaroni Gratin: Unbelievably rich, not that that's a problem, in moderation of course. Creamy, rich with chunks of scallop and shrimp...I'm so glad it was a fairly small portion because this dish takes comfort food to a whole new level and I easily could have eaten a huge serving.
4. Smashed Edamame on top of Homemade Tofu: Did not remotely appeal to me but M wanted to try it so...He reported that it was soft, cool, and cleansing.
5. Black Cod Marinated in Sake and Miso: How beautiful is that? Wonderful too, buttery, delicate, and simple.
6. Minced Sardine wrapped with Shiso and Deep Fried: The most adventurous plate we ordered (we're wusses, I know) and I think the consensus was that this was so-so, kind of bland. A tempura batter, citrusy, herby, almost like chopped liver inside.

(Rating system borrowed from S. Irene Virbila, LA Times)

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  1. I would give Izayoi more stars than two for the whole experience. First, parking is really easy in their lot -- with security guard. Presentation is with great care; every dish we ordered was a picture. It's a very friendly, casual place, and although not every item was of "WOW" quality, all that we ordered was good to very-very good! Also, the menu was quite lengthy which would give us a different experience for several future visits.

    I completely agree with you about the wrapped sardine, but surely -- as you pointed out -- it was quite different from the usual fare and served beautifully.

    2 Replies
    1. re: liu

      I totally agree with you! Sorry, didn't clarify the meaning of the stars, two stars is very good.

      Rating is based on food, service and ambiance, with price taken into account in relation to quality.

      **** Outstanding.
      *** Excellent.
      * *Very good.
      * Good.
      No star: Poor to satisfactory.

      1. re: Suebee

        Thanks, Suebee, for the clarification. Still, I might give it 2+ or even 3. As an izakaya experience, it is one of the better ones that I have had in LA. Perhaps Musha deserves a 3; Musha is different from Izayoi, but both are good to very spots and as a total experience.

    2. Been there three or four times; I'd say consistently averages 3 stars, with occasional
      3.5 flashes, and occasional slips to 2.5. The miso cod is up at 3.5. I wasn't crazy about the sardine thingy either.

      Their eel on rice is as good as any I've had outside of Japan.

      R Gould-Saltman

      5 Replies
      1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

        I like the way you have worded your review, and I do agree! I would add that their service is a 3.5 -- very friendly and attentive!

        1. re: liu

          haha the staff know that the natives actually tip.

          I thinks its a good place, if your in the right mood for it. The food is good, and I like it better than Musha (Musha has nice variety, but most of the food is a little too sauce heavy for me). But the time I went it was pretty loud and there were a lot of younger people drinking in there (I dont think they card anyone in there). So if your in the mood for a lively and casual night it might be a good place to stop.

          Shame about the sardines, but I guess they just passed out of season (best time is early February is what they say).

          someone should post a season to Japanese cuisine schedule.

        2. re: silverlakebodhisattva

          Is that a season end of July thing?

          Is that fresh water eel or ocean going?

          1. re: I make my own pickles

            Hmmm I actually like the minced sardines, wrapped in shiso leaf. That was the first time I had sardines and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Another light and tasty item on their dish, although I question the authenticity of it, is eggplant wrapped with prosciotto with a balsamic sauce, I know it's something thats easy enough to make at home, but it was so delicious.

            I have some pics of our visit there a few weeks back:


            1. re: I make my own pickles

              "Unadon", so "unagi", so fresh-water, if my memory is right....

              btw, they've got a pretty good sake list, too...

              r gould-saltman