Cafe Suehiro Report [little tokyo]
I enjoyed this homestyle Japanese cafe so much I ended up eating here two nights in a row. The food is simple and delicious and the endearing American coffee shop atmosphere is hard not to like. Suehiro reminded me of a favorite restaurant in Chicago known as Sunshine Cafe.
The first night I went for the House Special - a sweet miso based stir-fry of eggplant and green pepper and your choice of protein. This is a baroque textural symphony, crisp pepper, absorbing tender eggplant and nicely fried yielding tofu - all deftly stirfried in the perfect amount of an addicting sweet miso sauce -remeniscent of Mabo tofu. It was a pleasure to eat this with the foil of the rice. This came with a well-executed sunomono [bit sparse with the krab] and a miso soup which came with abura-age - a favorite.
The Mugicha was pretty watered down as I could barely detect any roasty quality.
The next night my friend came with - the place was packed at 5pm - we had to wait a bit.
I was in the recovering stages of a nasty cold so I tried out the Zosui - the rice cooked in broth with chicken and shrimp. I also ordered the sunomono again and a Tsukemono Moriawase ( Assorted pickle).
My friend had the Yakisoba.
This was my first time having Zosui - kind of like a Congee or Korean jook of sorts. This was a stellar choice, the piping hot rice (came in steel cooking element) in dashi broth was interspersed with chopped sweet shrimp and tender, wonderfully juicy chunks of thigh meat chicken. A Perfect bundle of spinach was nestled to the side. Finely Chopped fish cake and Aonori (seaweed powder) garnished this homey, comforting and filling dish. My cold felt immediately better.
The surprise of the evening was the decked out and overflowing tsukemono assortment. I am a japanese pickle junkie so I was thrilled. There was takuan, a beautifully cut fresh cucumber asazuke, a vaguely sauerkraut remeniscent hari-hari zuke, beautiful purple shibazuke, and my favorite the sweet Narazuke.
What a great place.
Too funny... just had lunch there yesterday with some folks I work with. Really good Japanese comfort food. I had the nabeyake udon and zori soba (yes i know that is two lunches). Others had the katsu curry (pork), katsu don (pork) and udon curry (i think?). All enjoyed.
Really liked the writing in the sidewalk along that street.
i'm another long-time eater there, at least 15 years. one of my favorite summertime dishes is the soba noodles with lots of ingredients, including the little fried bits of tempura. for some reason this morning, i'm blanking on all my names. but try it when the temperature downtown hits 95.