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HELP! Weekend lunch recs in J-Town??

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Hello to my fellow Hounds,

My brother and my four-year-old neice are visiting me one Saturday or Sunday. I want to take them to J-Town for a weekend lunch and would love your recs.

1) I went to Daikokuya for ramen and was not happy with it at all.

2) Does not have to be sushi... izakaya is fine... great crab salads, fried oysters, etc.

3) A nice atmosphere is appreciated. Does not have to be formal. Family style is fine.

Thank you!

P.S. Sorry for my bad spelling of Japanese terms.

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  1. Okay, I have narrowed it down to three lunch places: IZAYOI, SUEHIRO or HARU ULALA.

    Any thoughts?

    Kid-friendly would be great.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Liquid Sky

      I love the food at Suehiro -- it's the closest I've found to real casual restaurants in Japan. However, it's also authentically lacking in ambiance (think linoleum, bright lighting). For something that's a little more fun, especially for your niece, I might recommend Joy Mart in the Japanese Village. I have eaten lunch there numerous times and am always full and pleased. Their lunch specials are a *great* bargain, I believe it is $7 for salad, soup, and two menu items (you can choose from a range of sushi, rice bowls, and other dishes) or maybe $9 for an additional menu item.

      The decor and the food are both a bit of a fusion of Asian cultures (some Korean & Thai mixed in), but it's definitely good, and a good deal.

      1. re: Komori

        Okay...I'm late, but if I may suggest another option. I only ate there once (about a month ago), but I kind of liked Ebisu. Nice interior/atmosphere and the people working there were glad to see us. Of course it might have been skewed since my buddy works in Little Tokyo so the staff already knew him. I got a grilled mackerel (very tasty, I like fish) and my friend got a chicken dish and it was generous. Ebisu is at 356 E. Second Street, telephone is 213-613-1644. Their card lists a website, but it wasn't working this morning. http://www.ebisu-la.com

    2. Focus Cafe has the best katsu sandwiches

      3 Replies
      1. re: bigtums

        Thanks for all of your replies! I guess I'm looking for specific dishes for my brother to try, because he hasn't had Japanese food except for sushi/sashimi.

        I want him to try the eggplant, maybe black cod, ramen/udon... The small plates.

        R-23 sounded interesting, but also kind of expensive.

        1. re: Liquid Sky

          The black cod and eggplant at Izayoi were very good. The small dishes and sushi were also fresh and delicious. I recommend Izayoi.

          The last time I was at Haru Ulala, I was not impressed. Although the sushi was good, the cooked items were lacking something.

          1. re: ribeyemediumrareplease

            ribeye: Thanks!! i was starting to lean towards Suehiro from all the good Chowhound mentions. BUT I think Izayoi seems to have a better selection, and probably a nicer atmosphere overall?

            Can't wait to try their seafood croquettes, eggplant, fried oysters, etc.

            Cheers