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Looking for trad Japanese on Westside tonite

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My daughter turned 10 yesterday and for her birthday meal she wants the kind of Japanese food you can get at Sakura on Centinela: a California roll, miso soup, some tempura and some teriyaki.

My partner and I are happy to oblige her, but have had eh experiences at Sakura and don't really want to wait in line for what we think is kind of mediocre food. What do hounds think of Yuuki on Sawtelle (where o-sho used to be -- we liked o-sho fine in the day); is it even still there? or any other place on Sawtelle similar to Sakura or O-Sho. Sawtelle would be great because then we could get Beard Papa for dessert.

At the moment we'll head for Noma unless someone can come up with something else.

Thanks in advance and by the way, we are making culinary breakthroughs with our daughters: last year's birthday dinner was at CPK.

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  1. How about Asakuma on Wilshire near Barrington? Also Hide Sishi on Sawtelle. Both have tempora, teriyaki and miso!!!

    1 Reply
    1. Sasabune! Oh, sorry - that's SauceSupreme's line...!

      I like Handlertaper's suggestions on Asakuma and Hide. Asakuma has respectable renditions of what you're looking for to fit your daughter's profile, plus they will have some things that you and your partner might like as well. The real standout dish at Asakuma is their miso-marinated black cod. Every bite is so sensual, full of otherworldly flavor, and practically melts in your mouth. A little bit goes a long way - all you need is a small amount followed by a mouthful of rice to act as a starchy foil that will let you savor the flavor even longer. The restaurant itself has a pretty nice atmosphere, and it doesn't get those insane lines like Sakura (for what reason I haven't a clue).

      Hide has been a local favorite among both Japanese and non-Japanese alike. They also do respectable renditions of what you're looking for. Although I can't think of a special dish that they have which I would order without looking around for something else like the black cod at Asakuma, Hide's combo plates will leave you with leftovers for tomorrow. It does get crowded, the wait can be long, they don't take reservations, the interior is plain as plain can be and they might still be cash-only.

      I think what is important to mention is that I'm guessing you're not looking for a more cuisine-intensive spot like Sasabune, Kiriko, or Torafuku, as that might be reaching too far too fast and isn't quite as easy on the pocketbook. However, if you think your daughter is up to it, a good and different experience might be Musha, located in Santa Monica and Torrance. This is an izakaya-intensive restaurant (kinda Japanese version of tapas) that serves up some very unique and satisfying dishes that your daughter might find amusing, like their rissoto that is prepared steaming hot in a wheel of parmesan cheese. It is more expensive than a simple trip to the local teriyaki combo place, but it will be memorable. It can be crowded (and smokey) but I have read previous posts of parents bringing 6-8 year-olds with success.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        One more thought-my kids like Taiko, in Brentwood. Very kid friendly and they have various combinations. (I love Hamasaku, Matsuhisa, Sasabune, etc. but the ones listed previously are reasonable, have decent food and are "safe" for kids.).

        And I agree with bulavinaka, love the black cod at Asakuma!

        1. re: handlertaper

          I second Taiko. I go to this place probably once a week and get consistently good food and service. They have an extensive menu with everything from simple kid-friendly foods like tempura and teriyaki to sushi and delicate tofu dishes. But don't get me wrong, it's good quality authentic Japanese.

          It's not fancy, not too expensive, and always full of families. Places like Hide or Kiriko aren't really the kind of place I'd take a kid for her birthday.

          There's also a frozen yogurt place next door that you could go to instead of Beard Papas.

          In the alternative, Asakuma's good too, but a little more grown-up.

          1. re: voodoochild

            great rec on the yogurt next door to taiko -- tart vanilla w/bananas and raspberries or sweet vanilla w/cinnamon.

            i've come around to taiko too -- the soba and udon are delish!

      2. Irori in the Marina would fit the bill. Big menu selection and she will get a kick sitting on the floor and having to remove shoes. There is space for your legs though. Pretty comfortable. I really like the food here and it can be very fun.

        1. hehe well i wouldn't really consider teriyaki or california rolls as traditional Japanese ;-). but that aside, if you're looking for one of those old school-style places, there's also Aki on Santa Monica. Yuuki is now the Giant Robot store, isn't it?

          3 Replies
          1. re: rameniac

            Youre absolutely right, I thought about that term for a while and decided to use it anyway, even though what I really meant was gringo Japanese.

            We ended up at Noma anyway, and it fit the bill perfectly, but now we will try both Asanebo and Irori too (I had been wanting to try Irori until I discovered zo, but that's for another post entirely)>

            1. re: NAspy

              lol, did you happen to have any ankimo at noma? i actually like it there, and they gave us a sardine-can sized portion of the stuff the last time we had it...