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Honda-Ya Tustin, lately?

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I haven't been back to Honda-Ya for years. Back in the day, it was an excellent izakaya restaurant, since it was open late and had great food/drinks. But I heard rumblings at the beginning of the year that the food and service had gone downhill, and steeply!

Has anyone been back recently? Is it still pretty bad, as in better to go to Kappo Honda or SSG bad? I need me some grilled quail eggs and bacon wrapped everything!

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  1. I haven't been all to recently because I find SSG much better overall but, I know that I've been to HY within the last year and a half and it was fine.

    1. Hey kingkong5,

      I just went to Honda-Ya about 4 months ago, and it was ~serviceable. It's definitely gone downhill in terms of quality, but not "horrible."

      After that, for me and my friends, it was worth it to drive the extra ~10-15 minutes down to Kappo Honda and Shin Sen Gumi instead of Honda-ya.

      1 Reply
      1. re: exilekiss

        Even though a year after.. I think I still agree with exilekiss. I went to Honda-Ya after movie screening at The Block (well... nothing open after 11pm). Then the week after I went to SSG (cause I finished screening around 9:30ish only). I have to say I enjoy the yakitori at SSG >>> HY. But of course, menu selection-wise HY >>> SSG. But I'm all about the yakitori... love myself some beef tongue!!!

        I have yet to visit Kappo Honda... I shall! And then Ikko too!!!

        -----
        Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
        18315 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

        Kappo Honda
        18450 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

        Honda Ya Japanese Restaurant
        556 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

        Ikko Japanese Restaurant
        735 Baker St Ste C, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

      2. havent been to the tustin branch but the one in jtown is pretty bad. warning to those out there. a friend asked me what i thought about it, and i told her, but she tried it anway and hated it.... very mediocre food..

        1. We were there twice about a month ago. The first time there were about 10 of us who all ordered different dishes so we could all share. Honda-ya was slammed as usual even though is was 10:30 p.m. in the middle of the week. Service was prompt and they nailed everything that we ordered. Everything was as good as it always has been since we've been there in the last 9 years. The eggplant was excellent, as were the short ribs, garlic spinach, several different grilled fish (I forget which ones we ordered, now), the gizzards, and the quail eggs. They have changed the soju in their ...-hai drinks. They unfortunately aren't as good now. The rest was excellent. Nobody had any complaints, and these were mostly people who were very familiar with Japanese pub style food. The neophytes were impressed as well.
          On the second visit, there were 5 of us, and the experience was similar. The only thing that seems to have changed other than the soju cocktails is that they are now so busy all the time that they aren't as personable as they used to be. The service has been efficient, they aren't as likely to be sharing the sake with you. But considering they amount of people they continually have to service, and how cheap the food while being so tasty, we don't think that is a valid complaint. We hate it when one of our favorite places don't deliver like they used to, but we can't include Honda-ya in that category yet. Not from our experience.

          5 Replies
          1. re: whiteonricecouple

            Couldn't agree more. Honda Ya is honest, dependable Japanese pub food. Not refined, and sometimes, a little rough 'round the edges, but it's my perennial favorite. It's pub food after all.

            People are bit put off with the sushi...which YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER ORDER AT HONDA YA. Really anything that involves raw fish is to be avoided. I had a terrible bowl of poke there once and learned my lesson.

            Kappo Sui in Santa Ana Heights is also very good. It's not so much pub food as it is a good Japanese cooked foods restaurant. Good luck if you aren't Japanese though. It takes patience, a lot of it, to penetrate through the language barrier. Once you do -- rewards aplenty.

            By the way, I love both equally, but my white friend preferred Honda Ya.

            Takeshi Abe's Izakaya Zero on the other hand, neither of us liked very much. Good but not great for the exorbitant prices they charge -- cheaper eats at Honda Ya and more authentic eats at Kappo Sui.

            http://elmomonster.blogspot.com

            1. re: elmomonster

              Has anyone tried the new izakaya in Tustin on First St about a 1/4 mile off of Newport Ave. I think it has been open for a few weeks now. I forget the name.

              1. re: cdmedici

                Are you talking about Haru Izakaya? That place used to be Sushi Nizi. I actually just went there last night on Election night... the place was very quite.

                I don't have a personal blog of anything, but I yelp. So, you can see the pictures I took last night here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/haru-izakaya-...

                -----
                Haru Izakaya
                498 E 1st St, Tustin, CA

                1. re: kelvlam

                  YES!! That's the place. I drove by today and was excited to see that they were open for lunch. It is my understanding that most true izakaya are not open for lunch.

                  1. re: cdmedici

                    well, you'll be disappointed. their lunch special menu is very americanized, with rolls and teriyaki-<blah>.

                    also, you'll be disappointed if you want to compare this place with Honda Ya, Kappo Honda, etc etc alike. It's a Korean place, Korean theme menu, with Korean text on it. So, it's hard to compare an orange with an apple.... Japanese Izakaya vs Korean-style Izakaya :-)