Sawtelle Blvd. recs, please...
Meeting my friend on Sawtelle for lunch on Saturday. He wants to go to Chabuya. Is that the best spot? Are there other places worth checking out in the area?
Like so much else in life, it depends...depends on price range, level of formality, type of cuisine desired.
Other places to consider for Saturday lunch:
-Kiriko - mentioned before - great sushi and some nice cooked dishes as well
-GR/eats - very casual, Japanese fusion-y food (paella and shrimp tacos, as well as seared albacore tuna salad - odd mix of items on the menu)
-Sawtelle Kitchen - mid-range price wise and still casual
-Restaurant 2117 - more upscale, front patio space is a nice place to sit on a warm afternoon
Been hearing good things lately about Bar Hayama (previously Sushi Tenn and Sasabune). Toshi-san is gaining a rep for having a solid selection of great sake and pairing them with some "taihen-oishii" (really tasty) omakase that at least some Japanese expats are applauding.
Yuzando, the former Sushi Tenn place also in the same building as Chabuya, has great lunch specials. My first time there, I wasn't wowed by their hamachi, but I've gone back three times now and each time, I've had a great meal.
Last time, I had a seafood curry with soft shell crab ($10). Excellent. Before that, their sushi and sashimi lunch special ($19). And before that, their tempura lunch thing with one order of hamachi. the tempura was excellent, the hamachi, maybe a little off that day but when I had their sushi and sashimi, everything was fresh and tasty.
I second Yuzando, I've been three times I always get an off menu omakase it's always been around $40.00 for lunch and I eat a lot. Only thing I observed which I don't mind but some might is they are sauce intensive on the sushi. Almost everything I've had has some sauce brushed on it. However, they have been good with requests. For example I like scallop sushi with yuzu or lemon with sea salt, if I ask they fix it the way I like. No Attitude.
For shabu shabu, I'm a fan of Mizu 217. It's on the corner of Sawtelle and LaGrange (or is it Nebraska?). Their vegetables are especially high quality.
For sushi, I agree with all the Kiriko recommendations.
For dessert, get a cream puff from Beard Papa's. That trend might be waning, but I have to admit that it's a damn tasty cream puff.
I prefer Asahi Ramen. Chabuya's soup was too overpowering for my taste. My other usual spots are Hide Sushi, Sawtelle Kitchen, Hurry Curry, and Tofu-Ya.
I also agree with SauceSupreme's dinner recs for Orris & Furaibo. Furaibo is open for lunch, but the menu is different.