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Apr 24, 1999 09:56 PM

Japanese in Little Tokyo LA

  • j

In reference to Leah Welsh's final sentence in response
to my Peruvian posting, AIOI on the main drag has been
a funky family favorite since we moved here in '76. I
don't go very frequently but have never been
disappointed. Stick with the noodle and tempura
dishes. Although served there, ginger and green tea
ice cream at the sweets shop in the back of the main
plaza across the street is the perfect way to conclude
the Little Tokyo experience. Japanese Curry House in
the increasingly vacant New Otani shopping center is
also wonderful, if it's survived. I'd like to know of
some others, too. If you're willing to venture further
into a different urban terrain as well as price range,
R23 in the artist loft district is stupendous. Any
info about the new spin-off place in the Santa Monica

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  1. At R23, be sure to ask for the "daily specials" menu,
    written in Japanese (NOT the regular menu written in
    English), and ask them to translate it for you. It
    often contains seasonal specialties from Japan that are
    not available elsewhere. Other places to try in Little
    Tokyo include Traction Cafe, Suehiro, Hazuki, Reikai's
    Kitchen, and Kagaya. And, of course, my favorite sushi
    restaurant, Shibucho, often extolled by me on previous
    Chowhound posts.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Tom Armitage
      Tom Armitage

      This is a follow up to my reference in the post above
      to the "special menu" at R23. There are lots of
      wonderful seasonal specialities in the spring from
      Japan, if you can find them. Things like fresh bamboo
      shoots and coltsfoot stalk. When I ate at R23 last
      Friday night, there were quite a few spring items on
      the special menu, including nanohana (a leafy green
      vegetable), yamame (a species of fresh water salmon),
      and hotaruika (fingernail-size squid called "firefly
      (hotaru) squid (ika) because of the way they glitter
      and glow when they swim in the water). Also on the
      special menu was sawagani, small fresh water crab,
      again about this size of a thumbnail, that were
      beautifully presented perched in and around a tangle of
      puffy rice noodles. I also had a seasonal fish called
      sawala served as nigiri sushi. The sawala had a
      texture like hamachi. I forgot to ask Masaru-san about
      it, and haven't been able to find anything about it
      since. Anyone out there know something about sawala?

      1. re: Tom Armitage
        sprocket dog

        if you like sushi, try Shibucho in Yaohan Plaza....the owner of R23 learned from the master at this sushi gem.

      2. re: Tom Armitage

        Does anyone know where I can find accessories and decoratives for my car's interior? I'm looking for asian made products like can-holders, aerofans, airfreshners, racing-rear-mirrors, shift knobs, etc...Is there a store(s) in Little Tokyo or at other locations that carries such products? Thank you so much for your help!

        1. re: AnhQuoc Le

          you can find exactly what you're looking for at a store (whose name escapes me) in yaohan plaza at 3rd and alameda. of course, yaohan's a great place to go for chowhoundy purposes as well (terrific japanese curry, ice cream, you name it).

          felicia :)