Teaism in Washington DC serves a very nice ochuzake - a Japanese soup made from rice and tea, flavored with baked salmon and other things. (Menu at: http://www.ebutlers.com/teaism.html
Is there a place in LA (preferably in the South Bay, near Torrance or Redondo) that serves a good ochuzake?
serve? jeez. ochazuke in a restaurant is like toast at a restaurant.
do this: get some expensive rice (tamaki, or that stuff in the silver plastic) - they have it at Pacific Supermarket in Gardena. get some small sembei, some umeboshi, and maybe some fish too. Get some green tea, or some barley tea. Just have it around.
Ochazuke is made, usually, with last night's leftover rice. You make your tea, put the salty stuff in the rice, and pour hot tea over it. It's kinda like instant soup.
Ochazuke is pretty much home cooking, but it also seems to be one of the specialties of the estimable noodle restaurant Sanuki No Sato in Torrance.
And while it's nowhere near Los Angeles, Alan Wong's deconstruction of the dish in his eponymous Honolulu restaurant is mindbending.
re: Maria Eng
Alan Wong's ochazuke is essentially a risotto, slightly wetter than usual, flavored with a bracing hit of green tea and garnished with a slab of impeccably griddled rare salmon that is crisp outside and almost liquid within.
Tadahashi Ono at the brilliant Sono on 57th in Manhattan does a great deconstructed ochazuke``risotto'' with grilled salmon.
And Ai in Little Tokyo does the kind your mom might have made had you grown up sansei, just to give this post at least a little Los Angeles content.
That salmon idea is great!
One way to make the salmon is to take a collar, salt it on top, and broil it. That'll concentrate it and bring out the flavors. Cube it and make the ochazuke.
There's a powedered tea that's pretty expensive, but if you took a tiny spoon of that and put it on top of the rice.... it would kick ass.
I've been thinking of experimenting with jook. The idea is to make the jook equivalent of sushi. (Sushi, if you think about it, is just an educated riceball.) This jook would come in a small, warm bowl, and be topped with something rich and expensive, like liver or a vegetable cooked in oil. You'd eat five or six bowls at a meal.
The trick would be to come up with toppings that would leak their essense into the jook, and to have the jook be flavored to complement the topping.