food features today in LAT (Sushi Fujiyoshi + more)
Today's Calendar section has a tantalizing review of Sushi Fujiyoshi in Little Tokyo...anyone been? Link below.
In "Restaurant News" there's info on Bastille Day dinner specials and summertime treats at the New Otani (rooftop BBQ and beer!). You can also get there from here: link below.
Inspired by Lisa's post (and the Times), I suggested to friends that we try the Otani bqq last night. Turns out, it was a great call.
Best of all, not surprisingly was the setting. For those who've never been to the Otani (like myself) it's a mid-size hi-rise hotel in Little Tokyo, popular, I believe, chiefly with Japanese businessmen. To get to the bbq, you cross the lobby, with its large, somewhat interesting and Japanese-y take on generic public sculpture, and take the elevator up to the "garden level" (same level as Thousand Cranes restaurant, known for its multi-course traditional meals.) There you enter your lil bit of Kyoto downtown: a lush good-size garden, replete with ponds, waterfalls, and a sense that you're anywhere but downtown L.A. Except for the view of the newly-refurbished top of City Hall peeking out at you from between the trees...
They obviously do a lot of weddings there and the cue set-up looks weddingish -- round wht tables with folding chairs -- with the distinction that there's a grill in the middle of every table. Yes, it turns out the bbq is Korean style. (I don't know what I was expecting -- terriyaki? BTW: From the garden you get a view of the Thousand Cranes gleaming tempenyaki [sp?] tables. Reputedly, the battered lobster tails they do there are memorable... ) Anyway, this was not the best Korean I've ever had -- not by a longshot. But it was very good. And the electric grill worked pretty well -- even if it wasn't the firey pit I like to rub my hands over at Soot Bull Jeep. My favorite item, as usual, was the beef ribs. Very well-marbled, tasty meat. The sirloin also tender. Shrimp -- big and butterflied, good-looking although somehow a little bland. Vegetable plate included eggplant and sweet potato -- I suggest putting the veggies on before the meat, otherwise you won't be hungry for them by the time they're cooked. The only dish I really disliked was the too-sweet and at the same time meagre bibimbap, which is much better elsewhere, and I probably should have known not to have ordered.
At about 25 bucks a head, beer and tip included, the meal was a tad on the expensive side (for bbq, not for hotel). But with a big pitcher of Kirin in front of me, and the stars above, small disappointments disappeared. Everyone had fun and agreed the experience was unique -- knowing my habits, my friends all teased that they were going to log onto chowhound to recommend the bbq before I did! So here I am -- first thing in the morning...