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Sawtelle Blvd: What's Your Favorite Place?

  • s

I gotta say I am totally obsessed with Furaibo's tebasaki--these chicken wings are to die for! I tell people all the time, no one makes fried chicken like the Japanese but they just don't believe me.

Also, the Blue Marlin Cafe rocks! I LOVE their Japanese pasta dishes--the tuna tartar with sansai (moutain veggies) is killer.

What's your favorite place on Sawtelle, and what dishes do you recommend there?

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  1. c
    Carolyn Tillie

    Down a bit from all the other restaurants, I know, but I love Empanadas Place. Not a bad thing on the menu and I prefer to go with a group of four so that we can all order different types and cut them up for more tasty bites.

    1. I think Restaurant 2117 is by far the class of the field. I've been eating there for years and have yet to be disappointed. Chef Hideo has a deft touch with fish, the regular menu items are quite good, and the specials are always worth trying. The food is wine friendly, and with a nominal $5/bottle corkage charge, we typically dredge up some older Burgundies from our personal collections to enjoy there. It's often fun to present the wines to the chef, request dinner to compliment them, and then sit back and wait to be surprised.

      Sawtelle Kitchen is also a long time standby, although my visits have tailed off in the past couple of years. Solid, but not spectacular, it's cozy and enjoyable. With what passes for cold weather here now approaching, the (very tender) slow cooked lamb shank w/demi glace is worth trying. Bring a big hearty red wine to accompany it - they have no alcohol license and therefore corkage is free.

      4 Replies
      1. re: u4ik

        How are the prices at 2117. are there moderately expensive like $15 and under for entrees.

        1. re: kevin
          Michael Robertson Moore

          Prices at 2117 are very reasonable considering the stellar quality of the food (and service - the waitresses are all quite charming.) If memory serves, entrees under $20 are common.

          Highly recommended.

        2. re: u4ik

          I agree, 2117 is terrific. The quail with sweetbreads is divine. I've never been disappointed after a meal here.

          1. re: u4ik
            Carolyn Tillie

            I had never eaten there but was invited to a complimentary wine tasting last Sunday. It was a private event so it was staged during otherwise down-time for the restaurant as 20 of us gathered to taste nine different Austrian and German Rieslings, Spatlese, Auslese and more.

            With them, Chef Hideo accompanied some of his standard appetizers which worked wonderfully with these light, white wines. We started with a Garlic Soup that knocked my socks off; very flavorful and hearty. Next was a Tuna Tartare with Avocado in a fried WonTon shell that was quite well-received. Next was a four-way sliced Eggroll, the contents of which I can't determine except for Wasabi. The day ended up with a Shrimp/Cheese/Cilantro Pizza. I can appreciate it but the fact that the layer between the crust and the cheese was entirely and wholly Cilantro was too much for me (can't stand the stuff).

            Shawn and I perused the menu and except for being hideously exhausted from an 18-bottle wine tasting the night before, seriously considered driving around for a few hours and coming back for dinner. Another time, definitely!

          2. It's a little small place on the north east side of the street called TEMPURA HOUSE. It's a to-go type place but well worth it for the tempura. Enjoy!!

            1. m
              More of Everything

              I had my first tongue ever at Manpuku, the japanese korean barbeque on Sawtelle. Very tastee. Enjoy it with a beer in one of the big frosted mugs they give you, mmmm.

              1. I drove by and I no not the name or the cross street -- only that it was a shabu shabu restaurant on Sawtelle. Please inform me of shabu shabu places in the area or any related recommendations. I'm planning to drag friends over there after a flick at the Nuart.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ai

                  I don't get the shabu-shabu thing, but that's just me. The place you are trying to think of is on the the southeast corner of LaGrange and Sawtell, named 212. I have pasted in a link for more s-s places in LA below. If you look at the last post in that thread by Lisa Bee you will see that she provides a link to more s-s places. A link within a link, kind of neat.

                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1. re: Mike Kilgore

                    Me neither. If I wanted to eat boiled meat, I could go to my mother-in-laws...

                    I do like the sauces though. Shabu Shabu and Korean do-it-yourself BBQ go against my food rules of no assembling (fajitas) or deassembling food in a restaurant. If I wanted to cook for myself, I'd stay home.

                    1. re: Muhlyssa

                      Korean BBQ is just so good that I don't mind cooking it. Plus, I like my meat with some rare part left because it's so much juicier, that doing it myself gives total control on desired doneness. Also, every bite is hot when you eat it, and not having the later parts cold and congealing is a big plus. Finally, the surly chowteen actually enjoys doing this, and for a dinner out with your 13 year old, his enjoyment is most certainly yours. :-D

                      1. re: Muhlyssa


                        I also hate having to cook my own food in a restaurant, but many places will cook it for you, including the Japanese take on Korean BBQ, Manpuku, which is on Sawtelle in the same plaza as Volcano Tea, 2117, Place, Kinchans, Hurry Curry &c. They will cook it for you if you ask.

                        And, should you want to marinate your own beef for pulgogi or kalbi, here is the marinade:

                        Mix together:

                        1 cup ponzu sauce (or 7/8 cup soy and 1/8 cup lime juice)
                        2 Tbsp. sour orange juice (or 1 Tbsp. each lime/orange)
                        2 Tbsp. sesame oil (may need more)
                        1 Tbsp. pimenta moĆ­da or crushed red pepper
                        1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
                        1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
                        1 Tbsp. crushed pineapple-in-a-can
                        3 scallions, chopped

                        Mix and let it stand for an hour. Pour over the meat and let refrigerate overnight, turning once (go get a midnight snack).

                  2. well it all depends on what I'm hungry for... Mishima for udon, Asahi for ramen, Don-Don-Teishoku for omu-rice, Hurry Curry for Japn.-style curry, Ginza-ya or MousseFantasy for pastries, Manpuku for pseudo-Korean bbq....

                    but I luv Blue Marlin the best! It comes really close to being the real deal faux-Italian food you'll find in Tokyo. Now you only need is octopus pizza!

                    Mizu 212 is okay, but Aoki's ShabuShabu (olympic/barrington) was better but they closed a yr ago. It's under new ownership but i haven't been back.

                    oh, 2117 is a bit overrated imho. Although the dishes are elegant and well thought-out, they never really hit the spot.... at least for me.

                    Definitely avoid that restaurant that used to be Osho's. I went in for a quick tonkatsu a couple weeks ago and the food was basically inedible. Same garbage, different owners. What's up with that?

                    Has any1 been to Sushi Sasabune? Thumbs Up? Down? Would you back?

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Got Rice?

                      Sasabune was my favorite sushi place the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time I went there.

                      It's divey and expensive. They prefer you to make a reservation.

                      If you sit at their small bar it is omakase only. Trust me! says the sign on the wall. If you make a sushi faux pas, you will be corrected.

                      When comparing Sasabune to Nozawa, I believe that Sasabune is more mind-alteringly blissful. Which is what I look for in sushi.

                      The fish melts in your mouth, as does the buttery warm rice. Divine!

                      BUT, upon the fourth visit I woke up and realized that the dishes from omakase menu always come in the same order. I found myself starting to think, "If I can just make it through the next 2 plates, I can eat the X." Not very be-in-the-moment of me. I also LOVE to be surprised and try different things, but when I boldly (but ever so sweetly) mentioned this to the chef, he grumbled at me. I also noticed that the japanese customers were getting more unique plates while I got crab hand rolls and toro sushi. I tried to influence him by saying, "mmm, that looks delicious! can i try?" No luck. Crab hand roll.

                      Actually, now that I think about it, I haven't been back since Candy and Tori and Randy Spelling sat down next to me at the bar. Still trying to get over that.

                      1. re: julia

                        what kinds of unique stuff was he serving the japanese customers?

                        1. re: kevin

                          (deep breath)

                          Kevin, I admit it, I'm an IGNORANT FOOL when it comes to eating sushi. I feel so much better now, freer. Sigh.

                          One would ASSUME, as I spent my summers growing up in Hawaii (70's divorce!) and two of my most favorite friends over the years were Japanese, that I would know more. Or something. But Terri and Kelli liked Spam, and my stepmom only bought me cone sushi, 'cause that's what my dad likes!

                          It wasn't until I was barely legal and an older Italian gentleman sensuously fed me toro sushi that I truely appreciated how amazing sushi can be.

                          But whenever we went to his local sushi place, he did all the ordering. Which was fine with me at the time. He had an great rapport with the chefs because we ate there 3 nights a week. Admitedly, I wasn't paying ANY attention to the names of any dishes. I was just going with the flow.

                          My knowledge is minimal but my hunger is vast! I realize I should know more. I don't know what my neighbors at the bar were eating - I just know that I wanted to try it. I guess there are times when knowledge garners more respect than enthusiasm and desire.

                          1. re: julia

                            Hey, don't diss Spam-musubi! lol

                            Anwayz, thanks for the info on Sasabune.... not quite 4 me. How about Mori Sushi?

                            1. re: Got Rice?

                              mori is pretty good. but it's pretty pricey too. more so than sasabune. but you can order whatever you want unlike sasabuen.

                              1. re: Got Rice?

                                oh, that's the one sushi I know! I must admit, I have a soft spot for Spam musubi! My secret is out!

                                1. re: Got Rice?
                                  Mike Kilgore

                                  Hi GR, don't know if you ever had any other feedback on your Sushi Mori question, but it made me remember that this had been reviewed once before. I included a link below.

                                  Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...