Yuuki on Sawtelle
Sometimes I feel like eating old-fashioned California-Japanese food--as in the kind of restaurants my parents used to bring us to when we were kids in the early 70s. That's what I felt like last night, and we wound up at Yuuki, which we had tried once before for lunch. It's in the space that was O-Sho for a million years, and it looks as though the new owners (who opened it last year) didn't change one formica-grain of the decor. The owner, in fact, is the chef; the server explained to us that he really wanted to keep prices down, which he couldn't do if he hired a chef. He does just fine with really simple fare. Sit down and a little petri dish of pickled cabbage (remember that?) lands in front of you, along with another of pretty little pillow of silky garlic-and-scallion-topped tofu, and edamame for the table. Dishes are of the tempura, teriyaki, sukiyaki variety, and the prices are right:$9 for combinations of two, served with miso soup and iceberg salad. Nothing amazing, mind you, but soothing and adequate, and the waitstaff couldn't be nicer. BYOB.
Your post evoked wonderful memories of my first experiences with Japanese food. Our family shunned O-Sho for our beloved Futaba, and I think of it every time I go to a Japanese restaurant on Sawtelle.
I'll never forget the clandestine thrill of pouring the dipping sauce for the tempura, replete with nubbins of fry coating, over steamed white rice, and scarfing it down before the entree came.
re: Dave Feldman
My fiancee loves Yuuki. I'm not so in love with it - not when there's New Japan up the road, in the 7-11 strip mall at Sawtelle and Santa Monica.
New Japan has absolutely zero atmosphere - it's really quite hideous - and you don't get the little pillows of tofu or edamame to start - but the prices are more correct and the food, IMNSHO, tastes better there. It's an enormous amount of food, as well - two cups of rice, salad, tempura, 6 pcs. of California roll, teriyaki beef and teriyaki chicken is $7.50. Parking is always a problem, but if you get creative (and don't park in the 7-11 spots, they are evil demons) you'll be rewarded with what, to me, is better-tasting Cali-Japanese food than Yuuki.