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Doria-the food of the Japanese gods, or is it? Anyone?

  • t
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Ok- so after living in Tokyo for over seven years, I developed quite a taste for many "Japan-ized Western Food." The soft salsbury-steak like concoction they dub 'hamburger' (no bun in sight) with many variations- a teriyaki-like sauce with grated daikon, tomato-y sauce with a fried egg on top, or a standard gravy and melting cheese.......Also the many versions of pizza (I know no true hound would ever admit to liking Japanese pizza!) but alas, my taste buds yearn for the 'Idaho Special' from Pizzala, topped with chunks of tender potato and covered in some creamy mayonnaise sauce. And another classic- OM-rice (translation- omlette rice), a nice thin-skinned omelet stuffed with seasoned rice and covered with gravy. Yum.

The one thing I miss the most, however, is doria. Only Dog knows where it came from (Italy?) but it is a damn near perfect combination of ketchup-fried rice, chunks of chicken or shrimp or whatever, tomato sauce, white sauce, and cheese all baked like a casserole. It screams comfort food and I have yet to find anywhere in LA that makes this wonderful dish. Gourmet food it isn't, but after a long day at work or too many bottles of wine the night before, nothing tastes more soothing. Does anyone else share a hankering for this made-up dish from the East? (or West, who knows)??? There is seafood doria, chicken doria, eggplant/meat sauce doria- I suppose it is like lasagna if it was made with rice instead of pasta, hold the ricotta. I'd love to hear any doria stories any of you may have. In a world where foie gras and toro reign supreme, these humble dishes stand up for all that is simple and good. Go doria!

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  1. Mincha a la Japonaise makes it, location in Westwood, next to feast from the east. it's a tiny place, mabye four or five tables and a tiny counter. they serve one with a demi-glace sauce and another one with some other sauce.

    1. I lived in Japan for 1 year and also understand the fascination with doria. The first time I ordered it, I'm pretty sure I made the choice based on picture alone at the izakaya in my town. (It was called Murasaki, but the logo is of black and yellow straw hut. I think it's a chain.) But every time after that, if there was a doria on the menu where I was eating, *that's* what I would have. Yummy.

      You must know of "dynamite" served in various ways at Japanese restaurants, but it's a distant second. I'm pretty sure, tho, at the Japanese supermarkets there are mixes or pouches or something that help you make the sauce, etc. I'm sure I've seen it. Finding the perfect size casserole dish is another problem. I have tons of pyrex, but the Japanese have an answer for everything and even the teeniest tiniest glass baking dish I have wouldn't compare to a nicely-shaped oval of baked ______ with sauce and cheese, slightly burned on top (but just a little!).

      I think you are right. Lasagna must be the cousin of doria, and it's not bad food, at all, either. Maybe this weekend's homework should be for interested hounds to see if there are in fact mixes, pouches, convenience foods, etc. that help one make doria.

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      1. re: kotatsu
        t
        tokyoastrogirl

        Thanks Kotatsu! I have tried many a dynamite and it certainly is nice and kewpie-like (that is the best Japanese mayo out there) but it doesn't come close to my much-adored doria. Like you, I would order it in every izakaya, Italian restaurant, and Royal Host around. I have seen many a frozen "gratin" (same but made with macaroni) at Marukai and the like, but never doria. I do have the mix to make the white sauce though, and plan on making it one of these days. However, it just isn't the same as having it made for you and I would love to find a place that has a good, cheesy and piping hot one! I will try that Mincha place that was mentioned by Kevin. I'm hoping to report back with good news!

      2. In addition to Mincha on Westwood, I think you can still get doria at Mousse Fantasy, the French-Japanese bakery on Sawtelle N of Olympic. (Mousse Fantasy also makes a spaghetti omelette, slathered in a sauce that's somewhere between okonomiyaki sauce and Russian dressing, that may be the last word in Japanese-Los Angeles comfort food.)

        A few other Sawtelle restaurants used to serve dorias but no more, as far as I know. You can find their relatives, chicken and seafood gratins, just about everywhere on the street.

        And you can get Om-rice at several Sawtelle restaurants--it is especially good at Muse, in the Olympic Collection, where the sauce has a slight wine flavor.