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Nov 10, 2009 12:52 PM

JRA Japanese Food Festival, LA - Anyone been?

"This is absolutely the ultimate gourmet experience of Japanese foods and cultures unlike any other food and cultural event that you often see in town. This wonderful festivity is presented by the Japanese Restaurant Association (JRA) of America. The event will be held at the Kyoto Grand Hotel & Gardens from 11am to 4pm on Sunday, November 15, 2009. "

@ $50/ticket for all you can eat it sounds like a nice way to spend a Sunday, but I'm uncertain about the quality of food that will be provided at the event. Has anyone been to previous events, and if so, how was the food? Did you feel like you got your money's worth? If not, I'd much rather save the dough for an exilekiss approved fair/festival ^^

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  1. We've been for several years and have not been disappointed. The crowds can become oppressive, especially as the afternoon wears on, but the food just keeps on coming. The hot dishes are hot but the sushi leans toward rolls. Still tasty, though.
    I like to park myself next to the uni stall and eat uni until I burst. You'd be surprised at the number of Hounds who attend.

    6 Replies
    1. re: TomSwift

      Agree with everything Tom says... so wish we could go this year, but we'll be out of town...

      The last time we went they had awesome funky ramen, wonderful sparkling sake and freshly made Okonomiyaki! Plus, they have some neat programming like Tuna Butchering and Sushi Roll contests.... And they have neat goodie bags with full size Japanese Condiment samples. :)

      1. re: Dommy

        Interesting, the OC Japan Street Fair is also being held this Sunday! Not sure who picked the date first

        1. re: Sgee

          Well if that is anything like the International Street Fair on Old Town Orange, I would skip it...


        2. re: Dommy

          This is just the input I was looking for, thanks hounds! LOL @ "eat uni until I burst". Sounds about right.

        3. re: TomSwift

          A report back on the Festival. Again it did not disappoint! The sake tasting room was a treat, and although the glasses were thimble sized there was no maximum. A couple of people brought their own sake cups and so got real sized servings. Upstairs in the garden there was great ramen, and skewers, but no okonomiyaki - a disappointment. Downstairs in the large room there were 3 different Japanese beers on tap, and several by the bottle. Lots of sushi, soba, udon. I guess because I was second in line to get in I was selected to be in the team that made the 45 foot long sushi roll (fake crab, cucumber, stewed eggplant). This was great fun, with the sushi master from the hotel calling out the instructions and sous chefs every 5 feet or so along the line advising and assisting as needed. The finished roll was impressive but was spirited backstage and we didn't get to taste. Not so with the Bluefin tuna. This was truly a fine fish, roughly 200 pounds and with a $9,000 price tag. Some guy who was a magician with a knife cut the fish, taking the loins and especially the belly. Then came the great part. Immediately after the tuna cut, they took the fish to one of the sushi stations BUT had a sushi eating contest on the stage. Almost everyone crowded around the stage to watch the eaters, while I hung out next to the tuna and ate
          o-toro until I could eat no more. Of course, there was a goodly amount of uni sushi mixed in there as well. A tremendous day, from 11:00 to about 3:00. A definate must for next year.

          1. re: TonyC

            thanks for heads up all, I am so in.

            1. re: ns1

              I arrived late, didn't really get in on the bluefin party, but had enough mediocre sushi for the rest of '12.

              The Sushi Gen boys were really nice to all the JP photogs/chef pals. They were dishing out massive plates of uni to all the vendor and colleagues. The drunk ojisans were passing out on the deck by around 2:00pm, and beer reps were trash talking, bordering on fisticuff by about the same time.

              Any other reports?