Made it to Hinotez tonight and was very, very pleased. I am happy to say that we FINALLY have a good udon place!
Hinotez is the Zen version of Yakyudori Ramen and Yakitori. Soothing, mellow Japanese music with dark wood decor and no posters, flyers and/or signs on the wall.
They have ramen, hot and cold udon, hot and cold soba, rice bowls, a small selection of appetizers, 4 sushi rolls (CA, Philadelphia, shrimp and Hinotez) and ice cream.
Ramen options are very similar, if not the same as the Convoy location with the addition of tonkatsu ramen. Udon/Soba versions are a "build your own bowl" style, with a base price for plain udon or soba, then extra for whatever you want on top of it.
I had the hot udon w/ mountain potato, chopped okra, wakame and karaage. Very, very good! Nice, clear but flavorful broth that arrived at the perfect temperature. Hot but not scaldingly so. My udon was covered in my toppings which were all very good. The chopped okra looks like a pile of chopped tomatillos but with the thicker texture of guacamole and added a nice "fresh" bite to the bowl. Noodles were well-cooked, with a nice tooth pull to them.
I am looking forward to warmer weather and trying to recreate the cold natto soba that I had in Honolulu!
Was too full to try anything else, but will be going back later this week for sure!
Open for lunch and dinner.
Thanks for the reviews. Looking forward to trying this place out.
So other than the addition of Udon, Soba and a couple of rolls is the menu pretty much the same as at Yakyudori? I was hoping that this place wouldn't have a lot of overlap but I guess if the formula isn't broken then why fix it? Yakyudori seems to always be busy on Friday/Saturday nights. Do they serve Yakiudon? That's one of my favorite dishes.
Unless there are more photos, it's the menu there with a small laminated insert that basically has some of the (same) fried appetizers at Yakyudori and the drinks. From the top of my head: fried chicken, fried oysters, takoyaki, gyoza, and edamame. Might have been 1-2 more that I don't recall.
Too bad. Currently my favorite Yakiudon is at Sakura. I have had it at Okan as well and it was on par with Sakura, I believe it was a special though so unless they put it on the regular menu I don't think they serve it all the time. Only other place I know of that serves it is Tajima and it was pretty bad there.
I went also, and with a relatively large group so I got to try a few things.
- Service was a bit spotty, restaurant was empty but it took awhile to get a lot of things. We didn't get any napkins until we asked 3 times, the servers didn't know what was in some of the dishes, and they forgot to bring soup spoons for some bowls of ramen
- no alcohol license yet and no yakitori either
- All the fried appetizers seemed a bit overcooked...
- All the people who ordered ramen had some minor nitpicks on it. I think they all preferred the ramen at yakyudori.
- The hot udon orders looked great and were received very well also.
- I ordered the cold soba dipping and it was prepared excellently. They gave a huge bowl of dipping sauce, which I wasn't expecting also (usually you just get a small cup).
Overall I would go back again, but I think I'll give them a month to work out the kinks