Help I've lost my izakaya!
I am in search of a nice izakaya. First Terried sake house closed down, then last year Place Yuu disappeared, now I don't even know where to start. Is there anything out there like either of these places?
I guess I could tell you why I liked these places?
Loved Terried sake house for their cheap prices, total lack of ambiance and unpretentious, sparsely flavored, delicious food. Loved Yuu for similar reasons, except for the cheap part and the lack of ambiance part. Special mention has to go to their matsutake dobin mushi which filled me with awe the first time I had it.
As a side note, I really like Musha, but it feels like a different class of izakaya. The food feels more modern or trendy than the places I listed above and I guess I'm looking for a little more traditional?
If you're willing to brave the 405 South, the closest approximation I've found for Terried's food, price point, attitude, and (lack of) atmosphere is Azuma, on Western and 162nd in Gardena. It's been my favorite "greasy spoon" ("greasy chopstick"?) izakaya in recent years.
Stay away from the monster combo plates (mostly rice and slaw, by volume) that all the college kids are ordering, and just pick a bunch of stuff off the a la carte menu. Don't expect any sort of culinary revelations, but they make some of the best cheap goma-ae, natto, salmon skin salad, mushroom/bacon sautees, okonomiyaki, broiled fish collar, etc. in town.
[Also, when your second pitcher comes around, offer a mug of it to your waiter and you'll find some other yummy bites start to magically arrive...]
I've been slowly working through everyone's recommendations, but based on how you described it, the first place I tried was Azuma.
It has since become one of my favorite restaurants in the whole city. Thank you it was exactly what I was looking for.
The buta kakuni, the tataki, the salmon skin salad, almost everything I've ordered has been delicious.
I feel your pain. I eat out on the average of almost 250 nights a year, and (until it closed) Place Yuu was without doubt my most frequented joint. Mori-san's matsutake dobin mushi at Place Yuu will be sorely missed.
In Little Tokyo, I like Aburiya Toranoko over Honda-ya. In the beach cities: Izakaya Bincho. Back on Sawtelle, don't forget about FuRaiBo. Skip Sasaya (on Santa Monica Blvd.). I haven't yet tried the latest incarnation of Raku (called Waraya), on the corner of Barrington & Olympic.
Washoku is a different style of Japanese cuisine, but worth mentioning, because Wakasan (on Westwood Blvd.) is still excellent at washoku.
Maybe it's just been my experiences there, but I think the food at Musha is a tad too "sweet" to my palate, for lack of a better word... I just don't share the unconditional love many other 'Hounds profess towards Musha.