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Jun 12, 2012 12:02 AM

Hannosuke: A Tempura Specialist Stall in Mitsuwa

Location: Mar Vista/Santa Monica Mitsuwa Food Court on Centinela Ave.

Grand opening was today and the first 100 customers got a few tendon. Being I had the day off work I decided to waste my morning and early afternoon in line with the housewives, elderly, and enthusiasts.

There are only two options of tendon, one with anago and one with whitefish. They were only serving the pricier option today which was nice of them.

Overall I thought the food has the potential to be good but the problem was they only served the first 100 as takeout orders and packed the food into styrofoam boxes so I feel got soggy in there even for the 1 minute it was closed. Honestly I can't say I'm disappointed since it was free and it wasn't the best representation of the food but I do think it has potential to be very good. I'm hoping to go back soon and actually pay for it but I thought the anago which was the only thing that came out very crispy was fried perfectly but rather lacking in flavor, not worth the extra $3 over whitefish in my opinion.

The line:
The menu:
The food:

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  1. Nice report, Johnny L. At first I was, "I didn't realize they made tempura out of tendon..." then I realized my mistake. :-)

    Haven't been to Mitsuwa in a while, didn't realize this was opening in there. I'll have to go check it out sometime.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PeterCC

      I made the same mistake, as well.... ;)

      Wonder if it'll avoid the curse that has plagued all the other vendors who've moved into that specific spot in the food court. I've only been going to that Mitsuwa intermittently for the past few years, but it seems like all the vendors in that spot close down in a few months (to be fair, the food has been unremarkable....).

    2. I went today as well. got there just before 1:30. I was order 123, so I missed the free stuff. I had a similar experience with the tempura not being crisp or all that warm. Mine was not packed to go but in a bowl with rice and a side of Miso. The other thing to note is it took about :45 minutes to process my order and in that time they didn't process more that 20 others. The counter woman was very apologetic I expect it will get better and am heartened by the fact that Johnny's anago was at least crisp.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

        I saw that they were working in batches so if you were unlucky you might have gotten one of the last pieces to be served which meant it sat the longest probably why some of my items were of varying crunchiness. Also noticed they had temporary staff from Tsujita LA so I wonder what the connection is...

        Either way I'm not going to write them off yet.

      2. I was the lucky 100 yesterday too. I am surprised that they give out the pricier option too. I waited for about 50mins for my order. My number is 36 and I heard the Tsujita lady said they only have 66 bowls left (out of 100) when they started to give out the number.

        I am not complaining about the food since it's Free. But then I agree that I would not pay extra $4 for the anago. ($12.95 vs $8.95). Anyway, either $12.95 or $8.95, they give you a lot of tempura, which I think it worth it. I am surprised by the tempura soft boiled egg a lot (still raw). Brilliant idea.

        I may go back later for the dine-in option, I don't like the togo idea.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LAmaggie

          to go tempura is kind of a joke, as well as frying everything at once. True tempura is
          a much more refined experience.

          1. re: epop

            I have to agree. The half-life of tempura is pretty short. Once the dust settles, I'd like to try their food dine-in.

        2. I was there on Monday as well -- I got #45 and it was still almost an hour in line.

          I'll echo the others so far: Putting tempura in a box over steaming rice, even for the time it took to get from the counter, take it out of the bag, and open the container, was enough to take the edge off the crispiness that is the draw of good tempura. And I had them omit the soft-boiled egg that they make a big deal of explaining to mix with the rice. I'm too picky an eater to be satisfied with just the two options offered -- I was hoping for a variety of veggies along with the admittedly good portion of seafood.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nosh

            I got there after the free food was gone, got it in a bowl to eat there, and it was still pretty soggy. There was a huge line when I got in it, though after I ordered the crowd had really thinned out. I'd be willing to try it again in a couple of weeks to see if the wait time is improved and hopefully the batter is crunchier...

          2. Has anybody tried this after the grand opening? Midtown lunch has been raving about the tempura here. I need to know if I have to recruit a buddy to split tempura and ramen, I find it hard not to have Santouka if I make the trek out to Mitsuwa.

            11 Replies
            1. re: js76wisco

              Yes it is great. Their runny egg in the bowl really puts it over the top. Made to order and not sitting under a heat lamp. My orders came out very crispy and tasty, Two new items a vegetarian bowl & a shrimp bowl. Orders are taking around 10 minutes at dinner time.

              1. re: js76wisco

                I came here after all the mixed reviews. TenDon (tempura donburi, or tempura over rice) is a little different from having tempura separate from the rice. It will by its nature get soggier. I found it absolutely delicious and really worth coming for. It was great to watch the chefs fry everything right in front of you. By the way, this was a takeout order. Next time we will try it on site.

                1. re: Ogawak

                  Thanks for the reports. It sounds like a good addition to the food court. Will have to make a trip out there soon. I hope they put one in Costa Mesa.

                2. re: js76wisco

                  I'm there once every 2 weeks now. The food's better now than during their initial opening.


                  1. re: J.L.

                    You got me with this final post and we went last night. Probably got there a little after 7 PM. No line at all for Hannosuke and I ordered one shrimp bowl. I then went over to where I'd installed my son in the pretty long Santouka line and traded places so he could go get his food at one of the no line places. So I got one bowl of ramen with spicy miso ramen and the shrimp bowl that I shared with my wife.

                    I'll say that I'd go back for this again. It was quite good, if just not quite as crispy as I would have thought. Plenty of food for the $8.75 (that might be a little off as I wasn't paying strict attention to how much exactly the bowl was) and that soft egg is a brilliant addition to the don bowl. You get both the larger butterflied long shrimp (4 of these IIRC) as well as smaller round ones kind of clumped together in a batter ball. Plus the yam and something that looked like a shishito pepper done in tempura too, which was very good.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Is it any better than the solid shrimp tempura at Otafuku?

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Haven't tried it, but would certainly like to. It's outside out normal orbit, so it will have to wait until we are down there for some other purpose. Mitsuwa Mar Vista is about 5 minutes from our house.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          Not better.... but the tempura at Otafuku is epic. I still dream about their giant eel tempura... omg. But I wasn't expecting really that at Hannosuke, especially since it is essentially a fast food rice bowl.

                          Anyway, I managed a trip to try the new Shrimp bowl. and THANK YOU Joshekg for the suggestion of ordering sauce on the side...


                          Overall, I liked the shrimp bowl a lot better than the mixed bowl. It didn't feel so heavy and the tiny shrimp were cooked much better than those rubbery tiny scallops. Not my favorite shrimp tempura, which is R23, but NOTHING beats that egg... OMG...

                        2. re: Servorg

                          Thanks for reporting back!

                          I usually do the same mix-n-match at that Mitsuwa food court: Santouka & Hannosuke, all on one trip. Nice.

                          The shrimp bowl is a newer addition to the Hannosuke menu.

                          1. re: J.L.

                            JL. Get thee to I-naba and sit at the tempura bar. No soggy tempura there. It's a perfect summer lunch with some zaru soba.

                          2. re: Servorg

                            I order it with the sauce on the side and it comes out much crispier as it is not doused in sauce. No where near as good as Dote No Iseya in tokyo, but it will do for LA :-).