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Best Japanese in San Gabriel Valley?

c
chowchow12345678 Sep 12, 2012 10:00 AM

Looking for good non-sushi type of Japanese food in SGV. Not looking for ramen, we already have our favorite spots for that.

  1. ClarissaW May 20, 2013 07:50 PM

    Wonderful Restaurant on New Ave (it's secretly Taiwanese, but the Japanese selections are great)

    3 Replies
    1. re: ClarissaW
      J.L. May 20, 2013 08:21 PM

      So don't hold out on us! What's this wonderful restaurant called?!

      And while you're at it - Who's on first? :-)

      1. re: J.L.
        j
        Johnny L May 21, 2013 11:06 PM

        It's called Wonderful Restaurant, something only a Chinese/Taiwanese person would do.

        1. re: Johnny L
          J.L. May 22, 2013 01:12 AM

          I know. (Just being facetious...)

    2. TonyC Sep 13, 2012 04:52 PM

      Wait, no like likes Musha in Old Town?

      11 Replies
      1. re: TonyC
        n
        ns1 Sep 13, 2012 04:56 PM

        Who refers to Pasadena as SGV? Unless there's a Musha in "Old Town Alhambra" that I'm missing.

        1. re: ns1
          b
          Bradbury Sep 13, 2012 08:14 PM

          Musha Pasadena just isn't, IMHO, at the level of Musha Torrance (or Oto-Oto or SSG, for that matter.) But yes, Pasadena is geographically in the SGV, except perhaps for the bit of it west of the Arroyo Seco...

          1. re: ns1
            e
            Ernie Sep 14, 2012 07:14 AM

            Pasadena is certainly in the San Gabriel Valley. Who told you otherwise?

            1. re: Ernie
              n
              ns1 Sep 14, 2012 09:37 AM

              nobody ever told me one way or another

              1. re: Ernie
                j
                Johnny L Sep 14, 2012 12:21 PM

                Geographically yes, but culturally no. It's the last bastion of Caucasians in the SGV.

                1. re: Johnny L
                  raytamsgv Sep 14, 2012 12:42 PM

                  Don't forget Monrovia and South Pasadena.

                  1. re: raytamsgv
                    e
                    Ernie Sep 14, 2012 12:52 PM

                    Or Glendora, Sierra Madre, Bradbury, etc.

                    1. re: raytamsgv
                      Savour May 20, 2013 12:30 PM

                      You people haven't spent much time recently in Pasadena, Monrovia or South Pas, have you? There are pretty big Asian populations in all of those cities (and in Pasadena, especially, large Latino and Black populations as well.) It's not as Asian-dominant as Monterey Park or Alhambra, but they're hardly caucasian enclaves.

                      That said, I like Musha, too. But I haven't been to the one in Torrance.

                      1. re: Savour
                        d
                        dreamcast18 May 21, 2013 12:38 PM

                        really??! I find the food at Musha extremely mediocre. Even by the Torrance main branch standards.

                        1. re: dreamcast18
                          Savour May 21, 2013 01:06 PM

                          What Japanese izakaya food is better in the area? I don't frequent izakayas often, and I've only eaten at Musha once, but we enjoyed it.

                          1. re: Savour
                            j
                            Johnny L May 21, 2013 11:06 PM

                            Oto Oto in Monrovia is not bad and Hinotori has better small plates than yakitori.

            2. b
              Bradbury Sep 13, 2012 04:37 PM

              After a few months spent getting their act together, Oto-Oto has really been hitting it out of the park lately. It's good that you're not specifically looking for sushi, because while their sushi is competent, it's not really their specialty, nor as it as good as, say, Ishi in Pasadena.

              Their izakaya dishes, though, are wonderful, especially the house special tofu (imagine a sort of soft tofu mozarella, with an addictive smoky/funky/sweet dipping sauce), the goma-ae, the tongue demi-glace, and anything pickled ... recently I tried a miso-pickled ginger that had a sort of pleasantly weird "fizzy umami" that reminded me of that bean sprout banchan dish at Seongbukdong.

              Clearly their cash cows are sushi and booze, but they seem to put a bit more love into the oddball dishes. So look over the regular and daily special menus, order the stuff that sounds the weirdest, and enjoy.

              1. o
                Ogawak Sep 12, 2012 01:47 PM

                Matsuri on Green and Wilson, although they do have a decent sushi bar.

                1. c
                  crystaw Sep 12, 2012 11:30 AM

                  For izakaya, there's Oto Oto in Monrovia, HInotori in Arcadia, and Shinsengumi in Monterey Park.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: crystaw
                    n
                    ns1 Sep 12, 2012 01:53 PM

                    +1 on SSG

                    1. re: ns1
                      TonyC Sep 12, 2012 03:33 PM

                      +2 on SSG.

                      And Daikokuya.

                      1. re: TonyC
                        Mr Taster Sep 12, 2012 06:37 PM

                        Is the Monterey Park Daikokuya better than the downtown outpost?

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster
                          j
                          Johnny L Sep 13, 2012 02:16 AM

                          Nope probably worse.

                          I do recommend:
                          Oto Oto (just don't get their yakitori everything else is good)
                          Hinotori (their chicken skewers are decent but non chicken stuff is great, and non skewered food is all good)
                          SSG as well, never had a bad meal there.

                          1. re: Johnny L
                            TonyC Sep 13, 2012 09:19 AM

                            Nope probably worse.
                            ===========
                            caveat: this is a man who detests Daikokuya. I find the food basically the same, with a much shorter wait, which makes the restaurant much better.

                            1. re: Johnny L
                              Mr Taster Sep 13, 2012 09:40 AM

                              > Nope probably worse.

                              Probably? Have you actually eaten the food there, or are you making unfounded guesses?

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                j
                                Johnny L Sep 14, 2012 12:20 PM

                                I've eaten there several times, but I haven't been back to the Little Tokyo location in a while due to the stupid long wait times for mediocre ramen so that's why I can't say for sure it is worse than the original. Last time I went to the MPK location I found the ramen very passable especially now that we have several better options in the SGV.

                          2. re: TonyC
                            o
                            odub May 20, 2013 12:20 AM

                            Let me +3 on SSG. I can't believe I hadn't noticed they had opened their MP outpost until this past week but my wife (JA) and I had long complained that when we moved from the Westside to SGV, we gained in Chinese but lost in Japanese and then we went to SSG in MP and suddenly felt a lot better.

                            When we lived Westside, SSG's ramen and yakitori spots in Gardena were a frequent destination so to have an expanded izakaya-style SSG out here, literally less than 5 miles from where we live, is awesome.

                            We had a great meal there this past Tuesday, including with their premium uni, grilled squid, the special chicken wing, as well as their normal offerings, like the bacon-wrapped shiso leaf, which is like crack on a stick.

                            1. re: odub
                              TonyC May 20, 2013 03:59 PM

                              "We gained in Chinese but lost in Japanese."

                              This is interesting, considering MPK used to be large Japanese enclave, even before Gardena, as one local old-timer told me. There was once a JA friendship association (or some other diplomatic association or another) in Montebello, and MPK still has quite a few extremely old (by SGV standards) Japanese restaurants. Shinano has been open since 1977, and Shina No Yoru's ABC license goes back to 1994. The MPK Cherry Blossom festival is in its 16th year: http://ci.monterey-park.ca.us/index.a...

                              Glad you found respite from all the tiring Chinese food, though. To counter the food euphoria you had after SSG, try Open Door that's kitty corner across. It may make you wish you never moved.

                              1. re: TonyC
                                e
                                Ernie May 20, 2013 06:06 PM

                                Yes, this is true. My family has been in MPK for several generations and remember the old Japanese families. There were a couple nurseries in the area that were Japanese-owned too.

                                1. re: TonyC
                                  o
                                  odub May 20, 2013 08:46 PM

                                  TonyC: Ha, all I saw was "truffle tater tots" and that was enough of a red flag. I find all these "Asian fusion" spots out in the SGV to be interesting but haven't eaten at enough of them (not that I'd want to) to figure out who their core demo is. I don't think it's my parents' generation...I'm not even sure it's MY generation (I'm 40) though I suspect it's more aimed at 2nd gens like myself.

                                  And my wife actually has cousins and aunts/uncles in MPK who've been there for decades. But the Japanese food out here that caters to them is like...Yama. Definitely not some Sawtelle-level grub which is what we like.

                        2. ipsedixit Sep 12, 2012 10:52 AM

                          Masacasa (pasadena)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            c
                            chowchow12345678 Sep 12, 2012 11:23 AM

                            The one on Colorado? I think it closed.

                            1. re: chowchow12345678
                              ipsedixit Sep 12, 2012 11:35 AM

                              Really? I was just there recently.

                              And there Facebook page still looks up to date.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                c
                                chowchow12345678 Sep 12, 2012 11:43 AM

                                Hmm, could you give me their address?

                                1. re: chowchow12345678
                                  ipsedixit Sep 12, 2012 11:52 AM

                                  Here's their facebook page

                                  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Masacas...

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    c
                                    chowchow12345678 Sep 12, 2012 12:02 PM

                                    Oh, they're in Eagle Rock, you had mentioned Pasadena earlier. Thanks!

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