Friday, September 19, 2008

Izayoi in My Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo has become my backyard. I eat there at least once a week, sometimes more. I go there simply to drink on a fairly regular basis as well. I have some favorites, and am nothing if not consistent in terms of where I like to eat. But after having heard rumblings about Izayoi on Chowhound, I had to give this a whirl, especially since it is reported to be fairly inexpensive.

We started with the obligatory eda mame. I love it when I can see the crunchy salt crystals.

I ordered a small plate of monkfish liver in a pool of ponzu. For the price (I think $6.50) this was an amazingly large portion. Impressive and delicious. I adore the silkiness and the mild flavor of monkfish liver.

I also ordered up the broiled sea bass. I don't know what they put on the outside of sea bass and cod before broiling that makes it sticky and slightly sweet, but this was perfect and gone in about 2 minutes.

D had his stand by, spicy tuna cut roll. He said it was great, not too spicy and without any of the creaminess one sometimes gets in a spicy tuna roll. Succeed.

We picked at bacon wrapped cherry tomatoes. The bacon was not cooked enough. It was soft and hard to chew. But the bacon flavored tomatoes were great, once they were unwrapped. This was the only fail of the evening.

Lobster tempura. D made a sprint for this dish. Served with wasabi aoili, which was nice, D love love loved this. I found the tempura process negated too much of the lobster flavor. But one cannot argue with love. It is subjective.

With apologies for the above photo, I must say that the scallop and mushroom saute was amazing. It was prepared with lots of butter, garlic and parsley, served sizzling on a hot plate. The preparation reminds me of escargot. But the flavors of the various mushrooms pop out more strongly against the butter and garlic than snail does. (And thankfully so, on the part of snail. Have you ever heard anyone say what they love about escargot is the flavor of the snail?)

This cod was served in a light broth, accessorized by snow peas, carrots and eggplant. Simple and lovely.

Even though I was full, I could not resist the miso marinated pork belly. And...zomg. Wonderful, fatty, miso-y, slightly chewy decadence.

So beautiful, I had to share two pics.

The final dish we shared was clams steamed in sake. The broth was heavenly. Words cannot describe. I drank my broth. Drank.


Anonymous said...

OMG, I didn' realize this was your blog from today! I am from DC and in town for the weekend and was looking for a great Japanese place - not so much sushi. So thank you so much for your review. We just finished a fab meal at Izayoi. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to others too. Terrific food, good service and the prices were lower than they probably should have been.

But I do have a request for you. I was making plans to return on Sun nt before my trip home and as we were leaving I noticed that the restaurant is closed on Sunday. Needless to say I am devestated. So can you pls help this east coaster and give me a recommendation of someplace else to try for Sunday nt? Again, more tradtional Japanese and less sushi would be ideal. And someplace in little Tokyo would be great since we're staying nearby. I will be forever in your debt. And if you make it to DC you can count on me to give you plenty of recommendations. Arrigoto!

Food, she thought. said...


Two other favorites are Haru Ulala, also izakaya in Little Tokyo, same corner as Izayoi. Grittier than Izayoi but lively and delicious. Ita Cho is also good Japanese, but on the corner of Beverly & La Brea. I also like the Japanese/continental fusion of Tapas & Wine Bar C, but it's a quirky little place, and not for everyone. Check it out on Chowhound or Yelp for an understanding of its idiosyncracies.

Marie said...

I've never tried monkfish liver, but have been wanting to do so... just haven't found the right (meaning CHEAP, but still tasty) place yet. I will have to check out Izayoi!