Inspired by California-Mediterranean cuisines and farmers markets, I cook healthy, flavorful dishes that are easy-to-prepare yet elegant. I write for Zester Daily, One for the Table, Luxury Travel Magazine, Huffington Post & New York Daily News. My latest Amazon eCookbook is 10 Delicious Holiday Recipes. My handcrafted chocolates are available at www.dchocolates.com.
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Sunday, August 7, 2011
Yabu in West Los Angeles - Authentic Japanese
Living in Southern California, we enjoy rich ethnic diversity. Those of us who explore culture through cuisine are very happy about that.
Located in West Los Angeles, a good example of a neighborhood Japanese restaurant, Yabu (11820 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064; 310-473-9757) has a devoted following.
Because Yabu has a much larger, sister restaurant in West Hollywood, when you call to make a reservation, you will be asked to confirm that you want to eat at the Pico restaurant.
There are lots of chain restaurants with Japanese names, but Yabu is the real deal. The kitchen prepares authentic Japanese comfort food, not unlike what you would eat in Tokyo or Kyoto.
Serving lunch (Mon.-Sat.) and dinner (Mon.-Sun.), the restaurant is perfect to drop in for a quick bite at the sushi bar or with family and friends to hang out at one of the tables tucked into the corners of the room.
Order cups of hot green tea, ice cold bottles of Japanese beers or hot (or cold) sake and try out new dishes as you enjoy easy conversation and good food.
The sushi selections are always fresh and made with precision. Affordable—unless you go crazy—sushi and sashimi can be ordered individually or as combination platters.
The beef tataki, a Japanese version of carpaccio, and the albacore tuna tataki are especially tasty (our son Franklin's favorites). The ponzu dressing is spicy enough to bring out the best of both.
In no particular order, here are some of the dishes we order whenever we visit: fried tofu, stir-fried lotus root (kimpira renkon), edamame, ten don (tempura shrimp and vegetables over seasoned steamed rice), eggplant, spinach in a miso sauce, miso soup, shishito green peppers, black cod and soboro don (finely minced chicken cooked in a ginger soy sauce with a bit of heat and served over donburi rice).
Come at lunchtime and try the combination of noodle soup (soba or udon) and sushi. Affordable and freshly made, the soup is light and flavorful, the noodles chewy and delicious.
One of my favorites is the tempura udon. Inside the large bowl of soup are chewy udon noodles, slices of fish cake, vegetables and tempura. Ask for the vegetable and shrimp tempura on the side so they stay crisp and crunchy.
Yabu's tempura may be some of the best in Los Angeles. Light and fresh tasting, the shrimp, seaweed square, lotus root and sweet potato have their flavors enhanced, not overwhelmed, by the batter.
Everyone has his or her favorite sushi; mine are tamago (egg), baked crab in a hand roll (on the dinner specials menu) and spicy tuna.
For a small restaurant with a kitchen about the size of a Mini Cooper, you'll be surprised at the plentiful menu.
Make reservations by calling 310-473-9757 and be sure to mention you want to dine at the Pico location. Valet parking is available. Pay in cash and receive a 10 percent discount.