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Sawtelle-igence briefing: eastsider crosses western curtain

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Sawtelle-igence briefing: eastsider crosses western curtain

Rafi | Jan 30, 2002 07:16 PM

Okay so even if the awful truth is that I have some roots on the westside, every year I become more and more stuck in my Silverlake ways. It's gotten so that it's like crossing an...ocean just to get to the ocean...or something like that. Aside from the occasional Barny Greengrass brunch (aka shoppping expedition) I'll seldom go as far west as Bev Hills and NEVER further. Until now. Or rather the last three weeks. Regular Wednesday appointments on Sawtelle have (re)opened the western world to me -- at least this one little Japanese sliver of it. How long have these restaurants been there? It seems like they've all opened up in the time since my last visit to Sasabune (almost two yrs ago.) I KNOW that the trendy-vintage-anime-Tokyo-cool shops that I keep bleeding money in weren't there in the past... What gives? I'm beginning to think maybe civilization doesn't end at La Brea after all....

This then is my report after three sessions/lunches:

Yuuki -- checked in on this casual ole style Japanese establishment after reading Leslie's recommendation on this board. My feeling: a great value. I ordered the $10 sashimi bento box lunch which was as generous and multi-coursed as Leslie described. I especially liked the miso soup for some reason. It had an unusual smoky quality, and the fish stock really stood out. I also enjoyed the sukiyaki -- a dish I hadn't eaten since childhood. The sashimi was slightly sub-par but decent for the price (I make it a rule not to order sashimi in cheap restaurants on the theory the the fish won't be good but I always break this rule because I like sashimi so much). Next time I'll have better sense and order terriyaki...

FuRaiBo -- a friend had been raving about the Little Tokyo branch of this Japanese chain -- there's also one in Gardena -- so I invited her to join me at the Sawtelle venue. (Funny, she wound up paying.) FuRaiBo specializes in chicken wings -- or teba sake as these are called. I'm not normally a big wing-man (although I used to go to Ye Rustic for their finger lickin hot wings) but these were pretty darn tasty. Crispy yet dry. The sign of good frying. We ordered extra spicy and they were definitely spicy, although not blistering. Worth checking out. Good food for beer, natch.

Asahi Ramen -- this was today's lunch. I chose a simple bowl of miso ramen that came with half hardboiled egg and slices of roast pork. Totally satisfying. And, at under five bucks, a bargain. But not exceptional. I take it Ramen-ya is the better option in the area?

So that brings us to next week and the following weeks. Based on my readings here I'm anxious to try Sawtelle Kitchen, Hide Sushi, Shabu Shabu, that no-name numerical restaurant, and that Japo-Italian place that is called... Blue Marlin? Any others that you guys want to suggest? Any idea for how to order my Sawtelle expeditions -- by geography? by palate? by cost?

Thanks in advance to all my spies on the other side!

Rafi

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