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Daichan review (long)

piyo | Dec 30, 2003 11:17 AM

My boyfriend and I were LA transplants to the Bay Area who have just recently moved back. And while I'm pretty familiar with the dining scene in SF, I realized LA lay before us a vast undiscovered land. It's daunting but exciting. My tastes run more chowhoundly than fine dining. He's not exactly what you would call a chowhound, though he's generally sympathetic to the cause ... unless he's really hungry.
In that spirit we visited Daichan last night. I realize I've so much to learn about Japanese! Unfortunately this didn't seem the place to begin that education. Now I really wanted to like this place with a name like "Daichan, Japanese Soul Food" plus it's only a couple of miles from my bf's place. The waitresses were lovely and helpful and the place is very cozy decorated with all kinds of Japanese knickknacks, wall hangings and adorable cut outs of drawings of the menu with helpful suggestions like "Salad Spaghetti: Order this if you are not very hungry." The menu is really large and everything looked so good. We settled on the saimin which is Hawaiian ramen, the tsukame chicken bowl and an order of spicy hot wings. The poster who posted the warning about Daichan's sauces being too sweet was right! The saimin was extremely thin wheat noodles in a sweet broth with a lot of veggies and nuggets of chicken. The broth was the kind that generally accompanies udon rather than ramen but perhaps that is the custom in Hawaii. The tsukame chicken bowl comes as a molded dome of chicken, egg and vegetables over rice in a cloyingly sweet brown sauce. The chicken and egg mixture was unflavored otherwise making this dish impossible to salvage. My bf got through half of it in a workmanlike way but eventually gave in and turned to my bowl of ramen. I can't remember the last time he couldn't get through what he had ordered. The chicken wings were nice typical broiled wings but with no hint of the spicy, garlic ginger glaze that was described. We also ordered tempura ice cream for dessert. The servings were all very generous and the total before tip was $25. Only a couple of tables were occupied when we arrived at 6:30 but it filled up while we ate. None of the patrons were japanese.

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