Finally went to Itacho last night after hearing and reading great things about it. It was so dull and middle-of-the-road that I couldn't understand what all the fuss is all about. We walked into a relatively empty restaurant at 7:00 PM, but by 7:30 there were lines of uber-hipsters out the door. The menu is very healthy, and I imagine that is part of the draw.
We started off with one glass (wooden box) or cold Ozeki sake (the cheapest in Japan) for $6. Then the lotus root sauteed in soy/sugar/mirin/red pepper- a very small bowl for about $5. Next came the seafood shumai (steamed 'dumplings' although they were small round things, smaller than a golf ball)- three of them for $6.50.....insane. Next came the tofu salad, which was basically lettuce, seaweed, cubes of tofu and one tomato soaked in a bland soy dressing, the grilled saba which was very well done but again, nothing special (just throw in on a grill and sprinkle salt). We finished with the poached whitefish with cabbage and chrysanthemum leaves with a ponzu dipping sauce and some unagi in teriyaki. All fine- nothing tasted bad and all were prepared with fresh ingredients, but you could whip up this entire meal in about 15 minutes (minus the $2-a-pop shumai) and $7.00. Total bill (that's ONE cup of sake total) $70.00 with tip.
Maybe it is because I grew up eating Japanese food, but these dishes are all standard, quick meal type of plates. Just basic staples in the Japanese household. Anyway, I won't be returning....the Sake House on La Brea has a way better vibe (very Shinjuku izakaya-ish) and has a great variety, including Ishiyaki Bi Bim Bap (i know it's korean but very popular in Japan) made in the authentic red hot stone bowl, Japanese tapas like takoyaki, as well as dishes which have gained popularity among the younger generation in Japan- like mochi-cheese or naan pizza. Overall, a much better value and more fun too!
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