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Restaurants & Bars 3

Lunch at Izayoi (Sushi Ryo incarnation) review

yokozuna | Jun 9, 200505:53 AM

Went to Izayoi on Monday for lunch to check it out.

I've never been to Sushi Ryo and heard many good things about Junichi's skills.

They opened June 1st. They are open for lunch only M-F from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm.

I believe they will open for dinner once they get their beer/wine license.

Since it is supposed to be an izakaya where it is a Japanese style tavern to drink while you eat, some Japanese customers might be upset with them not serving alcohol. In the japanese character (kanji) of izakaya is a symbol for sake.

The sushi bar is small with a 5 foot display counter and seats 7 people.

I was hoping to try some of the Izakaya dishes, but the menu was limited to lunch sets and sushi a la carte.

The menu had your standard lunch sets, sushi plate, chirashi plate, sashimi plate, chicken teriyaki plate, tempura plate, broiled fish plate, japanese beef steak plate. Very similar to Sushi Gen's menu.

We ordered two bento lunch boxes available to the first 20 customers. $9.50 We also ordered some sushi a la carte.

Came with salad, miso soup and rice. The bento had thin sashimi slices of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail, tempura (1pc shrimp, 1pc shishito pepper, 1 pc whitefish, 1pc vegetable I don't remember), hijiki (soy marinated black seaweed), 2 chunks of broiled tuna (tasted like albacore) that was cooked in soy sauce (not a sweet marinade) and chawanmushi (steamed egg custard).

Sashimi was good. The tempura was average, I'm not sure if it was the batter or the cooking technique. Chawanmushi was flavorless. Hijiki was decent although it had less salt then other places. Indifferent on the broiled tuna, would have been better if it was saba (mackerel).

The best part of the bento was the garden salad that came with it. Mixed greens, kaiware (radish sprouts), tomatoes in a japanese dressing. Miso soup was good too. The rice was average and I've had higher quality elsewhere.

On to the sushi, we shared 1 order of maguro, hamachi, kohada, kanpachi, and an eel avocado roll.

Unfortunately they did not have kanpachi that day.

I could tell the expertise in the cutting of the fish as the fish was very tender. The fish was fresh and had good texture. This was true in the maguro and hamachi.

I was a little disappointed in the shari (sushi rice). For my tastes, the rice did not have enough vinegar. Also the rice was a little too soft, I like my sushi rice to be a little al dente.

This could be the style of Jun as the kohada (gizzard shad) which is flavored with vinegar and salt lacked the vinegar as well.

I will give Izayoi another shot when they open for dinner and maybe try them for lunch again in a couple of weeks.

In opening up any new location, it's not going to be smooth sailing in the first month or so.

Service is friendly and competent.

This area is going to be very competitive for sushi.

Within 3 blocks of this location are 4 of the top 20 places in LA for sushi. Sushi Gen, R23, Sushi Go 55, and Hamakawa. Zip Fusion is in this area too, but I consider them a notch below the four.

On Central Steet between 1st and 2nd streets. Next to Quiznos in the Starbucks/Office Depot location in Little Tokyo.

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