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Restaurants & Bars 4


Eric Archer | Feb 3, 200409:31 PM

I have been a big fan of this place for the last five years or so, and it has seemingly been awhile since there's been a post on it, so a quick heads up...

Nanbankan, located on Santa Monica Blvd. just West of the 405 freeway, is a Japanese BBQ house, similar to yakitori joints. Saddle up to the bar that surrounds the cooking area, and watch the two cooks grill up everything from beef kababs to giant clams.

(Note: This place is best to visit in smaller groups. Table seating is available, but is a hassle for groups more than 4/6 people. Sitting at the bar is a MUST.)

All meals start with a plate of fresh, raw vegetables and a miso dipping sauce (yum). From there, the menu offers a copious amount of grilled veggies, meats and seafood. You order by the item. If you are foolish enough, you can order stuff like tempura and sashimi, which are all fine, but why bother at a place like this?

Of particular note are the following:

ALL THINGS CHICKEN---white/dark meat, meatballs, livers, hearts. They do it all, and they are all delectable.
BEEF KEBABS---melt in your mouth tender
SQUID---Both the tentacles and the body. The torso is particularly recommended.
"MAKI" TYPE VEGGIESs---okra, asparagus, shishito peppers, all wrapped in bacon and grilled. Absolutely heavenly.
HALIBUT/CHILEAN SEA BASS---they seem to switch these around sometimes, but whatever fish they grill is outstanding.
AUSTRALIAN LAMB CHOPS---they don't have this all the time, but when they do, it's a requisite order.
YAKI-ONIGIRI---triangular rice balls filled with your choice of salmon, umeboshi (pickled plums) or tarako (a sort of roe). Grilled until they are crispy brown on the outside, warm, soft, and salty on the inside

Just went, after a long dearth of visits, last Sunday night. The place was as good as ever. 3 people, about twelve rounds of grilled goodies, two tempura orders (for my tempura-crazy buddy---these orders were entree-sized), large sake, two beers, about $150.

I always leave this place happy...

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