"Domo arigato" to the Hounds (dailygluttony, jaydee, to name a couple) who have written up this place before. Went twice last week.
Located at the food-dense intersection of 2nd and Central. Directly next to that weird techno-thumping lounge, bright lights flashing in an empty room, the entire patronage out on the sidewalk smoking cigarettes.
Menu is vast, changing everyday. Everything from Philadelphia and Dragon Rolls for Uncle Charley from Duluth, to conch sashimi and hamachi with natto for Uncle Ryusuke from Yokohoma.
With exception to the broiled mackerel (overcooked and dry), everything sampled was outstanding, namely:
Buta Kakuni---slab of pig belly in sweetened shoyu. Everyone at table fights over it. Only available on first visit.
Whole Soft-Shelled Crab---big, expertly deep-fried, lots of flavorful "kani miso" inside. Only available on second visit.
Tsukune---this is "Everyman" stuff, but they really do it right here. Nice and crispy on the outside.
Kaki Furai---large oysters, again deep-fried with a light touch. The guys working the fryer in the back know their stuff. Do these guys moonlight at Harold and Belle's?
Short Ribs in Miso---phenomenally tender and delicious. Ordered twice in same sitting.
Very reasonable prices. Service is prompt, if a little klutzy, and the woman who runs the place is awesome---mid-fifties, swilling beer, hammering open conch shells with Zen-like placidity. You go, girl...
IMPORTANT TIP: Daily specials are plastered haphazardly on the walls throughout the joint. In between orders of food, take a quick walk around and make sure you read everything. Had I not visited the restroom mid-meal, I would have missed out on a some delicious sardines with cod roe.
Haru-Ulala (alternately, Haru-Urara)
368 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012