Encouraged by the LA Times article about Japanese restaurants in the Torrance area whose link I've attached, I went to Otafuku. It's the sort of place you really want to like -- not a fancy strip-mall Japanese restaurant but a tiny family place in an old building at Western and 166th.
And I'm sad to say, I just didn't get it. They have a very small menu, basically noodles and tempura. So I got hot udon and eel tempura. The udon was perfectly ordinary, but you have to like udon a lot there because you can't get much of anything in it. The LA Times promotes the broth, which was okay but not worth a trip. The tempura was not very good at all. It was a good-sized slab of eel, but it was greasy as heck, and rather than giving a clear sense of eel it was just vaguely fishy. I went away feeling physically a little gross.
The people are super-friendly, but almost to the point where it was odd. Maybe it's just a cultural thing -- I've never been to Japan and cannot claim any deep attunement to the complicated interactional rituals. But if something's happening here, I'm missing it.
Does anyone have deep knowledge of Japanese noodles that might help me appreciate a place like Otafuku more completely?