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Eva Pascal | Oct 13, 200204:04 PM     7

Sawtelle Kitchen
2024 Sawtelle Blvd. (south of La Grange)
(a few blocks south of Santa Monica Blvd)
310-445-9288

BYOB
no reservations
Mastercard & VISA

I totally love this restaurant. Totally and completely.

Yesterday (Saturday) this was by far the most crowded place on its block in this rather Japanese district. We waited 25 minutes and it was worth every minute.

The menu seemed Japanese-y but not totally Japanese. Fusion? Most entrees $8-14, salads less than that. Appetizers $5-8.

I don't know if this makes it "California cuisine," but the kitchen certainly has mastered the techniques of using good ingredients and simple preparation.

The vegetables were particularly fantastic. We ordered two side dishes: [broiled?] green beans in citrus-soy sauce, and fried yams with plum mayonnaise on the side. If we'd known how sterling these were going to be, we might have just skipped the main courses (which, however, were also sterling).

We both got the red snapper for the main course. It was really mouth-watering, but had the misfortune to follow those gorgeous beans and yams.

The next table had the sense to bring in wine with them, and one of them was reminiscing about "the first time I tried sushi... it was with you, and Mark Mothersbaugh, and Bernie B___..."

The atmosphere was characteristically L.A. in the good way, by which I mean: stylish, up-to-date, but just as much airy, casual, relaxed. Impressive enough for a date, but not stuffy in the least.

Total including tip for two people (no wine): $47

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