On Thursday night a friend took us to Yabu, her favorite local Japanese izakaya place (izakaya means tavern in Japanese and the foods offered at such places are small plates to go with drinks, noodles, etc).
We had a bunch of plates to share: sauteed lotus root with a sweet sauce (I don't remember the exact name of this dish), white fish tempura, breaded and fried black pork with tonkatsu sauce, a sashimi platter.
The sashimi was just OK, but the rest of the dishes were incredibly delicious. The tempura was among the best I've ever had, in LA or Japan: tasty, dry breading, perfectly cooked. The pork and the lotus root dish were also excellent and beautifully presented. The sashimi was acceptable and we enjoyed it, but the slices of fish were not expertly cut (for example, the yellowtail and toro were cut very thickly and not elegantly. Thick can be fine, but it was a bit clumsily done).
We had some Kirin on tap and then sake. This place has a small but excellent selection of sakes. We finished the evening with some cold soba, which are made in the restaurant. The noodles were delicious, but after all the sake I couldn't say how they compare to noodles at other locations.
The service is great and the vibe of the place is very relaxed and friendly -- it reminded me of Japan. I will certainly be back for more. Make reservations if you go because the place is small and it fills up.
11820 W. Pico Blvd