Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wako Donkasu

2904 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

(213) 387-9256

 
 
 
I first heard about Wako Donkasu when my sister told me that there’s a place in LA, where you can grind up your own sesame sauce for the tonkatsu, just like in Japan.  So I couldn’t pass it up. Tonkatsu / donkasu is the Japanese / Korean word for fried pork chop.  Those of you who aren’t into pork, there’s also chicken cutlet, fish and steak (all of which are fried in the breaded batter).  There are two Wako Donkasu locations, both of which are downtown.  I’ve only been to the Olympic location and it was relatively easy to find parking.  The restaurant itself is able to accommodate large parties, and is nicely decorated inside.
 
The tonkatsu portions here are pretty big and juicy – just the way I like it!  And I like that you can grind up your own sesame to make your own sauce.  The more sesame the better for my tonkatsu!  Prices range from $10-12 for tonkatsu, and two dollars more for the combos.
 
The store front
 
 
 
Grind up your sesame first, in the mortar and pestle.  Add your desired amount of sesame
 
Then add in the tonkatsu sauce and mix!
 
The meal also comes with some banchan – spicy radish and jalapenos
 
The tonkatsu meal comes with miso soup, cabbage salad and rice  $9.95
 
The highlight – the tonkatsu is crunchy, juicy and there wasn’t too much breading.  Yum!  Especially with the sauce!
 
For those of you who are big eaters, the combo is the way to go!  The udon combo with the katsu is only $12.95!  It comes with the tonkatsu, 1 fried shrimp, potato croquette, and the huge bowl of udon.
 

Bouchon

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

(310) 271-9910

 
 
I finally had the chance to try out Bouchon recently, to see what the hype is all about.  I still have to go back to try the famous fried chicken dinner nights – that’ll be one day soon!
 
Bouchon is in Beverly Hills, right next to Hotel Montage.  If you’re going for lunch, it’s 2 hours free parking.  Other wise, it’s $5 flat fee after 6pm.  It was a little confusing to get to the restaurant.  First you take an elevator from the parking garage to the ground level.  Then, walk across the courtyard, and take another elevator (next to the Bouchon Bakery), to get to the actual restaurant.
 
Bouchon hails itself as a French bistro, but it’s actually pretty fancy inside.  However, the restaurant does try to live up to the bistro-ness, by having menus that were unusual, with the daily specials listed on boards on the walls.
 
The menu
 
 
The freshly baked bread & excellent butter – compliments of the house
 
 
Pistachios also came with the bread
 
 
We selected a few starters.  This is the escargot – it’s a bit unusual from the normal presentation, since it’s escargot on puff pastry.  But it works! The escargot is red wine braised with garlic butter.  Yummmm…  $18
 
 
Another starter – salmon tartar with eggs and capers  This came with crouton bread.  We loved the colors, but it was a bit hard to scoop up the salmon and eggs, to spread it on the bread.  Great texture though!  $16.50
 
 
Duck salad – crispy duck skin with arugala and pear.  Pretty refreshing, although there’s not much duck skin. $16
 
 
Thon a la Nicoise – big eye tuna with new crop potatoes, lettuce and hard boiled egg.  The tuna was delish!  $38
 
 
Truite Amandine – Idaho trout with almonds    The trout was really fresh and the almonds greatly complimented the fish.  Mmm…$27.50
 
 
Gigot d’Agneau – roasted leg of lamb with crispy polenta and corn succotash.  I had a bite of this and thought it was only ok.  $33
 
 
No trip to a French bistro is complete without steak frites.  The steak was gooood!  $37
 
 
We also ordered dessert.  The lemon tart was really tangy!  But it was refreshing, to end the meal.  $9.50
 
 
The pot the creme didn’t look like much, but the taste blew us all away.  Rich creamy vanilla goodness, yum!  The accompanying cookies were good too.  $9

Mountain

15460 S Western Ave
Ste 101
Gardena, CA 90247

(310) 327-8494

http://www.yelp.com/biz/mountain-gardena

 

Mountain is a Korean diner, located in the same center as Furaibo and Boiling Point in Gardena. The original Mountain is in K-town, which I haven’t tried, and according to the Yelp reviews, is supposed to be very good. The one in Gardena offers a lot of selection, ranging from sahm-geh-tahng (whole chicken in soup), to soon tofu, to spicy rice cakes, seafood pancakes, etc. Parking is pretty easy in the plaza and there’s usually no wait at the restaurant. The waitresses there speak English; I even heard one of them speaking Japanese on my last visit! Mountain is a great choice if you’re craving Korean food in South Bay.

 

Mountain provides six different banchans when you order. There’s the usual kimchi, spicy radish and bean sprouts. There’s usually also a small pancake dish of some sort, sweet braised beef, and a marinated sweet radish. All of them are pretty good, in my opinion. The sweet braised beef definitely takes some getting used to though. It really is sweet!

 

Instructions on how to eat the sahm-geh-tahng

 

The sahm-geh-tahng is boiling hot when it arrives at the table. Be careful!!!

 

The chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, date and garlic. The garlic has been cooked down for so long that it just melts in your mouth! The chicken is really tender. The chicken and soup is not seasoned, so add salt and pepper to your liking. $10.65

 

Tukboki + goon mandoo – spicy rice cake with fried dumplings. The dumplings were crispy with lots of filling inside. The rice and fish cakes were spicy enough to get a good sweat going. Excellent beer chaser! $12.95

 

Kimchi jiggae – you can add this to the spicy rice cake + dumpling dish for an extra $2. Great kimchi flavor! Yep, it’s served in the same size bowl as soon tofu.

 

Soon tofu – I forgot which one my friend ordered, but she said it was pretty good. Around $8

 

Galbi dol-soht-bibimbob – bibimbob in a hot stone pot. When it arrives, just add in the red spicy sauce to your liking, stir then eat! This one was pretty good, with lots of veggies! $10.95

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The documentary about the 86 year old sushi chef, whose restaurant is rated with 3 Michelin stars, is finally available on Netflix!!!  It’s well worth a watch – sushi making is such an art!   The documentary also covers a lot about the traditions and Japanese culture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiro_Dreams_of_Sushi