Category Archives: *South Bay

Maruhide Uni Club 丸秀

2130 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Torrance, CA 90504

(310) 323-2864

http://www.yelp.com/biz/maruhide-uni-club-torrance

 

Maruhide Uni Club started as a store that sells uni (aka sea urchin)… many varieties of uni at that.  In order to introduce their uni to more customers, Maruhide Uni Club launched its restaurant business earlier this year, in May.  The restaurant is located in a small shopping plaza, across the way from Target.  Parking lot is a little small, so try your luck at street parking (shouldn’t be too hard to find) if the lot is full.  The restaurant itself is medium-sized, and we didn’t have much of a wait for a large party on a Saturday at noon.  However, it filled up pretty fast, and by the time we left, there were a few parties waiting.  So, best come earlier!

 

The store front

 

You can also buy the different uni choices to go!

 

From the store’s website — it’s the only factory-direct uni restaurant in the US! And now an omakase (chef’s choice) menu is offered, but must be reserved 7 days in advance.  Tempting…

 

   

The menu

 

The uni cream pasta —  one of my friends ordered this.  It tasted pretty good, there was a lot of uni and the pasta was relatively light.  However, if you like more uni flavor and stronger taste, go for the one at Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo.

 

The rest of us opted for the nigiyaka bowl – which is basically a chirashi bowl with lots of uni!  And it came with a small side salad…

 

And a bowl of broth, which had a sliver of uni…

 

And the nigiyaka bowl itself!  There’s scallops, salmon, salmon roe, albacore tuna, sea cucumber and 4 different types of uni (fresh uni, marinated uni with squid, salted uni, and uni omelette).  Everything was fresh and the portions were really generous.  I was pretty much uni-ed out by the end of the meal.  I think I definitely prefer fresh uni!  $19.80

I think the nigiyaka bowl is a really good chirashi bowl.  However, if I’m in the mood to just eat good uni, I’d opt for the uni bowl at Nozomi!

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Best restaurants in South Bay

Discover LA published its list of the best restaurants in South Bay and I think it’s a pretty good one (although with so many great restaurants in South Bay, I’m sure they missed some!):

http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/best-restaurants-south-bay-los-angeles?utm_source=DMC&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_content=GlESEEhBSlwLWXICWVURWEgHXl8=&utm_campaign=1057:dineLA%20Weekly%20Eblast

 

Here are my posts of the ones I’ve been to:

Al-Watan      http://wanderfoodie.com/2012/01/28/al-watan-halal-restaurant/

Eatalian Cafe:  http://wanderfoodie.com/2011/07/27/eatalian-cafe/

Nozomi:  http://wanderfoodie.com/2011/07/10/nozomi-望/

The Standing Room:  http://wanderfoodie.com/2013/02/25/the-standing-room/

 

I’ve been meaning to try Fishing with Dynamite and Little Sister, both in Manhattan Beach.  Has anyone been?  I haven’t heard of Coni’s Seafood or Mar’sel… I guess they’ll go on the to-eat list now!

Manhattan Beach Country Club – Terrace Dining

1330 Park View Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

(310) 546-5656

http://manhattancc.com/wine-and-dine/

http://www.yelp.com/biz/manhattan-country-club-manhattan-beach

 

I had no idea that the Manhattan Beach Country Club was so close by my work place, until one of my bosses happened to mention that she was a member there.  She plays tennis there, and one day suggested that we should go there for lunch.  So off we went!

 

The Country Club is kinda located in an obscure location, tucked away in the midst of the city.  It’s right by the 24 Hour Fitness on Rosecrans.  I think non-members can dine there, but don’t quote me on that — better call to check.  Many of the parking spots are designated especially for the club members, so beware where you park.  The Terrace Dining overlooks the center tennis courts – it’s entertaining to watch people play.  Terrace Dining is very relaxing, and you don’t feel like you’re in LA anymore.  🙂

 

This is the regular menu.  There is also an express menu for lunch which we opted for:  3 courses (appetizer, main and dessert) for $19.

 

Appetizer:  white bean stew with Italian sausage.  Mild flavor but tasty.

 

Complimentary pretzel bread – fresh and hot from the oven!  The bread was chewy and the crust wasn’t too hard.  Yum!

 

Pistachio-crusted salmon with a bed of parmesan risotto and grilled brussels sprouts.   The salmon was perfectly cooked and seasoned.  The pistachio gave the salmon a nice toasty nutty flavor.  The parmesan risotto was a bit citrusy, so it was a nice balance with the parmesan and not too rich.  Loved the brussels sprouts!

 

Vanilla bean gelato with a sugar cookie.  Need I say more?  What a nice ending to a great meal!

Sanuki no Sato

18206 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90248

(310) 324-9184

 

http://www.sanukinosato.com/en/index.html

http://www.yelp.com/biz/sanuki-no-sato-gardena

 

This place has been on my “To-Eat” list for a while now, since it has a lot of good reviews on Yelp.  Coincidentally, my boss had mentioned that she had good noodles around the area but couldn’t recall the name.  By my powers of deduction, I figured it must be Sanuki no Sato.  So off we went on a weekday for lunch.

 

The restaurant is in the same shopping center as Asa Ramen and Bonjour Bakery (both are really great btw), so parking can be a little tough at times.  The restaurant itself is pretty big, and has a few private rooms for large parties.  It was quite busy during lunch time but we didn’t have to wait.  Sanuki no Sato is well known for its noodles, so half of the menu is dedicated to hot and cold noodles.

 

The store front

 

The menu

 

Iced barley tea is served in place of water.  Mmmm…

 

Calamari salad is also on the lunch menu.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect… but it really is fried calamari on a salad. The calamari was light and crispy.  The dressing on the side was awesome – it was a wasabi in a ponzu/tangy type of sauce.  Yum!  $7

 

Nabeyaki udon was huge and did not disappoint.  It was loaded with veggies, seaweed, fishcake slices, egg, chicken and 2 large shrimp tempura on top.  The udon itself was soft and chewy.  The broth was light but flavorful.  Nabeyaki udon basically means udon in a hot iron pot, so the noodles and soup remains hot/warm for a while.  Sanuki no Sato’s version was really good… although I could’ve done without the chicken – just too many toppings!  $14

 

Kakiage udon – shrimp and burdock tempura fritters.  Two of the fritters come in an order.  The udon bowl is loaded with scallions/ green onions.  The kakiage itself was excellent – the natural flavors of the burdock and shrimp really shine through.  It was also light and crispy.  My boss loved it!  $12

 

I’ll be back to try some other noodle dishes!

Ko Ryo Jung Korean BBQ 高麗亭

1585 W Sepulveda Blvd
Ste N
Torrance, CA 90501

(310) 530-0025

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ko-ryo-jung-restaurant-torrance

 

Ko Ryo Jung is an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant in Torrance.  It’s located in the same strip mall as BCD Tofu House.  A friend had recommended this place for our gathering, but based on the Yelp ratings, I wasn’t expecting much.  However, I was pleasantly surprised, so don’t be fooled by the 3 star Yelp ratings!  It turned out to be one of the best Korean BBQs I’ve had in South Bay – I liked it better than Moon or Star BBQ.  Meat quality is good, there are a lot of side dishes to choose from, and even ice cream is included!!!  Parking is pretty easy to find, since it’s located in a large strip mall.  Service can be a little slow, so make sure you order a lot at once!  ^ ^

 

There is really no visible sign of the name of the restaurant in English, so just look for the “All You Can Eat” sign near one end of the strip mall!

 

The menu is pretty simple and has pictures of all that you can order.  I like how it’s in both Korean and English.  There are 2 all-you-can-eat options:  $17.99 and $22.99.  You get more premium meats and seafood with the more expensive option.  We went with the $17.99 option.

 

Ko Ryo Jung provides an assortment of side dishes, all of which are pretty good, ranging from the normal Korean kimchi, marinated bean sprouts, spicy pickled radish, salted veggies, potato salad, etc.  Ko Ryo Jung also provides pickled radish slices (pink and green) and rice paper for wrapping your cooked meats!

 

Condiments:  in addition to the normal sesame/salt sauce and the soy sauce with jalapenos, you can also request for the Korean soybean sauce (doenjang) and raw garlic & jalapenos.

 

Tofu stew is also included in the meal.  Pretty good flavor and not too spicy

 

Steamed egg – cooked with bits of scallions.  This was a little bland, so eat it with some sauce!

 

Bibimbap – this was pretty good and is included in the $17.99 AYCE

 

Black angus prime beef brisket  – the meat was really fresh and tasty!

 

Kobe beef short plate – this was also pretty good, it’s thicker sliced than the brisket.

 

Black angus marinated beef chuck flat – this was well marinated and the meat was tender!

 

Beef tongue – these were rather large slices, compared to other Korean BBQ joints.

 

Baby octopus – I didn’t try this but heard they were good

 

Assorted vegetables – just leave them on the grill until the kabocha squash has softened

 

The grill!  The server will come periodically to switch out the grill… you can request it too.  My favorite meat was the pork collar butt (on the left) – fresh and juicy, with the right amount of fattiness, hot off the grill!

 

The meal ends with ice cream!  And yes, you can request for seconds… it’s AYCE after all!!!  🙂

Otafuku

16525 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

http://www.yelp.com/biz/otafuku-noodle-house-gardena

 

Otafuku has been on my Yelp bookmark list for a few years, but with so many Japanese restaurants in the South Bay area, there’s simply too many choices that I didn’t have the chance to try it out until recently.  Boy, I didn’t know what I was missing!!!

First of all, it’s a little tricky to find the restaurant.  It’s very unassuming if you’re just driving on Western – it’s very easy to miss.  Trust your GPS.  There is a small parking lot in the back of the restaurant – by small, I mean, it’d be hard for full-size cars to get in and out of the spaces.  Street parking also seems pretty easy.  Also, the entrance to the restaurant is through the BACK!  Now once you’re in the restaurant, it’s actually pretty spacious inside… and looks like a modern Japanese diner, with an open kitchen.  Portions are generous, food is great and service is pretty fast.

The lunch menu is simple but really good value.  The dinner menu encompasses the lunch menu (although $3+ more per entree than the lunch price), and also has sushi and yakitori items.

 

 

The lunch menu is a good deal – on the front page, choose between cold or hot noodles.  If going with the cold noodle option, you get to choose between 4 different noodles.  Then, you choose between the type of ingredients in your noodle.  There’s also the option to add a mini shrimp tempura bowl for $3.50 or horse mackerel bowl for $4.

 

Flip over the menu, and you’ll see that Otafuku also offers rice dishes, sides and dessert.

 

The only condiments at the table are Chinese spices (left) and mountain peppers (right).

 

The horse mackerel bowl wasn’t at all what I had expected.  It’s slivers of raw horse mackerel with fresh sprouts, on a bed of warm rice.  The mackerel had a great al dente texture to it.  It was actually really fresh and refreshing.  $4

 

Cold seiru noodles (made from the heart of the buckwheat seed) with sea eel and vegetable tempura — mix the scallions and wasabi into the sauce, for dipping the cold noodles.  Sea eel seems to be the trendy tempura item of late – it actually tastes more like fish than the eel (unagi) that many of you have eaten.  The piece of sea eel was huge and perfectly fried; it was more than enough for 2 people.  The other tempura was good too.  I’ve never had seiru noodles before and had expected it to taste like soba noodles.  However, the texture more resembles rice vermicelli.  I’m not a big fan of rice vermicelli, so I will opt for the regular soba noodles next time.  $13.50

 

From the waitress’ recommendation, we also ordered the hot udon with fish cake tempura.  Do not let the name mislead you – it’s actually a large piece of fried shrimp and scallop goodness!!!  So yummy… and the hot udon with the broth was great too.  I think I’ve found my new favorite comfort food.  $10

 

Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden

1618 Cravens Ave
Torrance, CA 90510

(310) 328-1323

http://www.ichimiann.com

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ichimi-ann-bamboo-garden-torrance

 

I’ve heard lots of good things about Ichimi Ann – it’s one of the few places in LA which makes and serves fresh soba and udon.  According to Ichimi Ann’s website, the buckwheat and flour for the noodles are imported from Japan, and the noodles are made daily.  Ichimi Ann is a fairly small restaurant, with only a few tables.  Thankfully, service is fast so the wait for a table is not long.  It’s easy to find street parking in the area.  Ichimi Ann is CASH ONLY though, so make sure you come prepared!

 

From the restaurant’s official website, it looks like they also have a location in Rolling Hills, which specializes in tempura.  So I’ll give that a try soon!

 

There is no English sign for the restaurant, so here’s the signage to help you out  🙂

 

The menu – prices include tax.  Besides soba and udon noodles, Ichimi Ann also has different rice bowls (curry, unagi, chicken, etc).  Place and pay for your order first, before seating.  The server will then bring your order to your seat.

 

Besides table seating, there is also counter seating along the sides.  Condiments include soy sauce and shichimi seasoning (7-spices).  Water, ice barley tea and extra soba sauce are all self-serve near the cash register.

 

The una-toro soba (#20).  Soba noodles in hot broth, topped with grilled eel (unagi) and grated mountain yam.  The texture was really interesting – the soft soba noodles combined eaten with a bite of the rich unagi… and the mountain yam kind of melds the flavors together.  So good!  For those of you who have not tried mountain yam before, it’s a bit gooey and bland.  Ichimi Ann’s soba is lighter in color, compared to the soba that you buy at the stores.  The soba broth is light but has enough flavor.  Just a note – portion wise, it’s a bit small, so consider one of the rice dishes along with this!  $11.40

 

Kakiage soba (#11) – soba noodles in hot broth, topped with a fried shrimp, onions, seaweed and scallions.  I heard this was also pretty good, but again, portion size is a bit small.  $8.75

 

The noodles are served with red pickled cucumber.  It’s crunchy and a bit salty, typical of Japanese pickled vegetables.

 

Loved the soba noodles here.  Will be back to try the udon and rice dishes next!