This week I decided to take a walk on the exotic side (actually, I drove and valeted) and visited the Japanese izakaya-style restaurant Robata JINYA (http://jinya-la.com/index.html) in West Hollywood. While I’ve dabbled in the occasional sushi bar, this is the first time I went full on Japanese and it rocked.
The evening began with a bowl of edamame which was tasty. There was a group of us and we shared our dishes which is definitely the way to go. If you don’t have any friends, no worries. They do take out. Just order a bunch of stuff and when you pick it up say: “Me and my friends—who, by the way, are completely real and not at all imaginary or blow up dolls—cannot wait to eat all of this wonderful food.”
|Brussel Sprouts Tempura with Truffle Oil. |
It's served on a little wooden box. How adorable is that?
Then the prime beef & garlic and the Japanese style crispy chicken “Karaage” arrived. The prime beef & garlic was served on a skewer. The beef was a little fatty and felt like having someone’s tongue in your mouth (which, depending on the situation, isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but tasted great. The crispy chicken was a little rubbery but it came with a dipping sauce I enjoyed.
|Prime Beef & Garlic|
|Japanese Style Crispy Chicken|
A tad rubbery.
Then I had balls. No, not those kind of balls (not that’s there’s anything wrong with that). It was a fried shrimp ball and a fried rice ball. I liked the breading of the rice ball but the rice itself was kind of bland. The fried shrimp ball, on the other hand, was excellent.
The highlight of the evening was the chashu pork. It is Kurosawa-rising-from-the-dead-to-slap-you-in-the-face amazing. It’s so juicy and tender that it practically melts the moment it becomes acquainted with your mouth. My friend was kind enough to let me have some of his but next visit this is going to be my appetizer, main course, and dessert. It is that good.
|The Chashu Pork melts in your mouth.|
In the sushi arena, I sampled another friend’s seared yellowtail sashimi. I removed the tiny piece of jalapeno on top (cause I can't handle the scorch) but still enjoyed the mild heat that remained.
|Seared Yellowtail Sashimi.|
The evening ended with a bowl of ramen. I got the Tokyo ramen with clear chicken broth, pork, red pepper, egg and tofu (which I let swim in the broth to its heart’s content because I’m not a fan). It's the perfect dish to warm your belly on a cold, winter’s night. Or, in the case of L.A., a warm winter’s night. No matter what the weather, it is total comfort food.
|Tokyo Ramen Bowl. Total comfort food.|
|Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen.|
Next time, I want to try the Tonkotsu Original ramen. It has pork broth, pork chashu, spinach, cabbage and green and friend onions. Maybe I’ll pair it with the chashu pork and make the night a total pork out.
The place has a cool décor. Any place that has not one but two displays of samurai armor earns points in my book. Because, let’s face it, samurais are awesome. It has a good vibe, albeit the night we went it was kind of noisy. But, hey, what are you? Eighty? If you are eighty, I meant no offense. Oh, and congratulations for living so long. Good stuff.
Grab your chopsticks and head on over to Robata JINYA. You won’t be sorry. I’ll be here waiting patiently for your doumo arigatou, Mr. Robiteo. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)