Roger L. Simon

Happy Passover Japanese restaurant review

Since my house is filling with Passover aromas – Sheryl is a terrific cook and loves to experiment with all cuisines; this time obviously Jewish, both ashkenazi and sephardi – I have food on the brain. [Don’t you always?-ed.] So I thought I’d drop in this short review apropos my post below on the Italian election and Japanese and Italian cooking.

sugi.jpegThe other night, in the eternal search for the perfect sushi bar, we discovered Izayoi, a new placein LA’s Little Tokyo. It’s not a sushi bar really, though it has superb sushi – don’t miss the amberjack – but an izakaya. Those are the sake/small tastes hangouts that abound in Japanese cities. Locals know about them, but they are only just now beginning to appear in tour guides. At izakayas they cook practically everything you can imagine while serving a wide selection of cold sakes in those generous over-flowing glasses that seem to disappear as quickly as mineral water, down my throat anyway.

We sat at the bar, evidently a coveted spot, because you could see the sushi chef in front of you and just behind him a covey of other chefs and sous-chefs working on cooked foods. After a delectable order of nearly translucent needlefish sushi (new to me), we tried some of those cooked dishes including grilled black cod, mashed edamame in homemade tofu (outstanding) and something called Genghis Khan (a house special hot pot recommended by the Japanese-American guy sitting next to us). Total bill for three stayed south of a hundred dollars – though you could spend a lot more. Still, not a bad deal for the level of cooking. If you live in SoCal, it’s definitely vaut le detour. But get there early – it’s already popular.

Meanwhile, chez Simon/Longin we’re expecting nearly thirty people for our (super casual) Seder tonight, including several folks from Pajamas Media. We make up for our lack of religious observance with a generous supply of kosher wines. We have brought in vintages from the US, Australia, Italy, Chile and Israel for a full out kosher wine tasting. It’s not your grandmother’s Manschewitz (Sheryl’s using that for the haroset). I’ll let you know the results.

By the way, the photograph accompanying this post is not of a sushi chef, but of the late Chiune Sugihara, the so-called Japanese Schindler, a Japanese diplomat in Eastern Europe who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust at the beginning of World War II. Thank you, Chiune.