Honda Ya Izakaya

Honda-Ya is located in the Little Tokyo Mall in Downtown Japan.  It’s a sad mall, with only a few saving graces such as Beard Papa’s and restaurants like Honda-Ya.  I like Japanese people.  I like Japanese cars.  I like Japanese food.  I don’t like how Japanese sit on the floor to eat.   I was reminded of this when we were seated in the tatami room on cushy pillows.  Maybe I would have been happier if my pants weren’t so damn tight.  No folks, I am not the fat ass you all think I am.  I’m just a trend follower and chose to wear the skinniest of skinny jeans this evening.    But I’m a trooper.  I suck it up when it comes to eating, or more like suck it in…

Yakitori

Big Head Talks A Lot and Lo-Ma Linda had been to the Honda-Ya in Tustin many times so I just let Big Head do the ordering.  We started off with some yakitori items, which for the most part were pretty standard in quality and flavor.  Nothing particularly knocked my socks off except for the chicken meatballs and maybe the bacon wrapped scallop.  I found them both really juicy and flavorful and wanted a whole stick of chicken meatballs as opposed to just one meatball for myself.  The corn gave some nice balance to all the protein.

Bacon wrapped asparagus (left to right)

Pork belly

Chicken meatballs

Chicken gizzard

Bacon wrapped scallop

Chicken wings

Corn

Beef

Agedashi Tofu

I wasn’t very impressed with the version here.  They were nice and crispy on the outside but the battered tofu didn’t absorb the sauce very well so on the whole tasted sort of bland.

Kara Age

Oooo, these were impressively tender and juicy, as well as piping hot.  They really hit the spot

Nasu Miso

I’ve tried to make this at home before, but of course it’s never been as tasty as the stuff at these yakitori places.  The miso was not overwhelming as in my version.  And the eggplant was tender while still retaining some texture.  We ordered a 2nd round of this dish.

Miso Black Cod

The cod was pretty tasty, but NOTHING will ever beat the miso black cod collar I had in Seattle.  Still, the fish had the expected sweet saltiness from the miso combined with a meaty hunk of fish.  I enjoyed it.

Nikujaga beef, potatoes, assorted vegetables

Lo-Ma Linda likes potatoes and she really liked this one.  I thought the meat was going to be the star and the potatoes and vegetables more of an accompaniment.   It was warm and comforting and the broth tasted clean and light.

Buta-Kaku soft pork with small side of boiled spinach

This was the pork stew I was looking for when we ordered the previous dish, but by the time this dish had arrived I was getting pretty full and all the fat was not looking appetizing.

Mackerel

I’m not sure if this was grilled or fried, but it tasted fried.  I’m not usually a fan of mackerel because it’s pretty fishy, but the fishiness actually worked here.  It was also surprisingly moist and juicy.  The edges were just lightly crispy.

Kimchi Ramen

Nothing too spectacular here, but it really rounded out and completed our meal.  Sometimes its hard to feel like you’ve had a complete meal when all you’ve eaten is a bunch of small plates of protein.  The ramen certainly cannot compare to some of the actual ramen houses, but it wasn’t horrible.

So we were all pretty full and decided to order this next time.  I’m pretty sure it will be dericious!

Paulette Macarons (top to bottom) rose, almond, chocolate, pistachio

Miss Rheeee bought some macarons from Paulette which was just downstairs.  Believe it or not, this was my first real macaron!  I actually don’t know what goes into a macaron, but I wasn’t really impressed.  I mean, the textures were nice.  Light crispy exterior with slight creaminess in the filling that’s not too sweet or heavy.  Overall it was delicate.  I just didn’t like the flavors.  Rose tasted like I was eating a perfumey flour.  Almond tasted like pure almond extract, a flavor I almost despise.  Chocolate was awesome because it tasted like a light brownie, uh WINNING!  Pistachio tasted weird.  Would I eat a macaron again?  Yes, but I would avoid most of the above flavors.

Honda Ya is a nice little joint in Little Tokyo, but it’s probably not the best place for izakaya.  Most dishes weren’t terrible impressive and I think I’ve had better.  But if you’re in the area, its a nice place to meet up with friends.  We came around 7-730 and it was empty, but when we left it was packed with a bit of a wait.

Honda Ya Izakaya

333 S Alameda
Ste 314

Los Angeles, CA 90013

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