Restaurant: Hakata Izakaya HERO
Location: 1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. (424) 832-3304
Date: November 19, 2021 & July 26, 2022
Cuisine: Japanese Izakaya
Rating: Very good Izakaya
At this quick little dinner right before Thanksgiving Paul and I hit up the relatively new Hakata Izakaya HERO on Westwood Blvd.
The inside is small.
But we sat outside on the patio. I love patios.
The varied little menu of Japanese comfort foods.
Paul brought: 2019 Xavier Monnot Meursault 1er Cru Charmes. VM 90-92. The 2019 Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru has a relatively understated and delicate bouquet, discreet compared to other Les Charmes this vintage. The palate is well balanced with just a little reduction at the moment. Good weight in the mouth, a tang of marmalade toward the finish and a little viscosity. Give this 2–3 years in bottle. (Drink between 2023-2035)
2017 Buisson-Charles Meursault 1er Cru Bouches-Chères. 93 points. Very good. very good balance. Minerals, fruit, medium to long finish.
Garlic Shisito Peppers. Nice.
Today’s Assorted Sashimi Special (for 2). A variety of nice fresh fish.
Marinated Sardine Sashimi. Very nice.
Cucumber with “death miso” — it was pretty spicy. Cucumber had a nice crunch.
Spicy Cold Tofu. Good, but the spicy miso had a fairly hefty kick and kept making me cough.
Spicy Agedashi Tofu. I love agedashi tofu (fried basically). This was good as usual.
Crispy Fried Chicken Gyoza. Classic little dumplings. Nice mix of soft and crispy.
Uni special. Just uni with shisto leaf.
Oyster sauce (basically a ponzu).
Shirako (cod sperm sacks). Really delicious!
Shrimp Tempura with Mayo. Sort of Japanese “Walnut Shrimp” — kinda awesome.
From my cellar: 2005 Bouchard Père et Fils Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Suchots. VM 93+. Bright, deep red. Pungent, sexy aromas of strawberry, raspberry, cocoa powder and incense. Wonderfully fresh and gripping wine whose sheer sappiness and extract suggest a long and graceful evolution in bottle. But this beauty is also impossibly sexy today. Finishes vibrant and very long, with palate-dusting fruits, minerals and spices.
From my cellar: 2009 Domaine René Leclerc Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaux St. Jacques. 91 points. Definitely Gevrey nose. Dark and red fruit, with slightly rusticity. Medium+ body. Long finish. Very good.
Jidori Chicken Karaage. Hard to go wrong with crispy fried chicken!
Pork Belly Wrapped Skewers. Lettuce, Tomato, Chinese Chive, Cilantro, Scallion.
Short Rib Kalbi Platter. Super tender and juicy beef with a sweet dashi sauce. Delicious.
Prime Outside Skirt Steak Harimi platter. Sizzling and very tender. Really nice.
Lemon Ramen. I’ve never had this and it was pretty much as described: a light shiro dashi style ramen with lemon. Kind of refreshing and delicious.
Overall, Hero was a nice little place with good food and a fun casual (lots of UCLA students) atmosphere. I’m glad there are more Izakaya’s opening up around town. It’s a great varied little cuisine and used to be quite rare (in the states).