Location: 16525 S Western Ave. Gardena, CA 90247. (310) 532-9348
Date: June 21, 2019
Cuisine: Japanese Izakaya / Tempura / Noodles
Rating: Great noodles and tempura
Asian Food Friday (AFF) is another of my fun food “groups” — composed of a bunch of Santa Monica guys that on certain Friday’s set out in search of great Asian eats.
This time we headed off to Otafuku, recommended as one of the best soba and tempura places in LA — located in Gardena Little Japan. You enter through the less than glamorous back.
It’s really an Izakaya, they have a lot of sochu on the wall and a very drinking friendly menu.
Very casual small interior. Really nice staff.
Pickled Vegetables. Japanese love pickles. Several radishes, Japanese Mountain Yam, cucumber, carrot, etc. Nice complex vinegar flavor. Good crunch.
Japanese Omelet (tamago). Really nice savory omelet. Great fluffy texture.
Small horse mackerel with fresh vegetable bowl. Very fresh mackerel, not at all fishy, with a good bit of ginger and various veggies.
Delicious Small Tuna Bowl. Just straight up tuna sashimi.
Fishcake Tempura. A battered chopped shrimp and scallop with assorted vegetable tempuras. This was the best “tempura mixto” I’ve had — and I always get it. Lots of tender shrimp and scallops in here. Perfectly crispy light breading.
Sea Eel Tempura. Extremely “Big” sea eel tempura which is “absolutely unique” (with a few assorted vegetables). I’ve actually had eel tempura several times, but this was light and fabulous. Hannosuke has a somewhat similar eel. Not sure if it’s exactly the same type.
Shrimp Tempura. Black tiger shrimps with some assorted vegetable tempura. Excellent. Classic.
Vegetable Tempura. Shitake mushroom, red pepper, onion, asparagus, perrilla, enoki, sweet potato, Japanese Squash etc. I like the perrilla (shiso?).
Broiled chicken leg. Really nice dark meat.
Stir fried Kurobuta pork with ginger soy sauce. Like a pork version of the meat that goes in a beef udon bowl — delicious.
The pork came with miso soup.
Special Seiro Soba (cold). Specialty soba which is quite thin white noodle made of a mixture of special white buckwheat flour. The difference from the Zaru is used on heart of soba seeds. It’s that special! Really nice light noodles. These were served with a bowl of noodle sauce I forgot to photo, plus some chopped green onions and wasabi.
Kikouchi (cold). Dark brown noodle made of 100% buckwheat flour. Gluten free. Really great buckwheat noodles! These are also dipped into the dipping sauce.
At the end they bring this broth you can add to the dipping sauce to drink it like a soup. Very nice too.
Curry Udon. Great curry udon. Chicken, onions and curry. Lighter and more complex than most curry udons.
I brought some of my gelato too:
Arancia Crema Fiorentina Zabaione — Marsala Orange Vanilla Zabaione base with Orange Variegate — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — Very close to the oldest gelato flavor!! — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #orange #Zabaione #CremaFiorentina
Salted Caramel Chocolate — House-made salted caramel forms the core of this base which then is layered with house-made Valrhona dark chocolate ganache and Valrhona milk chocolate chips — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — my best salted caramel yet — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #caramel #chocolate #Valrhona #ganache
The owner loved my gelato so much they brought us free this fabulous flan with dark caramel. Really nice custard with a perfect creamy texture and contrasting caramel.
Overall, this was a great place. On the border of sketchy neighborhood wise, and very hole-in-the-wall, but super nice staff and really great food. Everything we had was quite good, particularly the tempura and noodles.