Carbonara ramen, yuzu-spiked crab Benedict and more Japanese-influenced dishes to try in The Golden State
There’s no shortage of Japanese restaurants in California, from strip-mall sushi joints to bustling izakayas. But the recent wave of openings in Los Angeles and San Francisco are definitely worth a visit. Take Echo Park’s Japanese-influenced Insta-ready sandwich shop Konbi (1463 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 213-278-0007; konbila.com). Every bold-faced name in food media, from The New York Times California restaurant critic Tejal Rao to Esquire food editor Jeff Gordinier, has made the pilgrimage to sample its crisp pork katsu and egg salad on Bub and Grandma’s milk bread. (Actors Elijah Wood and Eric Andre have also been spotted at the 10-seat counter.) Across town at Blackship (8512 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-734-7553; blackshipla.com), former Hinoki & the Bird sous chef Keiichi Kurobe offers a Japanese-Italian mashup with a California sensibility: Think carbonara ramen with Kurobuta chashu and egg yolk served in a modern dining room with a kooky Far East-meets-nautical theme. At Asahiru (1325 Ninth Ave., S.F., 415-731-2658) in the Inner Sunset, partners Alex Tao and head chef Hiroaki Makiyama serve Japanese-inflected spins on American brunch classics, such as soft-shell crab Benedict with yuzu-spiked hollandaise and shiso leaf. And in Japantown, the team behind popular omakase sushi restaurant Hinata has opened (22 Peace Plaza, Ste. 530, S.F., 415-683-9674; sasasf.com), offering a Japanese brunch by day and a kaiseki menu that goes beyond sushi (with dishes like tea-braised octopus) by night.
Written by KAREN PALMER.