Fiery small plate eats – Izakaya style!

I think Los Angeles has moved on from food trucks to the land of small plates. I admit I have a love/hate feeling about small plates. On one hand, you get to sample many different types of dishes you wouldn’t otherwise get to taste with just one main dish but on the other hand, it can get really expensive. The great thing about LA is that there are many different types of small plate restaurants – not just your typical Spanish tapas.

I ended up splurging on some grub with my friend Leah at Musha in Santa Monica. Musha serves up quality Japanese tapas like a good izakaya. For those in LA, they have two locations – one in Torrance in a strip mall and another just around the corner from the bustling 3rd Street Promenade. What I love about this place is the casual and cozy atmosphere, affordable prices, and of course the good food. We ate a lot but below are the highlights from the meal.

Musha is known for their risotto that they make in a massive cheese wedge at your table – yes, I’m serious. But this time we decided to go with a more “hot” theme… like this broiled marinated mackerel sashimi (below) and the shichirin grill (photos at very end).

First up… the mackerel. They bring the marinated (and raw) mackerel out then torch it right in front of you! Yes, torch!

So above is the before picture and below is the final product. It kind of reminds me of a lightsaber heating up dinner.

Wow, this tasted amazing! Slightly vinegary because of the marination that leave your tongue wanting bite after bite and a nice crisp skin left from the torch.

We also had the lobster roll which was damn tasty. It had nice thick chunks of lobster that had a nice buttery taste to it.

But my highlight was the shichirin griller. This thing is awesome – I told the server I wanted this mini grill next to my bed so I could go to bed BBQ-ing and wake up BBQ-ing.

We ordered the saikoro steak which is a bit pricey ($16.95) but the quality of the meat is really good. It comes with two dipping sauces and some vegetables to grill too. Enough talk, here’s what I’m talking about…

Be sure to trim any excess fat from the meat before you put it on the grill or the drippings can end up as a fiery flare like the photo below. Don’t worry, no one was harmed during this eating adventure.

As you can see, small plate dinners can be fun… just watch that pocketbook because it can get a bit spendy. Can’t wait for my next izakaya experience… I’m already making lists of what I want to eat next time.

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