Mon Ramen (Woodland Hills, CA)

japanese, noodles, ramen, sushi

Hmm… I was hoping for at least a minimum from interior and food πŸ˜”

Went on a warm day and upon stepping in, it was already stuffy due to the cooking–needs better ventilation. And it’s kind of plain and blah inside. Missing decor to personalize the place πŸ˜‘ More effort would be good.


As for the food, got their Spicy Tan Tan Men combo’ed w/ Spicy Tuna Roll. The BF got the Miso Chashu Ramen. 

Spicy Tuna Roll – um, they weren’t shaped as rolls; think they might have been training somebody or were having technical difficulties…? Had a couple friends who mentioned they could’ve done a better job at home (not pro chefs). And a few gave those glances as to say “Huh?? Hmm… Okay, then…” 😐


Spicy Tan Tan Men – the broth was not as thick as I prefer but that’s my own preference. Broth flavoring could be more flavorful. Had to add soy sauce to it. The presentation wasn’t that nice, unfortunately πŸ˜•


Miso Chashu Ramen – the BF said it was good. It had more flavor than the Tan Tan Men but looked less appetizing than my ramen 😳

Overall, I won’t be coming back here anytime soon (if at all). I always hope for tasty dishes w/ nice interior decor (adds to the experience); and this place did not match either criteria 😞 With the availability of other ramen houses that are more pleasant to sit in, and where the dishes are enjoyable and tasty; this place isn’t worth the price–prices are in the same range as the better ones. 

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Izakaya Bar Hanbay (Torrance, CA)

asian, japanese, sushi

Was fortunate to have been invited with a group of other diners for a tasting event. 
Interior/decor was nice and typical of what one would find in a typical Japanese restaurant. 

First dish presented was the Assorted Sashimi…


Sashimi was tasty! A little surprised that ginger had to be requested… Oh, well… 

What I really enjoyed about this plate was the presentation–especially the ice bowl in the middle… So creative! 

Daikon Salad–pretty simple and straightforward with the addition of daikon. The dressing was kind of like a homemade vinaigrette, but needed a bit more acidity to balance it out. Could see this being ordered more during summer months since it’s refreshing. 


Dashimaki… Rolled up egg omelet. I was pleasantly surprised by this one; wasn’t expecting much at all. Turned out to be tasty as to get 2nd helpings! 😁 Didn’t care too much for the side of daikon that it came with; I’m fine just how the omelet was. 


Kushi Age… Assorted tempura skewers. Though tempura doesn’t have too much flavoring normally, this one was particularly bland; even with the tempura sauce. One of my least fave dishes. 


Tonteki… Pork steak. Got one of the end pieces and it was juicy but on the fatty side–if you don’t mind that, the end pieces will be your fave (except for the fact that there’s only 2 pieces πŸ˜‘). The rest was on the salty side and a bit dry. Rice would be a good complement. 


Cold Soba comes with a dipping sauce. Please note the word “dipping”–yes, I almost poured the sauce all over till a diner caught me right before while I had the uncertain look on my face, haha! Though this doesn’t look like much, it was yummy! I’m not much into cold noodles, but this was good! What’s also neat about their soba is that it’s freshly made in-house… That’s probably makes it so good πŸ˜€ Must try!!


Hot Soba… Soothing broth and noodles, can you really go wrong?? 😜 Actually, you can… But that’s not the case w/ this one! 😁 Similar to the cold soba, this doesn’t have much to it but it was good nonetheless. I prefer thicker broths but this did well for what it was πŸ™‚ I imagine eating this in replace of rice with other dishes. 


Green Tea CrΓ¨me BrΓ»lΓ©e… What’s always good w/crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e in general is that it’s not too heavy (but still creamy) and not too sweet. And you gotta love that crispy top layer! πŸ˜‹ I enjoyed how this was not overly flavored. Sometimes when green tea flavoring is added, it can get overboard. Not this, though! Another must-try!


Lychee Sorbet… Nice presentation… But could have done without it. Just slightly too sweet (the syrupy tasting kind of sweet). Kind of reminds me of the lychee I would eat out of a can–not necessarily bad, just not preferred. But if you’re a lover of lychee in all forms, definitely order! 

In the end…
This place has more going for it than not. The sashimi and noodles were my faves for this trip! 

Next time, I would order the fried kimchi–they were frying some when we were there but didn’t get the chance to order, smelled tasty! So, if you try it, let me know how it is 😬

Sushi Planet (Woodland Hills/Calabasas, CA)

sushi

  
Oh, boy… 

This was such a big disappointment πŸ˜”

I saw this place advertising on FB, promoting their happy hour πŸ˜’ Got there and learned real quick their HH is (to put it kindly) uninteresting. 

  
Immediately, food items on the HH menu were “eh.” I figured, at least I might get a decent drink, one of their sake martinis… My hope was short-lived–they were out of ALL the flavors! Really?? πŸ˜‘ Server, then, recommended a whole bottle of sake… Um, I just wanted 1 drink 😳 On top of that, he stood there… Waiting… Till Eli decided on beer and me on plain ol’ water. 

  
At this point, I’m just looking for something even just ‘okay.’ Got it with the gyoza! Yes! Score!! Mind you, it was typical–nothing to ‘ooh’ or ‘ahh’ about, just glad to get something that wasn’t a let-down. I think I even have the same ones at home, that I bought from Trader Joe’s. 

  

Baked Salmon Roll… I don’t even know what to say anymore… Small, nothing like the menu picture, and not that tasty… At this point, I really wished we had picked some place else to go. But (!) still had an inkling of hope left that the other roll we ordered would make-up for this one! 

  
And… It just got worse πŸ˜«πŸ˜–πŸ˜€ This Tropicana Roll costed $13!!! Can’t really tell from the picture here; but it was tiny, falling apart, and was limp (if that makes sense).

Keep in mind that this is obviously MY opinion and is because I’ve experienced much better sushi at the same price point. If I’ve never had good sushi before, this might have been okay; but I would’ve grown up and learned real soon considering there’s a plethora of sushi joints. 

When the bill came…

  
We were no longer disheartened by the experience, we were now frustrated-though the whole bill wasn’t that much, it is too much for what we received in terms of quality! 

We will definitely not be returning! These are one of the few experiences that makes me hesitate to try new places; but, in the end, at least we can appreciate more of the other awesome places we’ve been. 

PS… We should’ve been suspicious when I heard most of the staff speaking Thai πŸ˜•