BlaqHaus (North Hollywood, CA)

American, burger

Upon entering, found the concept/decor to be trendy/hip but lacked in potential due to the location of this eatery. Just wouldn’t picture a place like this in the area that its located in… would’ve been more fitting in the NoHo Arts District. 

As soon as we stepped in, we immediately noticed the layer of oil that covered the floor–similar to what one would find in the restaurant kitchen after hours of busy activity cooking up a storm. We assumed the same water was used to mop the dining area floor AFTER mopping the kitchen πŸ˜– While we were eating, we witnessed a patron slip but, fortunately, she didn’t fall. 

For the food… we were pleasantly surprised! Both of us got burgers–The Venus (vegetarian) and The Hangover (had fried egg and bacon, yum!). And both was accompanied by a side of fries and three different dipping sauces (uh, yes, please!). 

I loved how crispy the fries were, Eli thought they were slightly over cooked… choose your preference πŸ˜‹

I had gotten a Groupon voucher which made the experience okay. But don’t think I would go back to pay full price since our total came out to be almost $30 for just these two burgers that tasted good… just not THAT good. I would go back for the fries 🍟 though! Hehe πŸ˜‹


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 😬