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Groovy Noodles 

Ebisu

Wednesday, Nov 1 2006
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How many new izakaya are there in Los Angeles? How many grains of sand lie upon Zuma Beach? Ebisu, named after the nightlife-intensive Tokyo neighborhood, is the newest restaurant from the people behind the splendid noodle shop Daikokuya, which introduced Little Tokyo to the pork-rich tonkotsu style of ramen. Like Daikokuya, Ebisu, fitted into the space that used to house the local Mandarin Deli, is nostalgically themed — suburban postwar, is my guess, with big fish on the walls, leatherette booths and a scattering of exotica that would look at home on the jacket of a Martin Denny album. For some reason, I kept thinking of late-’60s Marina del Rey, although I’m sure the designer is riffing on some classic Asagaya joint that the regulars could reference in a second. Unlike the rest of the izakaya in town at the moment, Ebisu is both huge and easy to get into on a weekend night, possibly because its menu of traditional Japanese appetizers, noodle soups and teriyaki dinners hews a little too close to the Japanese food you could actually taste in Little Tokyo in the Summer of Love, and possibly because it is too slick to appeal to the fans of Haru Ulala next door. 356 E. Second St., Little Tokyo, (213) 613-1644.

—Jonathan Gold

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