Ask Mr. Gold: Finding Okonomiyaki in Lomita
the invisible restaurant critic
Dear Mr. Gold:
I had okonomiyaki in Hiroshima a few years ago. It's a stand-alone wonderful hangover food, and I'd imagine it's even pretty great with high-quality ingredients. Any recommendations to find this treat in Los Angeles?
--Scott Cody, via Facebook
Dear Mr. Cody:
There is a lot of okonomiyaki in Los Angeles, at every izakaya probably, but few of them are good, or even close to it. I'm probably as fond of the dish as you are, but I can't believe how many awful versions of this seemingly simple Japanese pancake there seem to be. Eggs, flour, seafood, nori, fluttering shavings of planed bonito -- there's not much to the dish. So I keep going back to GaJa, a tabletop grill in Lomita, where you can get the Osaka style (eggs and noodles and pork and onions and whatever fried together as a mass) and the Hiroshima style, which is more like a loose omelet. They'll fry it in the kitchen for you, but most people cook it themselves on the tabletop grills. Do I have to tell you to visit Chantilly in the same mini-mall afterwards? Not if you are also hungry for black-sesame cream puffs.
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