Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
46: Edomae Tendon Bowl at Hannosuke.
The saying goes that good tempura should last about as long as a snowball in August (or September, if you happen to be caught in a late-season heat wave). It should be eaten immediately, in other words, so as to preserve its crispy architecture before it starts to sink like soggy newspaper.
Before it closed early this past year (and was replaced by Ramen Hayatemaru), the best place for tempura in Los Angeles was Komatsu, which specialized in a tempura made to order at the bar, sizzling jagged-edged pieces of seafood spread onto sheets of parchment paper the moment that they rose from the fryer. There were even cute little bowls of sea salt flavored with matcha and yuzu to sprinkle on top of fried strips of cuttlefish or fat Japanese plums.
Since then, searching for a tempura specialist has been tough (though Torrance's I-naba isn't a bad substitute). Tempura is an art form — as much as you can call deep-frying anything an art form — that is overlooked in most restaurants.
But then comes Hannosuke, the new kid in the Mitsuwa Marketplace food court on Venice Blvd., which specializes in tendon (a portmanteau for tempura donburi, or tempura over rice). We might be getting that lovin' feeling once more.
Hannouke's tempura is fried to order in a big steel pan you can see through kitchen's bubble-shaped window. Fried eel, a soft-boiled egg, shrimp, sweet potato, nori, a shishito pepper, and a kakiage of shrimp and scallop all get a dip in batter and a swim in bubbling oil until they develop a beautifully golden and crunchy outer shell. Everything is piled onto a mound of rice drizzled with dashi, mirin, and soy sauce. The egg is pierced and the gooey yolk dribbles down over the rice. Just make sure to eat it quickly — which shouldn't be too difficult a task.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
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