Sometimes, “tempura” is just another way to say “we deep-fry everything.” That's the situation at the OG Tempura Truck (@ogtempura), where crisp apple rounds, delicate squash blossoms, tough hunks of flank steak marinated in sake and miso, turkey wrapped in bacon and, of course, the standard lineup of vegetables and shrimp get the hot oil treatment.
The tempura batter is good, a bit on the chewy side and best eaten the moment it passes through the service window and into your hands. It's a bit too greasy and doesn't reach the crystalline brilliance of the best tempura we've had, which is like a miniature corral reef popping in your mouth, but it's far better than street tempura has a right to be. (Street tempura, who would have conceived such a thing just a few years ago? Not even in Tokyo, let alone Los Angeles.) Actually, it's better than the tempura at several Japanese-ish restaurants we've tried. For $9, you get a heaping basket of shrimp, onions, broccoli, broccoli, sweet potato and more.
The OG Tempura Truck continues the deep-fry madness with dessert. The apples are pleasant, though two of the six slices you get are plenty. It's the malasadas that stand out. Their take on the Portuguese donut is nothing like the dainty nuggets we've sometimes seen or even the heartier mid-size version. These sweet buns are as big as the biggest raised donut but as dense as an entire loaf of bread and sugar-coated within a millimeter of their lives. You get two for $5 and you should probably split them, with three other people. What a way to celebrate National Donut Day.