Japanese >Suehiro Cafe
337 E First St, Los Angeles, CA | Directions 9001234.049907 -118.239705
Neighborhoods: Civic Center / Little Tokyo, Central LA, Downtown
Hoseki no L.A!! – Ever been to the Land of the Rising Sun? Well I sure haven't, but after eating at Suehiro, in L.A's Little Tokyo, I felt like Japan was in my own back yard. Suehiro is a clean, friendly, family style hole in the wall eatery. Now, you might be thinking, "hole in the wall? Why the hell would I want to eat there?" You'd want to eat there, because despite being a hole in the wall, the food is delicious and its well worth every single red cent.
Suehiro offers typical Japanese comfort food at a great price and a served with a very grateful smile. When I was there, I had ordered the Okinomi Plate, which was priced at $9.60. I was able to choose from three different foods (chicken katsu, vegetable gyoza and lightly cooked spinach), that made up my meal and it was all conveniently served in a Japanese style plate compartment. I found the way it was served, was not so much kitschy, but rather familiar and homely like.
Being as it was my first stint to Little Tokyo, I was supremely overjoyed and I couldn't stop the smile that was creeping across my face. I felt like a kid in a candy store; (which I was when I stopped over at Fugetsu-Do, which is two doors down from Suehiro). I instinctively picked out Suehiro as the spot to eat and I'm glad I wasn't let down. Suehiro definitely did not disappoint. From the window one can see the appreciative "Okyaku-Sama's" post dinner drawings of anime characters, random kanji, and some other weird and grateful stuff on napkins and paper. Manga and magazines were stored on a bookshelf in case there are those that are made to wait.
Another reason I was so taken by Suehiro was because, when I had spoken the little Japanese that I do know to the wait staff, they didn't laugh, mock or even point fingers at me. They all responded back to me in Japanese and when I had went to the counter to ask for the check, my female server even said to me:"Anata Nihongo o hanashimasu ka?" I was thrilled to say the least. This was my first real conversation with a Japanese person. I simply bowed and replied with: "Chotto dake. Boku no Nihongo ga yoku hanashimasen." I immediately realized I said "boku" instead of "anata." She just gave me kind of a puzzled look and smiled and then said: "Boku? Besides that your Japanese is great!" What continued next was the handing over of the check, a series of bows (which felt quite natural) and onlookers staring at me.
All in all, my experience at Suehiro was quite pleasant and intriguing to say the least. I suggest that if anyone swings down to L.A, make sure to check out Suehiro. It will be well worth the trip and if your learning Japanese, it'll give you a chance to freshen up your skills or catch up on that chapter of "Yakitate!! Japan" that you missed. Then after you leave, you'll be greeted with a hearty "Iterrashai!" Which will definitely make you feel right at home. So, with all that being said, check out Suehiro. Its really Sugoi!!
Suehiro does not disappoint – Suehiro is essentially a diner with vinyl booths, be-aproned waitresses and simple, Japanese comfort food. It draws a loyal group--Little Tokyo locals, museum/Gallery Row patrons, artists from the loft districts nearby, and even the post bar-closing crowd (Suehiro is open until 1am during the week and until 3am on the weekends). There are usually one or two people waiting in front of the Please Wait to be Seated sign but tables turn quickly, there is often room at the bar, and the two servers regularly working are very fast, kind and accommodating.
Last night I ordered the Okonomi Plate ($9.60) which is served with rice and miso soup. With this dish one may select one item from three lists.
I chose the broiled Saba, shumai and cold tofu. It was presented on an actual compartmentalized cafeteria-like plate along with macaroni salad and a shredded cabbage salad.
The miso soup was very well executed with abura-age -- a nice surprise to the soft tofu one inherently finds in this dish. My Saba was a definite highlight, marinated in soy glaze and broiled masterly. I just love the saturated, crispy under skin paired up with a dollop of daikon. The cold tofu was exactly what one would expect and did not disappoint. I only craved a bit more saltiness in it, just some ponzu or soy. It's topped with grated ginger, green onion and bonito flakes. Simple. Absolute. The shumai was steamed superbly and very tender but was wholly unremarkable in my opinion. I found that adding a tiny drop of the extremely spicy mustard helped bring some intrigue to it. The two salads that accompany the meal are very strange, unexpected and fun. I am admittedly a big macaroni salad fan and somehow - in this wacky, little Japanese diner - this wacky little accoutrement is a faultless adornment in it's ideal place.
Suehiro has good food, a homey feel, solid service and amazing value.
Best diner in Little Tokyo – Suehiro is Little Tokyo's response to the typical diners that are patterned after Denny's, Mel's or the always overrated JFD. It's a cozy diner/cafe that delivers the nice comfort Japanese food at very reasonable prices. My normal order is a gyoza or nigiri appetizer with a bowl of Oyakodon (egg and chicken over rice). If you want a complete meal, choose from their list of combinations that include miso soup, salad and entree, and ice cream. For the udon fans, the Nabeyaki udon is great for nice hot noodle soup on a slightly cold Southern Cali evening. The only items I wouldn't order are the sushi/sashimi since this is a diner and not a sushi restaurant. Stick with the cooked dishes and you'll be good to go.
Got sick! – My friend has been coming here for decent cheap japanese food,it was my first time here and we got sick,hopefully it was a one time thing!
mmmm – Friendly smiling waitresses yummy udon soups in a classic diner atmosphere. Try the Okinomi plate with Ginger Beef, two eggs over easy and gyoza.
Little Tokyo diner draws an eclectic mix of museum patrons by day and local artists late at night. – In Short
A bookshelf bulges with comic books, and the walls are hung with neighborhood artists' work and posters for upcoming cultural events. Udon and soba noodle bowls are piled high with meat and vegetables, and bento box specials include tempura, meat cutlets and sashimi. Numerous side dish options include sake-soaked pickles and gyoza. Canned coffee from Japan and mochi ice cream, a small scoop covered in a powdery rice gum, are available for dessert.
Comfort Food Japanese Style – When ever I'm feeling done and out of my luck a katsudon from Suehiro Cafe always seems to make everything better. this restaurant has a very cozy and warm feel to it. The food and the excellent service always bring me back. late night eats from the far east at its best.
Late night eats - Cafeteria style – Flourescent lights, pletherette booths, counter dining. No frills here at this Little Tokyo staple. Hipsters, locals, Japanese families, large groups - no problem. What to order - house special (pepper / egglant miso coated tofu - vegetarian is better), any noodle soup or broth rice dish, the combo boxes - don't hesitate to ask for mochi instead of the house ice-cream. Service is smiley, but food comes slow, checks slower. But you can avoid this by asking for the check when the food arrives, or just communicating this wish to your server. A good place to eat off your possible DUI - but a lot of cops eat here, so beware!
A great Japanese diner – There's nothing better than pulling up on a Saturday afternoon and having a big bowl of steaming nabeyaki udon, topped with egg, spinach, and a fat tempura shrimp. Casual, unassuming, and economical. Good for kids and your Asian grandparents who complain too much.
Late night at Little Tokyo – Late night eats. Okay food. Lotsa locals and artists from the surrounding community.
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