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SAVORY REVIEWS: IZAKAYA SASAYA

Mandi Mikasa headshot

Mandi Mikasa  

Jul 28 2023
Izakaya Sasaya

Date of Visit:
Oct 4 2022

Address:
11613 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025  

Price:
$$

Cuisine:
Japanese

Attire:
Casual

Izakaya Sasaya

Date of Visit:
Oct 4 2022

Address:
11613 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025  

Price:
$$

Cuisine:
Japanese

Attire:
Casual

Reviewing Izakaya Sasaya: Traditional Japanese izakaya and udon in Los Angeles.

Tsukune Skewers, Izakaya Sasaya, Los Angeles
Tsukune Skewers (Izakaya Sasaya, Los Angeles)

My cousin and I have a tradition where we try new sushi restaurants for a dinner outing once a month. For this month’s outing, we chose Izakaya Sasaya on Santa Monica Blvd. I have been to another Izakaya Sasaya location, but never this one. Upon walking in, we were shocked by how much more casual it was than the other locations. There were several people standing in line to pick up their to-go orders. I think the majority of them were third-party delivery service employees. We seated ourselves and were surprised to find an iPad device propped to the side above the table to take our order. While this concept may seem quicker than personal service, it was actually the opposite because the iPad was pretty slow and glitchy. Post-COVID, I miss personal interactions, especially in restaurants, so I was a bit bummed to find out we had to order through the iPad at Izakaya Sasaya. Also, you must pay ahead of time, which was inconvenient considering we wanted to add to our order, and so had to create a whole second paycheck. 

To start, we ordered two skewers of the Tsukune, which is a Jidori Chicken Meatball. These were extremely flavorful.  The sauce on it was perfect. This dish was definitely a good start, and it turned out to be my favorite of the entire meal! We then got eel hand rolls, which were good but not amazing. There were not enough ingredients (eel specifically) in this handroll to make it seem worth the price.

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno Peppers and Ponzu Sauce, Izakaya Sasaya, Los Angeles
Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno Peppers and Ponzu Sauce (Izakaya Sasaya, Los Angeles)

However, the shiso inside the hand roll gave it such a unique flavor and freshness that I was okay with the lack of eel. We then ordered the yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño peppers and ponzu sauce. This was served on top of a bed of wakame (seaweed), which I thought was really tasty and really brought the dish together. We then got blue crab handrolls, which were really tasty, but again nothing out of the ordinary that wowed me, unfortunately. The spicy tuna handroll was definitely the best of the handrolls. It was packed with spicy tuna and just made me feel like each bite was worth the price. Lastly, for dessert, we tried the black sesame mont blanc, which was filled with cream and wrapped in a black sesame cream layer. We also tried the hojicha pudding, which was my favorite of the two dessert items we ordered. The texture was perfect, and it was the perfect amount of sweetness. 

To be honest, Izakaya Sasaya was a bit understaffed, which was reflected in the service. Even with the online ordering system, it was hard to get a waiter’s attention, even for a glass of water and more napkins. The ambiance of the place is definitely a more laid-back vibe, with a lot of takeout orders and walk-in parties. I am not sure I could justify spending the amount of money we did to go to Izakaya Sasaya another time. However, the Jidori chicken meatballs might just get a takeout order at some point!  

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