Last week my friend Jin opened a little restaurant with his parents on Sawtelle. It’s called Morinoya, a little hole in the wall in the Olympic Collection shopping center.
I was super jeallies when he first said that he’s opening a restaurant already, but, I couldn’t be for too long, cause friends don’t do that. So we went to the grand opening last week.
The goal of Morinoya is to be uber-Japanesey, with an emphasis on small plates that goes well with booze. Minimal fusion, but a little off-beat.
First off: on tap is the Tarunama lager from Asahi, imported from Japan. Good stuff. As much as I like craft beer, the Asian in me still enjoys uber-carbonated lagers.
With beer goes the “Must-have” Edamame (3.5).
They have a small oden menu with super clean broth. (shown: egg, 1.5 ea; konnyaku, 1.5)
And a small yakitori menu (shown: thigh/momo, 2; house tsukune, 2; gizzard/sunagimo, 2). Chicken is butchered in-house, soooo supple.
Albacore tataki (11).
Buta-shabu Salad (6.5). Poached pork slices on a bed of sliced white onions and greens. Wee bit spicy and crunchy. I want a ginormous bowl of this.
In lieu of the standard kakuni, they serve buta no arani (6.5). Bits and pieces of soft stewed piggy. Very nice.
Chicken karaage (5.5).
Ebi to Renkon no Mocchiriyaki (6). Basically a pancake, made with tiny shrimps and grated lotus root. This one is a must.
Geso no Surimi-age (5.5). Squid tentacles coated in ground shrimp batter, then deep fried. Yum.
We asked Jin, what’s your favorite sake on the menu? And he brought this. It’s on the dry side. I like.
Drinking on the job, tsk tsk.
We made fun of his snazzy Morinoya t-shirt. It feels really weird to be served by your friend at a restaurant.
Finished the meal with some carbs. I had the Inaniwa Udon (7).
Don had the Salmon Oni-Chazuke (7). Oni = onigiri, not demon.
Not nommed: sushi menu (Jin’s dad has always been a sushi chef), and mini hot-pots. There’s something for everybody, and the menu is a notch different from your standard izakaya fare. I don’t want to sound like a shill, but if you want to try out something authentic and not overplayed, I urge you to pay them a visit soon.
11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 210
Los Angeles, CA 90064