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Week in Reviews: Robata-Ya, Kogi Korean BBQ Truck, Drago Centro, Kura Thai and More Elsewhere

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Today S. Irene Virbila instructs her readers on the art of robata and Sawtelle's vibe with a visit to Robata-Ya, the most traditional restaurant for Mako Tanaka, who owns Mako in Bev Hills and partnered with Luau. Maybe the Miss Irene audience doesn't do the West LA nabe too much, so the review sounds more like a primer: There are noodle houses and shabu-shabu, and you'll be offered chicken hearts with or without aortas, but go ahead, give it a shot; you'll feel safe here.

"I love the urban feeling of this stretch of Sawtelle. Pedestrians in a hurry crisscross the street. Someone shouts to a friend waiting for him on the corner. Groups of college students congregate in tea houses and boba parlors. Robata-Ya isn't as basic -- or as inexpensive -- as most of the other places. But the cooking is more polished and the physical space more curated. It isn't as loud either, which means you can have a conversation with friends instead of yelling at them."
There's izakaya-style dishes and grilled robata specialties, plus a little sushi thrown in for good measure. For her money: Stick with robata, but don't be swayed by the kobe-wrapped foie. Robata-ya gets one-and-a-half stars. Today the "S." stands for "skewers." [LAT; photo from Thrillist]

ELSEWHERE: The bloggers, they love the Kogi Korean BBQ truck; Exilekiss was at the new Drago Centro; Eating L.A. at Kura Thai; Food Marathon on burger marathon; LA & OC Foodventures tried the Stimulus menu at Citrus at Social; Potatomato had giant pancakes at John O'Groats; and Grubtrotters discovered the joys of Gjelina.

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