Other than the modern udon dishes at Marugame Monzo which "miss the point," Jonathan Gold is a fan of the recently launched Little Tokyo eatery, singing words of praise for its Japanese, udon-centric fare:
There is cold Asahi on tap and a stunningly good appetizer of tempura-fried chicken skin. The raw, sliced Hokkaido scallops with tiny flying fish roe are delicious. The grilled chicken breast with buttery grated ginger is among the better chicken dishes in Little Tokyo.
But like a fine violin, the udon is merely a vehicle for the purpose to which it is put — not even a Stradivarius can make a Miley Cyrus ballad sound musical. When served as austere zaru udon, cold, with a dipping sauce of soy, broth and grated radish, Monzo's noodles taste most strongly of themselves, especially if, as is the custom, you wet just the bottom few inches.Gold is especially keen on the tempura-fried pickled ginger which he deems "delicious" and "a bit like an onion ring that mysteriously refreshes your appetite instead of killing it." [LAT]
B-Rod allocates three stars to Santa Monica's new Water Grill: "For the service, raw bar, quality of product, wine list and view (both interior and exterior), there is no better place in this part of Santa Monica to eat. And thank God we finally have somewhere decent to feed all those tourists coming through the doors. But the cooking, particularly the more creative dishes, could use some help in the execution. The tweaks needed are small — colder crudo, seasoned salads, a lighter hand with the butter — but would have a huge effect on the overall experience." [LAW]