This week, Jonathan Gold drops the word on Kinjiro, an upscale izakaya in Little Tokyo in the old b.o.s. space. Izakayas offer booze-centric menus and small plates to go alongside it, a style of dining that has become ubiquitous at fashionable Los Angeles restaurants. At Kinjiro, the LA Times critic opts for Cowboy, "red wine drinker's sake as massively flavored as a steakhouse Cabernet Sauvignon," and enjoys a sophisticated succession of small plates to go with it:
So you get your Cowboy, which comes to the table chilled. You experiment, perhaps, with the sake no sakana, salty, funky, ultra-traditional bar snacks that may include slivers of flying squid fermented in its own ink, firefly squid marinated in sweetened soy or half-rotted bonito intestines smeared on cream cheese, which is both more traditional and more delicious than it sounds. (Kondo also served the bonito guts when he cooked at the long-shuttered Izayoi, around the corner from the Kinjiro spot.)
You try the nanbanzuki, a seasonal dish of smelt that is deep-fried, then pickled and served cold — when you land the right smelt, the crunch of its eggs is unexpected and delightful. You get a tiny parfait of sea urchin layered with sliced raw scallop, cooked blue crab and a luscious, citrus-tart ponzu jelly. The bottle of Cowboy has started to warm. Perhaps it is time for meat. [LAT]
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines has another reliable meal at Chi Spacca, Eating L.A. enjoys a stylish meal at Ostrich Farm, and The Offalo digs into Korean fare at POT.