Though I've explored plenty of parts of this city (and many others in California), I (for some reason) never found myself in Atwater Village until recently. And recent trips have shown me that it's actually a pretty cool place! With some nice shops and restaurants, it certainly has that cute neighborhood feel that a lot of areas in LA lack. Recently, we checked out a new neighborhood spot called Ozu East Kitchen*; fusing Japanese cuisine and Korean flavors, Ozu is serving satisfying meals in a casual, modern environment.
The interior is light and airy, with simple, modern details and communal wood tables. It has a nice selection of wine, sake, and local beers, including those from Craftsman Brewing. The Acorn Saison (below) was a really nice beer; a seasonal beer from the Pasadena brewery, the Acorn Saison is a little rich and bitter, but a great complement to the Ozu East food.
To start the meal, we had the Charred Edamame, which was flavorful and seasoned well. I liked the little bit of crushed wasabi peas, but think the dish could've benefitted overall from a kick of spice or a bit of acid. Either way, still enjoyed the edamame.
Up next was the Chicken Karaage, which is a Japanese fried chicken dish. We were told that the chicken is coated in 4 kinds of flour, which gave it a really light fry and kept it moist and tender on the inside. The Yuzu Mayo was a nice accompaniment, and the lemon added a good little bite of acid.
Our favorite dish of the night was the Kimchi Udon Shrimp, which was the kind of warm, delicious bowl you want on a cold winter night. Described as a Korean carbonara, the dish was rich and immensely satisfying. The noodles were thick and cooked perfectly, while the spam and shrimp gave it some serious flavor. The kimchi added a really nice spice (and emphasized the Korean element), and made the dish totally unique. We would definitely come back just for this!
Last but not least was the Ozu Pork Ramen. Their signature ramen, the pork was cooked perfectly, and the egg was a really nice addition. The broth was a bit on the lighter side, but with the addition of some salt and other spices (found on our table), the broth took on some serious flavor.
Overall, I really enjoyed our Ozu East experience. The food was good and comforting, but still seemed light and fairly healthy. It's definitely a great, neighborhood spot for grabbing a casual but tasty meal.
Products/restaurants marked with an asterisk* denote gifted or free items/meals. For more information about how this affects my editorial policy, please click here.