Monday, November 10, 2014

Izakaya Wasa - Irvine

There are two Japanese restaurants at the Irvine Spectrum; but only one you should go to: Izakaya Wasa.

If you recognize the Wasa name, it's because it's once part of Chef James Hamamori's empire. You may have been to the original, Wasa Sushi, where he fine tuned his sushi "Treasures", which are upgrades on pieces of nigiri with such things as wasabi cream sauce, jalapeño and crispy onion as toppings or garnishes.

These days Chef Hamamori spends most of his time at his eponymous restaurant in South Coast Plaza, and his connection with the Wasas may just be spiritual now. But Izakaya Wasa is still a very good Japanese restaurant doing real Japanese food.

The "Treasures" are present and accounted for, but so are the dishes you liked at the original, like miso marinated sea bass and the fried baby octopus that you eat in one bite and chew and chew and chew--head, tentacles, and all.

As this is an izakaya, there are more cooked dishes than there are raw, but the Wasa ahi poke is particularly good, with the cubes of fish silken, seasoned lightly with a spicy, citrusy-soy sauce and a hint of sesame seed oil.

What's the other Japanese restaurant at the Spectrum you ask? Well, it's the one you're not going to.

Izakaya Wasa
59 Fortune Dr
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 453-9500

Amor Y Tacos - Cerritos


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

Will preface by saying that it was a few years ago that I went to Izakaya Wasa but the last time I did go, I found the entire experience rather underwhelming. From server speed & attitude but more importantly the quality of the food.

For what we paid for we certainly did not leave happy or satisfied.

At 4:22 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Yes, you could do a lot better than this place in Irvine, but it may have improved somewhat from the last time you visited. Still a lot better than Kabuki across the way, which disappointed me to the point of sadness.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Greg Hao said...

oh ya, that looks so shit I've never bothered considering it as a place to eat.

not to be horribly stereotypical but I ry not to go to "ethnic" restaurants at malls. for example, i was at ra sushi for a date a few weeks ago and it was pretty mediocre.

At 4:36 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Haven't been to RA in ages! Sounds like it hasn't changed much! Ha!!


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