Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

Wednesday Night Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

We went to my favorite sushi place: Sushi Ichiban Kan

Sushi Time!

Our friend Master Sushi Chef Hiro-san previously owned Sushi Hirosuke in Encino and Kabuki Sushi in Northridge, and now he operates Sushi Ichiban Kan, located on Ventura Blvd in Woodland Hills (actually it’s in Tarzana between Corbin and Winnetka).

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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Dinner at Sushi Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills, California

The dining room is large, spacious and warm. The sushi bar has about 14 seats. There is a waiting area/lobby by the front door and host desk. Street parking (metered 8am-8pm) and free parking in a small lot off the alley in the rear is available.

Sushi Bar or Table? In addition to the regular menu, they have Monthly and Daily Specials, a Special Roll Menu and a Sushi Menu. They also do food “to go” and catering for parties.

Beer, wine and (hot & cold) sake are available with lunch or dinner.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

ON THE MENU: Spicy tuna & spicy yellowtail cut rolls, baked scallop California roll, yellowtail-albacore-freshwater eel sushi, an order of “volcano”, a nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls and a coke.

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Nigiri (mixed) sushi plate: albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, octopus, shrimp, tomago (egg), California roll, tuna and cucumber cut rolls

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

My opinion is that this is the best sushi place in the San Fernando Valley and one of the best in Los Angeles. Hiro-san is a Master Chef and he gets the choice fish at the market. Everything they serve is wonderful, flavorful and super-fresh! It’s a little more expensive than most of the sushi restaurants in the valley, but it’s less expensive than most of the Westside and Hollywood places, and better quality than almost all others.

Sushi Ichiban Kan19723 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
818-883-8288 http://www.sushiichiban-kan.com

NOTE: There are previous Blogs about Sushi Ichiban Kan (with more pics)
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Sushi Ichiban Kan

 

Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ in Van Nuys

Sunday Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys, California

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AYCE stands for ALL YOU CAN EAT!

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Dinner at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys

Literally, a HOLE IN THE WALL in Van Nuys, California! I was invited to dinner and just went along for the ride. And it was a fun ride! We arrived at AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ a little after 5pm and it was already crowded.

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As you enter the restaurant, there is an undecorated waiting area between the front door and the dining room proper. There are two benches, some beer signs and two pinball machines in the enclosed “waiting room”.

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Then as you pass through the second set of doors you enter a large dining room. The host desk is just inside. There are booths along the two side walls and long tables in the center. Even with the industrial fans overhead, the room was thick with smoke from the grills. We were told there was a 20 minute wait, so we decided to hang out, and then they seated us at the center of a long table after only 5 minutes.

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ Restaurant in Van Nuys – Booth or Table?

There was a salad, dishes with an assortment of appetizers and sauces placed on the table and waiting for us when we sat down. They took our drink order and left us to look at the menu (a single sheet in a plastic standee and a beer & wine list):

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AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ – On the Menu: ALL YOU CAN EAT!

On the Menu: All you can eat! Green salad, alfafa sprout appetizers, glass noodles, dumpling soup, beef bulgogi, spicy pork, beef kalbi, garlic beef, apple pork, pork ribs, lemon pepper chicken, steamed rice and a coke.

And then they give you a small frozen yogurt too…so full.

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Green Salad, Appetizers and Sauces

 

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Dumpling Soup, Steamed Rice and a Plate of Cooked Meat

 

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Glass Noodles (Mung Bean) with Vegetables

 

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Marinated Spicy Pork and Beef Bulgogi waiting to be cooked

I took some good pictures, but then the food started coming fast and furious! So, I had to focus on the food cooking on the grill while trying to eat the food on my plate, while having a conversation with my dinner companion, so the picture taking stopped.

NOTE: The dining room is very loud. There were a lot of people, they were playing music, the fans were relatively quiet but still noisy and there was a lot of action and food service happening. I wouldn’t recommend coming here for a quiet romantic dinner. This is a place that’s all about the food and the food is good. Everything else is “NO FRILLS” so don’t expect much more than a constant stream of raw marinated meats ready for grilling.

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“You cook it yourself!” Beef Kalbi Cooking on the Grill

We tried a lot of different meats and our favorites were the beef bulgogi, beef kalbi and the spicy pork, although everything we ate was pretty darn good.

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Spicy Pork and Pork Ribs Cooking on the Grill

 

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Steamed Rice, Alfalfa Sprout Appetizer and 3 Kinds of Meat

Too Much Food! Meat Coma… so full!

Well, we went for it! And it was a good dinner. The service was good, the food was good and certainly plentiful, and we enjoyed our dining experience very much. I would definitely go back again.

The All You Can Eat Dinner is priced at $22.95 per person after 3pm (NOTE: “If any member of a party is ordering AYCE, all members must also order AYCE”) and it’s worth it if you’re hungry and want a lot of meat. I’m pretty sure we both got our money’s worth! They also have beer, wine and sake, as well as a selection of other beverages. They have Lunch for $17.95 and there’s also an express lunch priced at $12.95 served between 11am – 3pm.

AYCE GOGI Korean BBQ7128 Van Nuys blvd Van Nuys, CA 818-465-3050 http://www.aycegogi.com

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Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

Dinner at Sushi 2 U in Encino

There’s a new sushi restaurant in town and we decided to try it out. Sushi 2 U has “soft-opened” in the space formerly occupied by Sushi Hirosuke in the Plaza de Oro shopping center on Ventura Blvd in Encino. Welcome to the neighborhood and good luck!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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The DISCLAIMER on the window (enter at your own risk):

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The space has been renovated and remodeled. The sushi bar is smaller and more central, the prep area and kitchen are “hidden”, the booths have been removed and there are many flat-screen televisions in the dining room. They also have the ability to play music (which was kind of a problem at the previous incarnation in this space).

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Dining Room – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

New Sushi Bar (and prep area) – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi time! (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Old Sushi Hirosuke sushi bar & grill

ON THE MENU: Encino roll (spicy tuna, salmon and crab with avocado), Sushi2u roll (shrimp, soft-shell crab and salmon), California roll, spicy tuna hand roll, edamame, yellowtail/spanish mackerel/albacore sushi and a coke.

NOTE: We wanted to order a small hot sake, but they didn’t have their liquor license yet.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Edamame – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The Encino and Sushi2U special cut rolls were both very good!

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Encino Roll & sushi – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Sushi 2 U Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

The spicy tuna was spice just right with chili oil.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Imitation crab (as noted in the disclaimer) California rolls:

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

California Rolls – Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

It was only their fourth day being open for business, so they were still working out the dinner procedures and routines. Also, it seemed the one waiter was still being trained so service was a little staggered. Everything was fine and we got everything we ordered or asked for, but it was because we asked him or the owner/managers for something.

They have a big menu of sushi, rolls, grilled items and drinks. We ate pretty tame stuff. There’s a lot of different things to choose from and the orders are large.

The space is very nice and there was a steady stream of customers while we were there. There are six other sushi restaurants (Okumura, Gyoro Gyoro, Yamato, Midori, Cho Cho San and Sushi Stop within 3 blocks on either side, and many more in the nearby vicinity (4to6, Katsu-ya, Crazy Tokyo, Octopus, and Sushi Iké) so we’ll see if they can compete.

They were very nice, the food was good, the price was very reasonable and I enjoyed my dinner. I might wait until they get the service routine worked out and their liquor license before going back, but I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

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NOTE: The entrance “lobby” and bar upstairs on Ventura isn’t finished yet. It looks like it will be a nice space for waiting/drinking when it’s finished.

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Sushi 2 U in Encino (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

NOTE: The second time we ate there it was not good and we never went back.

Sushi 2 U – CLOSED in early 2016! Sushi Ganzo has opened in the same space.
READ THE BLOG “Sushi Ganzo and Donutella” > http://wp.me/p3dhVM-54p

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Tokyo Sushi – Dinner in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi – Dinner in San Jose, California

Road trippin’ back down to Los Angeles, I arrived in San Jose at dinner time. My friends were still at the graduation ceremony, so I found a shopping plaza with many kinds of asian cuisine restaurants and went looking for food.

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

There was Pho, Hot Pots, Hot Wings, Chinese, Thai, and “Tokyo Sushi”. I settled on sushi, and sat at the sushi bar. I ordered a three item Bento Box dinner with teriyaki chicken, tempura mix (shrimp & vegetables), and a California roll. I also added a spicy tuna cut roll, and 2 orders of nigiri sushi (salmon and albacore). The dinner included miso soup, green salad, rice, a pot sticker and fruit. They brought me teriyaki salmon by mistake, so I let them take it back, and they brought me chicken.

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi – 3 item Bento Box with teriyaki salmon, tempura mix & California roll

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi – Sushi! Spicy tuna cut roll, salmon and albacore sushi

Tokyo Sushi - San Jose, CA

Tokyo Sushi – Spicy tuna cut roll, salmon and albacore sushi

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

Tokyo Sushi in San Jose, California

The Golden State Warriors were playing basketball and the game was televised, so the restaurant was almost empty. I was alone at the sushi bar for the entire time I was there. The food was good, if not great and I really enjoyed the tempura. The damage was only $40 (with tip included) and I took most of the chicken teriyaki and cut rolls with me and shared the food with my friends at the graduation party later.

The Graduation Party in San Jose

The Graduation Party in San Jose later!

All photos copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel.

Tokyo Sushi1715 Lundy Ave #156 San Jose, CA 

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Thai Food at Sri Siam Cafe in North Hollywood

Thai Food! 

First time dining at the Sri Siam Cafe, a “Hole in the Wall” Thai Food restaurant in a mini-mall on the corner of Coldwater Cyn and Vanowen in North Hollywood. Everything was stellar! The portions were large and the prices were very reasonable. Each dish was done just right, super tasty and delicious. I give this establishment a big thumbs up!

On The Menu: Crispy rice salad (lettuce wraps), chicken satay with peanut sauce, cucumber salad and toast, yellow curry with duck, shrimp & egg pancakes, crispy spicy trout and a Thai iced tea with no cream.

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Sri Siam Cafe Thai Food

Sri Siam Cafe Thai Food

Crispy Rice Salad (Lettuce Wraps)

Crispy Rice Salad (Lettuce Wraps)*

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad and Toast

Chicken Satay w/Peanut Sauce, Cucumber Salad & Toast

Yellow Curry with Duck

Yellow Curry with Duck

Shrimp & Egg Pancakes

Shrimp & Egg Pancakes

Crispy Spicy Trout

Crispy Spicy Trout

Sri Siam Cafe – 12843 Vanowen St (at Coldwater Cyn) North Hollywood, CA 91605
(818) 982-6262

————————————————————–

UPDATE Saturday March 26, 2016:

Dinner at Sri Siam Cafe last night was terrific! The food was great, we’ve been back a few times now, and this time I brought a friend.

ON THE MENU: Thai food! Chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, crispy fried rice salad, fried calamari and a Thai ice tea (no cream)

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UPDATED Sunday February 19, 2017

We had a very nice dinner party at Sri Siam Cafe on Friday night:

On The Menu: Crispy rice with pork, beef panang and steamed rice, chicken satay with cucumber salad and toast, pad Thai noodles with chicken, green curry chicken, tom kai soup and a Thai iced tea (no cream). There were three other dishes that I didn’t eat and we cancelled two other dishes that they didn’t bring. So much food, so full.

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Pictures of Sushi.

Su-su-sushi!

Tuna poke' (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Tuna poke’ (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow roll (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalapeño cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and Yellowtail jalapeño cut rolls (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Eel and avocado (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Spicy yellowtail and tuna cut rolls

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore and Bluefin Tuna sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Spicy tuna and California cut rolls

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Albacore sashimi (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

Baked scallops California roll (BSC)

Baked Scallops California roll (BSC)

Spicy tuna cut roll

Spicy tuna cut roll

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