Inko Nito: a new robatayaki in Arts District


#1

After a surprisingly good dinner at Zuma in Miami last March, I was pleased to hear the same team was opening a robatayaki style restaurant in Arts District. Info and interior pictures here, in person the space as just as beautiful:

Went as a party of four last night and was able to order a good chunk of the menu. The food isn’t necessarily traditional or even trying to cater to food geeks. But the food is mostly delicious, in a crowd pleasing sort of way. Bold flavors, lots of sauces, etc. If Shibumi or Sushi Q leans towards the austere for sushi, this is the opposite. This is the fancy sushi roll / spicy mayo version of a robatayaki and different from say Aburiya Raku. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. This is the kind of place to go for a fun night out and just pig out. Oddly, the food reminded me of Stocking Frame in DTLA a bit, in that they pack a ton of flavor into everything. Once or twice I though the dish would be better with less sauce or “stuff” on it as the underlying protein was so good. Unfortunately, eating quickly in a group of four meant little chance to take pictures.

Recommend drinks (all $10, most have some Japanese twist to them, most on the lighter side of the boozey spectrum)

  • Palomita (their version of a paloma with Japanese tequila): very tart and just the right amount of sweetness
  • Nori old fashioned

Best dishes:

  • tiger prawns (better than what I had at Rossoblu)
  • hamachi collar
  • brussel sprouts
  • pork ribs
  • Shishito peppers
  • shrimp tempura: still crispy, yet bathed in a spicy sauce
  • Cauliflower

Less memorable:

  • panko fried chicken
  • beef cheek
  • chicken tsukune (doesn’t reach the heights of the top 2-3 versions of this dish in LA, but still enjoyable for fans of these meatballs)
  • romaine lettuce
  • Scallops (protein itself really delicious, but these didn’t really need so much topping on them and would have been better without)
  • lamb leg

Serviceable:

  • There is only one dessert. A soft serve with a sweet soy based sauce and fortune cookie / pocky sticks on top. Good way to end the meal but nothing ground breaking. Go ahead and order it.

Complete Misses:

  • beef short rib (meat too tough, meat itself had little flavor, all I tasted was the spicy red chili flake sauce)

Overall: Recommended for group nights out, especially the dishes that highlighted the protein like the collar and tiger prawns. Less successful for food nerds.


#2

Went here for their 50% off the entire menu promotion (through 1/7). This place reminded me of a trendy fusion of asian fusion places like nobu and terra cotta.

Everything is a great value during the promotion but nothing really impressed for me to go back.

Highlights were the Dungeness crab tartare, the cali, the chirashi, and scallops.

Dungeness crab tartare, wasabi mayo, chicken skin, roasted nori

Fried shrimp, spicy Korean miso, sesame seeds, lime

Whole tiger prawns, garlic, lemon sancho

The cali - dungeness crab, avocado, wasabi tobiko, yuzu mayo

The chirashi - salmon, yellowtail, wasabi shiso

Yellowtail collar, brown butter ponzu, lemon

Scallops, shiso, sweet soy, shichimi yogurt, lemon

charred coconut soft serve, soy, poki, japanese granola


#3

They do love to char. What is Dungeness tartare? It looks like a crab salad.


#4

50% off? Now I’m tempted


#5

No idea, probably their fusion version of crab salad.


#6

I’ll eat it.


#7

Y’all got a shout out from Eater:


#8

Had many of the items mentioned above. The collar and scallops were the strongest dishes to me. The 50% off was nice - I think the regular pricing was a smidge high for what was served.


#9

The 50% discount hooked me in so we went. The tiger prawns were EXCELLENT. We ordered 2nds. The yellowtail collar was also really good with plenty of meat. Parts of it were slightly overcooked but still fully enjoyed it. The Mary’s half chicken was also really good. Tender, juicy and ton of flavor. Those were the 3 standout dishes for us.

Also ordered lamp chops, chirasi, crab tartare. These were just ok.

If the 50% discount was their normal price, I would come back here over and over again. Unfortunately, at their normal price, we’re not in a hurry to rush back.


#10

My half-off bill was $63 per person out the door (w/ tax + tip), with four people splitting about 15 dishes and each having two or three drinks. Because drinks were not half off, the same meal would been around $100 (so not double the half off price) per person on a regular night, though I don’t think we would have ordered as much at full price either. This is just an FYI for those wanting to understand the cost of eating here.

Regular price on four tiger prawn skewers is $17. They would probably go out of business selling the same dish for half off ($8.50) normally. Rossoblu charges $14/each for a Santa Barbara spot prawn. Not apples to apples, but should provide some info. Anyway, what matters I think is total cost, since number of dishes you need to order to leave full varies from restaurant to restaurant, and you do need a fair number of dishes here.


#11

Went back again this week and had a good time. The food didn’t taste as vibrant as it did the first night, but I still left relatively happy given I was paying full price. Funnily enough, the waiter was giving me tips on which dishes would be best tonight based on who was cooking that night. Anyway, still not a place for food geeks necessarily, but for a fun night out with friends.


#12

“Food Talk Central has the early word” That’s right Baby!


#13

Went last night.
This is an uninspired restaurant.

Ramen Roll : Ramen :: Inko Nito : Izakaya


#14

Good to know. Thanks for taking one for the team.


#15

Going Thursday night, will report back.


#16

How was it?


#17

I fucking hate this place. Just hate it.


#18

I didn’t hate it but it’s not a place worth discussing on our board.


#19

I used “uninspired” in my previous post.

I was debating between that and “No heart”.


#20

Oh dear… new nickname “Izakaya 駄目yo”