Day 2 was quite interesting indeed. Originally the intent was to try either a Vietnamese restaurant or Korean…well that all went out the window and it became a Japanese cuisine palooza for most of the trip.
It ended up being a bang bang instead for day 2 and here is part 1.
Had just a stellar time a couple years back or so at Gyutan Tsukasa and I was dying to return.
Arrived at Costa Mesa’s Mitsuwa Food Court to a familiar sight for sore eyes (and stomach)
I can confirm for sure this is an official branch out of Sendai Japan, as when I posted this photo elsewhere a friend told me so (turns out he’s good buddies with the owner in Japan and once recommended me to go visit the location closest to Tokyo, but northward in Saitama prefecture which I unfortunately never got around to!)
However I doubt these are gyutan from Japan (likely all American parts)…as gyutan and innards are pretty much never exported outside of Japan, and a friend who is quite well known in the Hong Kong food circles told me that even over there, any gyutan served in HK restaurants are exported from Australia (Australian wagyu). This shouldn’t come much as a surprise, and at least the cooking techniques are all true to form.
For those who have never been to Gyutan Tsukasa, they are a charcoal grilled beef tongue specialist place. Very typical blue collar like fare that is delicious for bang bangs, hunger pains, and perfect with a beer (hey you can go to the beer garden in the same food court and get yourself a Japanese brew or a frozen beer slush! The beer slurpee machine is to the right side of the cashier, you guys in the OC are sooooo lucky!!)
Alas I had a bang bang to do, and had to pace myself…so no beer for now.
What’s even sadder…by the time I got to the cashier at Gyutan Tsukasa, I was informed they sold out of misoyaki flavor for gyutan (which is actually tastier than the original)
Got the original set with 8 slices that comes with rice and a bowl of beef tongue broth (with a couple thicker cubed cuts of beef tongue probably near the back section that was more fibrous, but tender enough with a good bite after cooking in the soup)
The broth had really good umami notes and was a touch salty despite it being so impressionable and amazing, and ditto for the original grilled beef tongue. But perfect if you eat it all together with rice. I was thinking having a little inawa udon and dipping it into the soup would also be quite awesome indeed (or pho or Cantonese style ho fun rice noodles for that pseudo clear broth brisket feeling).
You can also take a slice of beef tongue, dab a little wasabi on top, then add some of the pickles and roll it up (like a burrito or ahem, blue crab salad handroll) to kick it up a notch and give it more of an izakaya feel to pair with a great alcoholic beverage. The smaller portion of pickles on the left side of the plate were notably way more spicy, but still delicious. I love this combination, very satisfying!