Hakata Izakaya HERO: A Pictorial Essay

New restaurant alert in Tehrangeles: Hakata Izakaya HERO launches in the storefront previously occupied by necco on Westwood Blvd. Reminiscent of the old beloved restaurant Wakasan (housed here before even necco took ownership), Hakata Izakaya HERO aims to supply a good time to locals with lots of yummy eats (and booze to flow along with it) well into the night. Chef Hiro (the “HERO” of our story, get it?) cooks with a style here which is Kyushu-inflected.

Drink menu, in case you are interested…

Daily sashimi assortment: Two types of snapper. Very good.

Garlic shishito pepper: The right way to start the meal. About 20% of the peppers were spicy.

Hitokuchi (teba) gyoza: Ground up chicken wing meat, stuffed back into the chicken wing, for a wonderful bite! Definitely a highlight here.

Skewers: Beef short rib, cilantro wrapped with pork belly, tomato wrapped with pork belly: Perfectly cooked.

Mini housemade gyoza: Glorious small bites.

Chicken karaage: The star of the night! Crispy, tender, juicy… Perfect with a draft Sapporo!

Currently, the kitchen stays open ‘til 11:30PM. Hiro-san says that in the near future, hopefully the city will grant extension of operating hours ‘til past midnight.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

RECOMMENDED.

Hakata Izakaya HERO
1929 Westwood Bl.
Los Angeles, CA 90025

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Beautiful post as always. Your neck of the woods. Lucked out on the shishitos as usually they are only 10% spicy. Karaage looks awesome.
Best to the family!

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Nice find! I’ll definitely check this out

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Very cool, thanks for the share! Nothing like this in NorCal and I see this as a win!!

If I were to advise them on the sake, and if I were them I would be a lot more bold and specific with focusing on only regional offerings to make them stand out further. Understood they just opened and are maybe testing the waters, but something definitely worth considering down the road to make it unique and pair more with the style of food of the region. Staff just needs to be trained to push the sales of regional sake. It’s the path of more resistance (and more accounts with different sources) but it might be more rewarding in the end and customers get a unique experience. Plus distributors will be more inclined to bring in additional regional sake.

There are at least three Fukuoka prefecture sake labels that are exported that are not on the menu, and represent great opportunities to offer them. I believe some are available in 300 mL.

This one is solid

which K&L also has (superb QPR) but if they price it accordingly, it’s great enough to sell itself even for beginners and will pair nicely with izakaya due to its richer mouthfeel and higher acidity to work with heavier flavor food. It’s darker in complexion due to the use of a black koji mold in the brewing process that’s normally used for shochu production in the area. Solid choice to put on the menu.

Mutual Trading also offers an excellent Fukuoka prefecture sake Niwa No Uguisu (Nightingale in the Courtyard) that’s actually really really good. Two Junmai Ginjo’s: green one which is the only one I’ve tasted recently of the exported lineup is brilliant and versatile with izakaya fare if lightly chilled, the other seems to be better at room temperature or lightly warmed. There are also two Junmai Daiginjo to choose from the distributor (listing two examples of the four below)

Last but not least: Kitaya through this distributor

https://www.wineofjapan.com/portfolio?f[0]=field_product_category%3A48&f[1]=field_product_prefecture%3A127

I’d say just one or two at most, maybe from the 300 mL sized offerings.

Ok to keep Shichida, Saga prefecture is within that western region. And good to include Harada (Yamaguchi prefecture). (Kubota though? :thinking:). And there’s Azumaichi also (Saga prefecture) that’s being offered through Skurnik/Banzai Beverage so it’s definitely available in SoCal. And of course Amabuki (Mutual Trading). Lots of possibilities here!

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Posted before Eater LA lol…

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darnit you beat us to it! We’re not necessarily going to be on top of every single new restaurant opening in town, so we really appreciate your work here. And we’re happy to link to it/give credit!

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