Once again looking for birthday dinner recs - upscale izakaya or kaiseki

Friends:

I can’t believe it was about two years ago when the wonderful FTCers suggested that I have my SO take me to Inn Ann for my birthday. It was a delicious and amazing experience.

My birthday is rolling around again - mid-August, so I’m once again asking for recs for an upscale izakaya or kaiseki place that does not exceed $160 per person (we don’t drink “adult beverages,” so the price indicated is just for food). Optimally, we would want not too much hassle involved in getting reservations - he’s not the kind of guy that would sit at the computer waiting to see if we could get reservations right when n/naka or Hayato make them available - and I also don’t think those places are in his budget. Finally, it would be great to find a place where the choices or course are not just sushi or sashimi - one thing we loved about Inn Ann were the courses with distinctive vegetables or condiments.

Here’s some places we’ve gone to in the past for my birthday - admittedly, some were primarily sushi or sashimi, but again, if we can find a place that isn’t solely sushi or sashimi-centric course, that would be optimal:

Kinjiro (thank you FTC’ers for suggesting this a few years back!)
Aburiya Raku
Inn Ann
Sushi Zo
Shunji
Kiriko

I have noticed that Gozen in West Hollywood has an option that looks like it would work - I read the KevinEats review - I was wondering if anyone has else has gone there? And in general, we’d be happy to go to the westside, DTLA, the South Bay, or central LA, or SGV.

As always, much thanks in advance for any recs.

-Roz

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I haven’t been (yet) but there are a lot of good reviews for Hakata Izakaya Hero here on FTC.

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I think Hakata Izakaya Hero is THEE izakaya in LA atm

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Izakaya Hero Army!! Happy to see that there is such unanimity in the love of Izakaya Hero. A warning, though: Izakaya Hero is not upscale. It is laid-back and food-focused.

Here is more from the Izakaya Hero thread:

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shibumi

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imari should be open by then too.

My friends who know food went to Gozen and liked it very much.

Love Hero but it is not quite the special occasion vibe.

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Have you heard when n/soto will be opening?

not sure, but they’re stopping their bentos at the end of the month so it must be soon.

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A slightly belated thanks to all who provided recommendations. We’ve narrowed it down to Gozen and Shibumi - my SO wants just a bit more variety than Yakiniku Osen, and we’ll go to Izakaya Hero for a less-special occasion - but I am intrigued by it, and we’ll definitely get there at some point.

-Rosalind

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I didn’t know he was back in LA.
I needed a little sycophancy in my regular diet of restaurant information, and nothing beats KE for that.

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