Tsubaki - Echo Park

Thank you - you are too kind!

Where does one get this??? It sounds… delicious.

One would have to make it. The easiest way is to combine Kyoto style white miso into cream cheese.
I’m sure there’s some recipe online, or do by trial and error.

Or even if you take any cream cheese, whether Philly or a triple cream French cheese, should be fun with sake. The funkier the sake, the stronger it will hold up to much stronger cheese.

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Had a decidedly mixed meal here. Really stood in contrast to a meal at Raku just a week prior.

The biggest fail of the meal was a kanpachi crudo. It was $26, and the cuts were all wrong. The fish was tough, too thick, and lacked all the appeal of a wonderful kanpachi.

The fish texture problem continued with the grilled black cod. It was chewy and felt under. It’s rare to have a miss on black cod at a Japanese place, but this was a miss. The seasoning was also extremely light–a light flavor can be great with a perfectly cooked black cod, but since the cook was off, the seasoning problems were heightened.

Our final two dishes were better. The short rib was excellent–correct texture, and a cooked down sauce with loads of flavor. The grilled onigiri were also quite nice.

A decent place to have if I lived in the neighborhood, but I won’t be rushing back.

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Exactly my take-away.

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Update 4:

With Spring wrapping up, we wanted to catch some of the livelier Spring Sake releases before they were gone.

Sommelier Courtney Kaplan is as knowledgeable and hospitable as always, introducing us to Takachiyo, a brewery out of Niigata, Japan who has been releasing a series of Sake “Chapters” in Japan. They are all brewed the exact same way, all polished to 59%, all unpasteurized, but made with different varieties of Rice. Fascinating!

We were going to start with Chapter One, Ipponjime, made with a local Niigata Ipponjime Rice, however, given that we wanted to try a variety of Sake this evening, she recommended we start with Chapter Two, where it gets more interesting.

Takachiyo 59 - Chapter Two - Aiyama - Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjo Sake (Niigata, Japan):

Made with a rare Aiyama Rice varietal, this Takachiyo 59 was wonderful! There’s a lively, almost fizzy quality to each sip, almost fruity. A fantastic Spring Sake to start this evening. :blush:

One thing is pretty clear over our repeated visits, and it is that their strength is in the amazing Sake program and Sake Menu. But we wanted to see if the kitchen improved, so we took a chance:

Nankotsu (Chicken Cartilage) Skewer:

It doesn’t matter if you use quality ingredients (like their advertised Jidori Chicken), if you can’t execute: Here the Chicken Cartilage Skewer is dense, chewy with a generic Tare Sauce slathered on top. Terrible. :frowning:

Hatsu (Chicken Hearts) Skewer:

It got worse: This had a bad funk, as in starting to go bad / rotting type of funk. :face_vomiting:

Sunagimo (Chicken Gizzard) Skewer:

Their Chicken Gizzard Skewer was the same: Clearly tasting like it was not fresh at all, this wasn’t some special flavoring, this was bad. :nauseated_face:

The fact that they charge $5 - $8 per skewer is ridiculous, making it the most expensive Yakitori skewers in town, but they are easily the worst Yakitori we’ve had in L.A. / O.C. Period. Just baffling that some writers from the L.A. Times and Eater actually list Tsubaki for the food (and not the Sake).

A humble, straightforward place like Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori does much better skewers at $2 - $3 for similar cuts of meat (and they’re considered passable normally). :expressionless:

With that horrific disturbance out of the way, we continued with the Sake…

Takachiyo 59 - Chapter Three - Aimachi - Muroka Nama Junmai Ginjo Sake (Niigata, Japan):

This 3rd release from Takachiyo, “Chapter Three,” uses a blend of the rare Aiyama Rice and Omachi Rice, but keeps everything else the same.

Just with the slight change of blending in another Rice, the Aimachi is far different from the Chapter Two, Aiyama: This still has an almost fizzy quality, but it’s earthier, funkier, heavier (in a good way), but still quite Spring-light. Really delicious! :heart:

Shichida - Spring - Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo Sake (Saga, Japan):

But the reason we were here: Trying the 2019 Spring limited release for Shichida Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo Sake! Ever since @beefnoguy introduced this to us a couple years ago, we’ve been smitten and have looked forward to the Spring release of this each year. :blush:

The Shichida 2019 Spring release is awesome: There’s a natural effervescence, like you’re drinking some carbonated drink (but it’s naturally so), it tingles the taste buds, with big flavor, super bright and fun. Seriously one of the funnest Sake you might have ever tried! :heart: (Shibumi in DTLA also has this; not sure if Shunji or Mori carry it for Spring (@attran99 @TheCookie @J_L and others).) :blush:

Ama No To - Heaven’s Door - Nama Tokubetsu Junmai Sakae (Akita, Japan):

We finished with Ama No To “Heaven’s Door”, which was still lively, but nothing like the party that is Shichida Spring Muroka Nama Genshu. This was clean, easy to drink, there’s an almost fruit quality to each sip and a nice way to finish things off.

1356 Allison Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90026
Tel: (213) 900-4900


What a great place to eat drink!


I’ve tried almost all of the Takachiyo’s from the 2018 lineup…but I’m Takachiyo’d out…so I’m going to skip this year’s batch. The master brewer is actually a young guy who’s not even 30 years old, and this is a modern style sake that has got quite a bit of flavor that’s very easy to get into.

Ai-machi is probably one of the better ones in the lineup, sounds like it is a winner this year, especially when the Omachi part of the blend balances the sweetness of the Aiyama (and the lighter body) with astringency and bitterness in a good way. Aiyama is enjoyable to drink, but is a bit fruity for my tastes…so the only way to make Aiyama rice sake a bit more balance is either a combination of aging and/or create more acidity (like a dry white wine). Takachiyo is actually not that easy to have a perfect match with food overall, so you are better off having some light champagne fare than salty medicore chicken skewers. However if you like Takachiyo 59 series so far, you should try to taste every single version in the series, as they brew with different sake rice. It’s a great sake that females can easily get into.

The distributor for Takachiyo also has some wonderful sake in their portfolio, although some of which are not as interesting to me.

I had this year’s Shichida 2019 Spring Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama Genshu a couple months ago…I guess I didn’t enjoy it as much as 2017, but then again my tastes have changed so much. Found it to be less electrifying and impactful, but it could have been the bottle.

Biggest surprise so far for me, is Den Batch #6 (single pasteurized version) although you will probably like the nama version more than me. Shibumi should hopefully have it already.


Hi @beefnoguy,

Thanks for the awesome insight! :slight_smile: I’ll try a few more Takachiyo Chapters if I see them on the menu, but with such a limited reason to go (not the food), we really don’t drive out there that often.

About Shichida 2019 Spring, oh it’s not just you. We both thought your introduction of the 2017 Shichida Spring Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Ginjo was definitely better than the 2019. It was more lively and yes, electrifying! :slight_smile:

I was just describing in relation to the Sake we’ve had during this visit (it was our favorite one this evening).

Very! Thanks for the recs!

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Peony: Tonight was the best meal we ever had at Tsubaki. The three cold fish dishes were all very tasty and had their own styles. The grilled shrimp were juicy and flavorful. The chicken skewers were also good. My favorite dish was the fried rice with salmon roe. I’m not too sure about the dessert, as it was a bit too powdery and not really working as a dish.

Warrior: Tsubaki is a good restaurant, but not one of my favorites. I think the quality level is inconsistent, not in terms of execution, but in terms of dish design. There were some excellent dishes tonight, like the perfectly cooked yakitori chicken oysters and the buttery clams sakamushi. Our two sashimi dishes—shima aji and kanpachi—were also very good. But there were also some duds. I thought the vegan chocolate pudding tasted like yucky hot chocolate powder. I felt the grilled onigiri was bland and chewy and would have been better if cooked with soy sauce instead of served with soy sauce for dipping. The garlic fried rice with ikura didn’t work for me either; I felt that the pungent, saline flavor of the ikura didn’t blend in well with the fatty fried rice. Overall, I prefer Kinjiro, which is more consistent and tastes more right to my palate.


ooh this is open again? Never tried it so definitely looking forward to it.

Im stunned looking at the prices on the website though. This seems inordinately expensive for an izakaya

for the amount you receive, to be paying $35 for fluke tempura that better be the most delicious tempura in LA otherwise I’ll just go to tempura endo…



I didn’t take many pictures but we ate through most of the menu. Walter and Margarita Manzke sat at the table next to us. We had a couple sakes, a lot of food and a bottle of chateau st anne bandol mourvedre

I followed that up with a stoned, drunk and hungry worthy slice of pizza from a place near me that played aquabats and rage against the machine back to back


Nice to hear. I have a reservation in a few weeks.

My first visit, in BEFORE TIMES was OK…nothing special but, in general, made me go to Ototo for snacks, rather than Tsubaki for dinner.

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I liked Ototo more than Tsubaki as well (and for similar reasons, I liked the bar food vibes) but I’ve been back to Tsubaki a couple times this pandemic and enjoyed both visits


I enjoyed my visit there last week for Tsubaki’s 5th Anniversary celebration. Chef Namba’s special menu was delicious. Review forthcoming…


“this revervation is only available to not you”

Can I improve upon our booking of Tsubaki in this area for this Friday? Just might throw my hands up and go to Pailin lol