Skip to Content
1706.jpg

New Japan ~ 11283 Santa Monica Blvd. West Los Angeles, CA 90025 ~ 310-477-0557

Many of our city's best sushi joints flourish in crappy strip-mall parking lots like this one, inhaling smog just a blocks west of the 405 in West Los Angeles. New Japan is not one of these. In fact, their cheap sushi truly blows donkey, resembling the type you might get at a fancy Vons, and one piece is usually left sin aguacate, which really pisses me off. The service is friendly, though disinterested, and sometimes you are subjected to large groups of randy office-mates (feel the sexual tension thicken) or sweaty martial arts teams coming to catch a gander at ultimate fighting on the big screen, all while you try to eat and have a moment to yourself.

7151.jpg

Still, it is where I often head when I feel like treating myself nicely, having worked hard on something or saved my pennies. I typically skip the pollock-substituting-for-crab roll or limp eel on rice and instead head straight for the chicken and beef special, a sweet-sauce-glazed feast fit for the king of the Huns, accompanied by soft, warm white rice and a carrot ginger salad ($8). New Japan recently got their act together and ditched the heinous mirrors and disco modern theme (but not the obnoxious TV) for a more traditional setting ripped outta Lone Wolf and Cub, with wee Buddhist idols and plenty of bamboo.

6176.jpg
4237.jpg

The beef and chicken plate is usually on, though I have had my frustrations when dealing with this plate's inconsistency as well. The night I came equipped with camera, though, everything was up to its usual tasty standard. I think terriyaki tradionalists would be freaked out by the thick Jemima-like syrup here, but the combined meaty taste of the beef's juices, its surface gently kissed by the grill, tempered by the overly sweet sauce go great together, like a trans-Pacific Roscoe's.

5167.jpg

The chicken pieces are really soft, white nuggets in medium-sized, rough-cut strips that pop in the mouth, going down easily, with no dryness and mucho sabor. The beef is tough on the outer layer from the grill's touch, but barely medium on the red inside, with deep cracked valleys where the syrup gathers on all sides. It is simultaneously tender and chewy. The chewiness and griddled flavors strike a tasty balance with the sauce as it soaks up so much syrup and flavor, mingling meat with sweet in every chewy bite. It's truly a gift that keeps on giving.

3281.jpg

I've tried the meal with just chicken or beef alone, and it does not work, something about switching meat supplies off and on keeps things fresh and interesting. I really recommend mashing the rice and salad together too, mmmnn, letting the ginger dressing put a little lubrication up in the rice for easy entry through the esophageal sphincter. The option to add tempura, which comes super fluffy in a gravity-defying fried shell that has no physical connection to its entrails, is sometimes a good call for a greasier eating experience, though again, traditionalists should skip it.

From a failed sushi restaurant, at least one pearl is given up to be savored, suckled, and slaughtered by its customers, of which there are always many coming for the good price and easy location. I shouldn't talk too much shit on the non-chicken-and-beef plates, though. New Japan has a fairly big menu, with lots of different dishes like ramen, which could be of some value. This restaurant might not be for everyone, but for now, and considering its tiny aesthetic improvements, it has me coming back for that one big plate of food. Again and again.

2369.jpg

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

‘Tacos With a Side of Dope Music:’ A Preview of the DJs Gracing The Stage at TACO MADNESS

Attendees of this weekend have much to look forward to—from behind the turntables to behind the grills, TACO MADNESS promises to bring something for everybody, and the L.A. TACO looks forward to bringing all of the energy, excitement, and culture to La Plaza De Culturas y Artes this Saturday.

What To Eat In L.A. This Weekend: L.A.’s Best Tacos, Tequila, and Stuffed Churros at Our 15th TACO MADNESS

McSatan cheeseburgers, suadero on house-nixtamalized tortillas from one of Mexico's biggest chefs, steak banh mi tacos, and so much more, in one place!

June 14, 2024

The Five Best Tacos in South Gate

From a spot that uses a unique Michoacán-style "salsa agridulce" to a fish taquería where the batter stays crispy, next time you're in SELA, now you know! Southeast Los Angeles, presente!

June 13, 2024

Black Music Month: Five California-Based Baddies Taking Over The Music Industry

From Sacramento to Slauson Hills and Pasadena, these emerging California-raised artists are representing the state's current hip-hop and R&B scenes.

Open Thread: What Is L.A.’s Most Overrated Dish?

Dry donuts you drove an hour for? "Texas-style" tacos you just don't seem to get? That mean Michelin-recognized chef's new place?

See all posts