March 1, 2009

Honda Ya: A Food Pornapalooza Pazookie

After reading Monstermunching's post on Gen Kai Sushi, a friend and I headed over to the spot on Jeffrey Rd, ready to announce, Omakase onegai shimasu! Unfortunately, as we drove by the place, we noticed the lights were off, and the ill fated words "CLOSED FOR RENOVATION" met our eyes. Damnit....I had been craving some sushi for quite some time too...We then decided to check out Taiko, and while that was open, the hostess told us it would be at least an hour wait. Now resigned to the fact that we wouldn't be able to get some sushi for the that night, we decided to check out Honda-Ya. I had heard some good things about this place, which was said to be a type of Japanese place that specialized in yakitori (skewers). And btw, does anyone know if yakitori means all kinds of different skewers , or does it only refer to chicken? Because I don't mean that they just have chicken here, as you will see soon.

We arrived, and again, there was a wait. However, since it was the two of us, we said it'd be fine if we sat at the bar, and in about 15 minutes, we were seated near the front.

Reader's discretion: Many of these descriptions are brief or blank because I went here a couple months back and my memory is quite muddled from an already hazy night, so I apologize beforehand and will do my best.

We started off with a pitcher of Kirin draft and a bottle of Nigori (unfiltered) sake. I love Kirin from the really do appreciate the difference as you take a sip and go, "Ah!" The nigori was sweet(but not too sweet) and a little milky. If you're wondering what that white thing is in the pitcher, I think it's some sort of plastic thing to keep the beer cold. There was about 4 mugs worth of Kirin in the pitcher, which was $13.

Salad of romaine and iceberg lettuce with some random bits of purple cabbage that came with the combo plate. The dressing was okay...a sort of creamy miso.

Chicken teriyaki. This was the entree chosen for the combo plate that I shared with my friend. It was a pretty good portion (this is only half of what they gave us). The chicken was grilled nicely, and the sauce complimented the chicken without overwhelming it, like some places do with their sickly sweet sauces. I'd give it a B+.

Onto the skewers. The seasoning was simply salt and pepper on all of these different items and sometimes a lone lemon wedge would appear alongside the "yakitori."

Ginko nuts and beef tongue. I remember as a boy, my dad would sometimes buy a bag of ginko nuts and roast them up, so when I saw these on the menu, I had to get them. I found the flavor to be milder than I remembered it to be.

Bacon wrapped tomatoes (?)

What is this...I think some kind of chicken part.

Giant spicy shrimp.

Japanese beef with mushrooms. Definitely a must. It is one of the pricier items on the grill going for $4.25, but believe me, you can tell the difference in the quality of beef.

Bacon wrapped asparagus on top, along with pork belly, some kind of chicken, and squid balls.

Sashimi platter. Tuna, yellowtail, salmon, octopus, and snapper. It may have been halibut. The sashimi wasn't that great. The salmon was definitely fatty, but overall, the sashimi was not very fresh.

The octopus, sprinkled with some lemon, was pretty good and chewy, so we got another order of that.

Buta Kaku (braised pork belly). So fatty. So bad for you. So good!!! This was definitely very rich and came with a small side of spinach and liquid it had been cooked in. I wished that I could have gotten a bowl of that liquid and drank it. This is one item I recommend you try.

Some kind of deep fried sausage "roll." I wasn't very impressed with this. It was just an ordinary sausage that tasted like the Oscar Meyer Wieners. Served with some mayo and ketchup.

Grilled yellowtail cheek, one of the specials going on right now. This was delicious with a good amount of meat. The lemon helped to bring out the full oily flavor of the fish.

Having stuffed ourselves, we were ready for some dessert.

Vanilla ice cream with apple turnovers made like an egg roll.

Green tea ice cream.

The nice server also gave us some green tea after we had already paid, which I thought was nice, although it was probably because we spent a good amount. Service was good. Our waiter/server was informative, and everything we ordered came out promptly.

Not a very descriptive post, but hopefully the pictures did some of the talking because I enjoyed the food here. It was a bit on the pricey side...the total including tip came to be about $120, but we ordered a lot of food, some of which did not make it to this post on the account of my being plastered. They have a lot of things to try both on their grill and regular menu, along with their specials. If this place wasn't so far, I'd make a point to come here regularly, as drinks with the extensive menu and good food equals fun times.

Honda Ya
556 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

They also have two other locations in Little Tokyo and Fountain Valley.

5 rah rah rahs:

Christine said...

damn you guys really must have needed to sober up big time -- that's a lot of food! Looks so yummy though. My mouth is watering again, thanks a lot buddy.

CAB said...

Now I want some sushi. I haven't had hamachi kama in a while. I'll have to order some next time. Love the octopus.

How did you like the beef tongue?

imjustatree said...

lol, we'll have another food outing soon.

BP: I did like the beef tongue, but to be honest, I would have liked to grill it myself, a little more rare. I like it chewy =)

Pam said...

What a feast. I love the bacon wrapped tomatoes.

Anonymous said...

that always happens! mostly go to have a drink then end up ordering half their menu. i like the chicken wings and smelt fish :)

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