Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RESTAURANT: Terried Sake House

At first, I could not believe I was going to out this restaurant. But then I looked around and saw that someone had already let the cat out of the bag on this one. Terried is one of those restaurants that you don't discover unless someone tells you about it, because it somehow just flies right under the radar despite the fact that it is just so good. It's nondescript and low-key. Heck, I not only lived right near it for a while, I spent a summer with my butt parked at Cacao a few doors down and didn't even notice it.

Until someone took me there, and I realized that I had found a hidden treasure--my new favorite Japanese restaurant in town.

Once you make the leap and actually decide to go in, you know it's going to be good, because the place is always busy and there is often a wait. It has the standard sushi bar and a bunch of worn wooden tables where you just need to get lucky enough to have enough seats open up to fit your group. The specials are drawn up on a white board, and then you have a large regular menu to choose from, and a small sushi menu.

For drinks, they have the standard Japanese restaurant choices: Asahi and Sapporo, sake and plum wine, etc. I was excited that they had nigori (unfiltered) sake available by the glass, since I am always the only person who ever wants it. It was $3.50 for the glass, and they did that sake house thing I love, where they fill it to overflowing so that you get extra:

Once you get your drinks all taken care of, then begins the ordering frenzy. This is one of those restaurants where everything comes in small portions and costs about $3-4 per plate, so you can just go crazy ordering whatever you see that catches your fancy. And there is bound to be a lot. There is a small and fairly run of the mill sushi/sashimi menu, yakitori that skewers just about every part of the chicken, tempura, different veggies cooked in different ways, different seafood cooked in different ways and a variety of interesting specials.

Pretty soon you will find yourself sitting in front of this:

And realize that you still have about five more dishes coming, and you wonder if you're going to make it through. Trust me, you will. Or someone will help you.

One thing they have here that I haven't had anywhere else I have been in Los Angeles is a broiled rice ball ($1.25). I prefer mine plain, with just charred, crunchy on the outside, rice-y on the inside goodness all the way. You can, however, choose to get yours with a little cod or salmon roe or ume tucked away inside for a hidden pocket of flavor.

A broiled rice ball is like the perfect snack for me. A little crunch, a little savor and not too unhealthy. I wish you could get these almost anywhere because it's not like I am going to make them at home. Not unless I had several other people ready to share with me, since you would have to make a whole batch of rice.

The plain version also makes a good palate cleanser in between dishes, since there's not much too it but rice.

The other good ol' standard that I ordered, but inhaled before I remembered to take a picture, were avocado sushi rolls. I could eat these all day. The combo of avocado, rice, seaweed wrapper and soy sauce is genius. I unfortunately have a textural problem with raw fish so I will never know the pleasures of sashimi, but vegetarian sushi rolls have never steered me wrong and I have not missed the seafood one bit.

Next, I turned to the specials board, and ordered some shrimp shu-mai. I think it was $3.50. You have to understand that (1) I am not a professional journalist, and (2) I had just come from seeing Jamie Lidell at the Getty and had more than a few of their Getty-tinis (aka lemon drops) and so my reporting discipline was not the greatest for this meal.

The shrimp shu-mai were, as you can see, plump balls of soft, glistening noodle bursting with shrimp filling. These were both better tasting and prettier than the shu-mai I normally get from Trader Joe's. Go figure. The noodles were soft and steamy/ The shrimp was maybe a little on the bland side, but nothing that a dip in the soy sauce wouldn't cure. To be honest, these disappeared down my gullet so fast that I almost wasn't able to form a conscious impression of them.

I also ordered the shiitake barbecue, which was just that--grilled shiitake mushrooms. They came with a lemon slice and the lemon juice gave a pleasant tang to the earthiness of the mushrooms.

I have to take a moment to give an aside to the "logo" of terried. The sign outside and all of the water/beer cups have a strange picture of some creature on them, which people invariably identify as a squid or octopus:

I do not know why because, well ... maybe I have watched too much Saturday Night Live:

But the logo is clearly a disembodied chicken head, who clucks out "Hey kids, how's the me?" as you scarf down your yakitori.

And in fact, the server clarified for us that I was right, and it was indeed a chicken on the logo. So there.

In sum, Terried is not this amazing special place with food that you will die for. However, it is a quite authentic Japanese sake house with a large variety of dishes at cheap prices that will equally feed vegetarians and omnivores alike and the food is very good for what it is: simple preparations of meats and vegetables and some standard sushi and tempura.

If you want a thrill order the baby squid steak or some other sizzling dish, which will bring some excitement to the table in the form of a still-sizzling pan of meat.

del.ici.ous Tag:


I love it when you find you're new favorite restaurant! It's just so, I dunno, releasing / special / magananimous / "another gregarious, awe inspiring word"!

said by Garrett at 1:20 PM Delete


I only wish this one were closer to me OR that I had discovered it when I lived nearby, because now I never go over to that part of town. :(

said by KT at 1:25 PM Delete

OMFG -- I loved that sketch! I remember seeing it on SNL when I was in college . . at one point, the chicken mascot is getting woozy from the lack of blood to his brain and he goes: "Gah gah gah gaaaah!"

It's like the funniest thing, I swear.

said by Jeremy at 11:09 PM Delete

thinks for this is really super
keep it going

said by karina_malina at 9:55 AM Delete

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