Jul 2019

Tsubaki – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

To celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary, The Astronomer and I booked a babysitter and a table at Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan’s Echo Park izakaya Tsubaki. We also procured a tagine and cooked some lamb in it, in case you were keeping tabs on all the festivities.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The menu of simply composed and deftly executed small plates didn’t let us down this evening. From pristine cuts of amberjack sashimi to start, to grilled chicken oysters somewhere in the middle and the finest pork porterhouse to finish, let’s get started on the rundown.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

First up were thick and cool slices of kanpachi ($26), which arrived topped with a ponzu gelee, an apple-ginger oroshi, and fresh shiso.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Then came the buta shumai ($10), three parcels stuffed with ground pork and dashi-braised bacon. Served on the side was hot mustard and soy sauce.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The strongest dishes of the night came from the grilled section of the menu. The yuzu-marinated black cod arrived caramelized in all the right places with an unbeatably flaky texture ($16).

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

Also superb were the sweet soy sauce marinated chicken wings ($6) and chicken oysters dabbed with yuzu kosho ($6).

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

I tend to avoid large-format proteins when dining out because they’re usually too hefty in size and price, but something about the promise of curry honey butter persuaded me to give the pork porterhouse a go this evening ($27).

The koji-marinated pork came on the scene juicy, charred, and fanned neatly on a platter. The porcine notes took charge while the curried honey and fennel pollen gave us something to remember.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The final savory dish was the udon cacio e pepe made with a parmesan dashi and topped with sansho pepper and lemon oil ($15). From the toothsome noodles to the cheesy-lemony sauce, everything about this bowl of udon was fantastic.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

To finish, we ordered both desserts on offer. I selected the hojicha soft serve parfait. In between the layers of roasted green tea soft serve were coffee jellies and corn flakes ($11). I loved it all from top to bottom.

Tsubaki - Los Angeles (Echo Park)

The Astronomer chose the strawberries and cream ($10) with Harry’s Berries, yuzu, and sake kasu whipped cream that was simply delicious.

From start to finish, the collective progression of plates this evening made dinner at Tsubaki one to remember.

1356 Allison Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-900-4900

One year ago: Estela – New York City
Two years ago: 
{swoon} Chapati with Four Dips at P.Y.T.
Three years ago: 
Weekend Brunch at Bardot Brasserie – Las Vegas (Aria Resort and Casino)
Four years ago: 
China Tasty – Alhambra
Five years ago: 
In the meantime, pie.
Six years ago: 
Jonathan Gold’s Scouting Report #2: Bếp Kitchen
Seven years ago: 
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – London
Eight years ago:
 Au Pied de Cochon – Montréal
Nine years ago: L’Orxateria del Mercat Central – Valencia
Ten years ago: Manna Korean BBQ – Kailua Kona
Eleven years ago: Vegetation Profile: “Special” Pitaya
Twelve years ago: Buddakan – Philadelphia

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6 thoughts on “Tsubaki – Los Angeles (Echo Park)

  1. Great review of a great meal! It did make me look up “chicken oysters”, thought, as this was a new one on me. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. Happy anniversary!

    Thank you for the delicious find as usual, can’t wait to try it out! We’ve been trying to follow all of your ‘swoon’ posts and they have been on point everytime!

    If you’re ever on the westside, I’ve love to hear your thoughts on the Mazemen from Mogumogu

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