I have been going to Ita-Cho regularly for the past six years and it has remained one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, throughout. I have had each item on the menu at least once and I always eagerly anticipate the wonderful Golden Dream sake poured into a wooden cup to indulge in with my meal.
Ita-Cho is located on Beverly Blvd., across the street from the famed El Coyote (where Sharon Tate ate her last meal) and directly next door to Angelini Osteria. The space is somewhat industrial and brightly lit with large tie dye fabrics hanging on the walls. However it maintains a certain ambiance that is quite nice and the servers are always eager and friendly. They do not serve sushi, but have some sashimi (excellent toro), and a wonderful variety of Japanese small dishes, ideal for sharing.
I revisited Ita-Cho two nights ago to find that they had reopened after the holidays with some changes to both the interior and the menu. They have added a considerable amount of bar seating along the kitchen giving full view of the chefs in action and creating a sushi bar environment. Not only does this allow for more seating and less wait, but it is much more conducive for the single diner to enjoy a more casual meal. The menu is essentially the same with only a few additions and a few items missing. Fortunately when I inquired about the absence of the yellowtail collar from the menu they were still able to whip it right out. It's served with ponzu sauce and daikon and is a wonderful dish. The shrimp shumai and marinated black cod were, sadly, no longer options.
We began our meal with the Shisito peppers, simply and perfectly prepared, slightly crisped, browned and full of flavor followed by the spicy, soy-glazed, wheel-shaped lotus roots. One of my favorite dishes is the uzaki, fresh water eel and cucumber in a vinegary brine. The eel is tender and fresh with all of the flavors co-mingling in perfection.
The tatsuta age (Japanese-style, boneless, deep-fried, chicken), which is crisp and tender, and served with tangy lemon mayonnaise is extremely popular but I find it slightly uninspired. There is a dish of braised pork, simmered in a broth for two days that is just divine. It's served with eyeball popping, spicy mustard and some spinach. It's very tender and rich and I almost always want to order a second serving. There are a variety of vegetarian dishes, salads and soups. The miso soup with steamed clams is wonderful. The dessert menu is limited, but you can't go wrong with the red bean ice cream.
While there may often be a bit of a wait to be seated, the service is deft and the food comes out at an expeditious, almost breakneck, pace.
Dinner for two with a plenitude of Golden Dream usually averages around $100. Street parking can be tough, but there is valet.
7311 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036-2534
Phone: (323) 938-9009