December 21, 2012
We drove a long way from Los Angeles proper to try the soba at Otafuku in Torrance. The shop donned no sign, except a neon “Open” sign that flashed in the window. The place was packed with hungry folks for lunch, lone salarymen sitting at the bar, and housewives chatting amongst one another at the tables in Japanese. Many of the customers were obviously regulars, so the waitresses were all a bit brusk, and I rather liked that. Bottles of “bottle-keep” shochu lined the shelves.
The soba was good, although we probably prefer the soba at Ippuku. Yoko thinks it’s because of the the inferior water of LA. Sad. However, the dish that sticks out in my mind was the tamagoyaki (fried egg omelette) at Otafuku. It was perfect. Sweet and savory, a bit crisped on the outside, softly cooked within.
Tamagoyaki is one of my favorite comfort foods, but it is really difficult to make — there is a lot of flipping involved. I haven’t even tried mastering it. Maybe I’ll try in the new year!
16525 South Western Avenue
Gardena, CA 90247