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Sake Dojo Restaurant Soft Opening Impressions

If you are into sake, this is clearly the place for you. I’m not a sake drinker but as the name implies, this place has a ton of them to choose from. Like a sommelier at a fancy restaurant, the sake sommelier will help you choose your sake based on your preference and what you are going to eat. I was there during the soft opening so there was a limited menu and the staff was still in training.

I decided to try a few things off the menu to see the quality. I ordered the half dozen oysters, home made hiyayakko, gyoza and some nigiri sushi. The oysters came out first with the hiyayakko. The oysters were good but the home made hiyayakko was too sweet for my personal taste. But I like that they make their own tofu there.

The gyoza was not prepared properly and the wrapping was too thick. Traditional gyoza requires that one side be crisp, almost burned while the other side is not. As you can see below, they tried to do that without success. Some of the problem lies in the thickness of the wrapper. But the biggest problem was the dipping sauce. It was bland and too oily. I’ve seen similar problems at other restaurants. The funny thing is, with the perfect dipping sauce, one can almost ignore the gyoza’s quality but in this case, nothing worked. Hopefully, things like this will be worked out before their real grand opening.

Now the good news. All of the nigiri sushi (not all shown below) were prepared perfectly and delicious. Although they seemed to run out of plates near the end, I was loving every bit of it.

The toro shown below was excellent. Yes indeed.

It’s hard to see the quality of the ikura in this picture below, but they are using the best here. No complaints from me.

Now comes the part that is arguable. A lot of traditional Japanese restaurants will give you hot green tea for free. Some upscale places will charge between $1 to $2.50. But here, you get this complicated contraption shown below and will be charged $4.50. I have to admit, the tea did taste fresh and it was clear that they had just made it because they do it in front of you. But I’m not sure I wanted to pay that much for my tea. Just wanted to give you a heads-up so don’t get shocked with the price.

All in all, I’m looking forward to their grand opening and their full menu. I will certainly be back to try out everything on their menu.

Sake Dojo
333 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 234-0957

Update June 2, 2018:
On my last trip, the tea was now $3.50.