L.A. Dining: Koji’s

After the Nintendo Media Briefing last Tuesday, held above the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland, a trendy open-air mall with a great view of the HOLLYWOOD sign in the hills, I found myself rather hungry.

As I am low-carbing it, my options are occasionally limited, with sashimi (that’s sushi without the rice) usually a pretty safe bet.

So I wander into this place several floors up called Koji’s Japan, where the words Sushi and Shabu Shabu are boldly displayed next to the restaurant name.

Most folks know what Sushi is (although on Bonaire, where I live, that word, and a variant, “Shushi”, means trash, of all things), but Shabu Shabu, and its cousin, Sukiyaki, is less well known.

Modern Shabu Shabu involves boiling a meal in a pan of water, and then eating the cooked food dipped in sauce, with rice. The last time I had Shabu Shabu, it was a rather elaborate set-up for two, at the Osaka Tea Garden in Nashua, New Hampshire, about a decade ago. My wife and I greatly enjoyed it, so I was thrilled to see that Koji’s was set up for individual-size Shabu Shabu.

As you can see in the above pictures, Koji’s Shabu Shabu includes the pot of boiling water, a platter with meats (that’s that part you order), a platter of vegetables to add to the meat, two dipping sauces (a sesame based one and a soy/vinegar based one), and some additional sauce condiments (scallions, fresh minced garlic, and minced daikon radish for texture).

They also provide a bowl of edamame (boiled and salted soy bean pods) which you can eat whenever – you pop the soy beans out of the pod (the pod is too chewy to eat).

When the water starts boiling you add things to the pot, let them cook, then take them out, dip them in sauce, and eat them (I skipped the rice because it is decidedly carb laden).

I ordered the mixed meat and seafood Shabu-Shabu, with came with premium beef, chicken, salmon, and tiger shrimp.

All the meat and seafood was very fresh, as were the vegetables.

Made for a great meal. And with the hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi appetizer I had, it made for a most excellent lunch. The service was excellent too, and the prices were very reasonable – $39.00 for everything including a nice tip and some green tea.

I give Koji’s Japan at Hollywood & Highland a stunning 9.5 out of 10.0 on The Richter Scale (note that I have never given a 10.0, since that implies perfection, and I doubt there is such a thing).