new japan take-out
11283 santa monica blvd (@ sawtelle)
los angeles, ca 90025-3155
I don't know why for certain things I will never learn my lesson. am I just stubborn? am I just naive and think that the food will get better? Or maybe I'm just cheap and lazy. Yes, 'tis true that I am too lazy to make a detour from my direct work-home route for something decent to eat for dinner, so I end up at new japan, even after all the times I have told myself I shouldn't ever go back there again. The New Japan stop means I simply have to make right turn into the parking lot. For God's sake, there is a parking lot. it's fast, cheap, and though I have heard rumours that there have been shootings in that plaza, at least I won't die from the food.
New Japan has been around for years, and embarassing as it is, i think it will always have a place in my stomach because i visited it often back in my college years. that must be how they stay in business, relying on starving college students who need cheap late eats (they used to be open until 2am, now only midnight), can't deal with reading another book like the menu at jerry's, and need to get out of westwood for a bit. then there are the waaaay past college people like me who hang on to their youth through their stomachs and go back. what a brilliant customer retention scheme.
Although they have an A rating in their window next to the super neon "sushi" and "teriyaki" signs, i don't think i'm brave enough to try the sushi or sashimi there. i mean come on, i do have standards. besides, even at new japan, the sushi is *gasp* $9.00! who carries that kind of cash around on them in that part of town?! I think i'm also a little scared to get anything with chicken or beef in it, so i pass on the teriyakis and the curry. it's all about the $5.00 yakisoba. it's cooked, i get vegetables only, and if i have to, i can always drown it in sriracha to kill the taste, and well, maybe kill the germs.
"Yakisoba." break it down and you get "yaki," which basically means grilled, and "soba," which means noodles. they're not grilled like steaks on an open flame, but the cooked spaghetti (no fancy hand-cut noodles here) is sauteed with a smattering of vegetables like onions, cabbage, and bean sprouts. the only truly green one tastes suspiciously like broccoli, but there isn't a single floret in the dish. who used all the broccoli florets and left new japan with only the stems?!
The saute sauce is just soy sauce and maybe some sugar and mirin. it's very basic, which is a good thing. there's a lower probability that something will go wrong. they might add too much soy sauce and make it too salty, but i'm never one to complain about over-saltiness, and hey, it's $5.41 with tax. cash only, of course. if you can't scrape together the last of your laundry quarters, bring your debit card. there's an atm inside.