Monday, March 31, 2008

Sanuki no Sato

(310) 324-9184
18206 S Western Ave,
Gardena, CA 90248

Adequately Fed: $30
Octopus Salad****
Green Tea Ice Cream***
(Out of Five Stars)

Sanuki is an area of Japan famous for its udon, hence the name of the restaurant Sanuki no Sato. As such, I expected their udon to be extraordinary, and on a cold day like tonight, I was not disappointed. The walls around the entrance are plastered with pictures of Japanese celebrities on their visits, a tacky but meaningful promotional technique. When in doubt, always check what the "locals" eat.

The Udonski is a communal hot pot udon set filled with seafood including crab, scallop, shrimp, and clams. The combination of seafood made an excellent soup base great standalone but even better when used to cook the separate items that come with the meal. Tofu, mochi, napa cabbage, shitaki and enoki mushrooms were among the items on the vegetable plate. The udon comes separately to add and cook at your leisure so as to preserve the integrity of the noodle. I can only assume they make their own udon by hand because I have never had any better udon anywhere in the world. I feel like Italian pasta has no idea what al dente really is compared to the elasticity of the udon. The consistency made it not only a pleasure to eat, but also fun. Though the udon was excellent, the Udonski set meal was too expensive in my opinion. There are plenty of individual udon bowls for $10-12 that are more reasonable.

Each diner was served a bowl of octopus salad of kelp, octopus, and lemon doused with rice vinegar. A great appetizer to cleanse the palette and prepare for the entree. After the udon, the Udonski comes with a choice of vanilla, green tea, red bean, or cappuccino ice cream, a wonderful contrast to cool you off from the hot soup.

We were seated in the private dining room so I did not experience any problems with service. The tatami room was made for privacy with a little service bell to call for a waitress.

Recommendation: This place is named after an udon famous province for a reason--get the udon!

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