Best Japanese Restaurant Orange County 2013 - Izakaya Ku
18120 Brookhurst St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Order the mackerel dish, then stand back. The waiter comes out brandishing an acetylene torch. He flicks it on to a roaring whoosh. As he waves the blue flame over the fish, fine spatters of grease fly as though sparks while the skin begins to contract and the smoke rises. Sooner than you think, the dish is done. He pushes the smoldering plate toward you. You dig in with chopsticks, noting the surgical cuts made on the fillet, each piece with a shallow slit where you can tuck in a dab of mustard. Around you, you notice nearly everyone has ordered the mackerel, but also kushiyaki, sticks of meat flipped over and over to char-flecked perfection. Both dishes pair extremely well with a cold bottle of Asahi, and that's exactly the point. This is an izakaya, after all, the Japanese equivalent of a bar and grill, where tables teem with drunk businessmen toasting themselves loudly with sake and sipping motsunabe, a hearty camp-stove-heated stew of beef intestines simmered in a spicy miso broth. You have to be drunk yourself to attempt it, but that won't be a problem here.