In the terrifyingly big city of downtown LA, it can be hard to find a relaxing place to spend the some time with co-workers or friends, waiting for traffic to die down.
But head on over to Chaya Downtown and you’ll immediately feel at ease in their Japanese Beer Garden.
For the second year in a row, the eatery has transformed their outdoor patio to reflect a tranquil Japanese garden, complete with lanterns and Chef de Cuisine Kazuya Matsuoka’s special Yakitori and Kushiyaki Skewers menu. I was kind enough to get a sample of each of the dishes on the menu so I can tell you about it. So nice of me, huh?
I had a mojito and a glass of Sake Sangria (right, $6). Both were refreshing tastes of summer that is not quite strong enough so that you can still drive home. (I know I should have had beer at the beer garden but trying to watch the beer belly, you feel me?)
The King Salmon Sashimi Salad ($7) was nice and juicy to nibble at while the Sea Scallop Miso Gratin ($9) was so buttery it will melt down your throat.
I love fried oysters but I must say that this Fried Oyster with Cilantro Aioli ($9) was nothing special. However the Spicy Tuna and Shishito Pepper Tempura ($7) brought a really unique taste to two unusual blends of food. Worth a try!
Chef Matsuoka really brought out his skills in the meats! I thoroughly enjoyed each carnivorous dish including the Soy Braised Short Rib Sukiyaki Style ($9), and the various skewers of Bacon wrapped Date Skewer (a must get!), the Shrimp Skewer and the Beef Tongue Skewer ($2 each). The kimchi flat bread, ($7) though not meaty, still filled my tummy well.
For desserts, Chaya stuck with traditional American fare–which was fine by me! Bread pudding is my favorite thing in the whole entire world and this was baked to perfection. As for the Banana Banana Banana dish, it was like the best breakfast ever. With a solid vanilla ice cream topping some sort of waffle concoction below. Yum!
Chaya Downtown LA’s Japanese Beer Garden will run Monday, June 6th through Friday, September 2nd, every Monday through Friday from 5pm to close. The Japanese Beer Garden will be exclusively at Chaya’s downtown location.
City National Plaza
525 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071