On my last trip to L.A., I found out that I had a cousin living there! Both my mom and dad have 11 brothers and sisters each (all with multiple kids) scattered around North America, so it is understandable that I do not know the exact whereabouts of all my family members.
It turned out that my cousin is doing her pediatrics residency at UCLA, and only lived 5 minutes away from the hotel we were staying at. We decided to meet up for dinner.
She took CK and I to Musha, a Japanese tapas restaurant in Santa Monica. Musha is an Izakaya style restaurant, and resembles a Japanese pub. The atmosphere is upbeat, and the place is a lot of fun to eat at.
Their wait staff all have loud personalities, and were extremely hospitable. They seemed genuinely happy to be working there, and everyone we encountered was funny and joked around a lot.
We all ate at the bar that evening, and had a great time getting to know one another. We also had good time talking to the staff across the bar.
At one point, they turned off all the lights in the restaurant, brought out a piece of cake with a candle, and sang happy birthday to one of the customers. Everyone sang along, and it was an affair for all in the restaurant. I felt like it was an episode from Cheers.
This is what the three of us ordered:
We started with the salmon sashimi. The fish was extremely fresh, and was delicious.
Next was the takotama. We ordered this because the description said it was Musha's signature dish. It was a two layer omelette with chopped octopus, leeks, red ginger, noodles, and bonito broth. This dish looked impressive when it first came out, but in the end, it was just a fancy looking omelette. It didn't taste bad, but it wasn't one of my favorite dishes.
The next dish was the yuba shinjo: deep fried shrimp dumplings wrapped with tofu skin. The dumplings were served with a tentusyu dipping sauce. These were tasty.
I LOVE tofu, so I had to order the soon tofu. It was a spicy seafood tofu soup simmered with clams, white fish fillets, and whole pieces of shrimp. CK, who doesn't really care for tofu, really enjoyed this dish.
The last two dishes were a lot of fun to eat. You get to cook the food yourself on a little portable grill they bring out for you.
First was the saikoro steak: cube cut rib eye steak with mushrooms. A garlic soy steak sauce and a ponzu sauce came with the steak.
Saikoro Steak on Grill
Last was the eihire. This dish was dried stingray fin that was softened with hot water. When grilled, it tasted like a smoky stingray jerky. It was absolutely delicious. A red chili mayo was provided as a dipping sauce.
Eihire on Grill
I highly recommend this place. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is casual and fun.
424 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, California, USA