Is It Any Good?

A genuine Izakaya in the heart of Pasadena.

Musha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Musha on Foodio54

One of the things I truly treasure about living in Los Angeles is the fact we get a real slice of real, genuine Asian Culture in town.

Yeah, you can go to a “Japanese Restaurant” in L.A., but what does that even mean nowadays?  Probably that you haven’t been paying attention.

What is Japanese Food?  Well, it probably means the same as “American” food.  Sure Louisiana Gumbo counts under the umbrella as “American” food, so do Burgers and Fries.  But could you see comparing them?

So, yes.  You can do generic Japanese food., or you can go to a Yakiniku stand, or a Sushi joint, or to a Ramen Place.

And now, increasingly, you can find yourself in an Izakaya.

Now, what exactly is an Izakaya? It’s a term that Bourdain has been using on his shows for the last few years, so even I’m curious. It turns out that an Izakaya is a place that serves drinks that food to accompany those drinks. It’s even right in the name: I translating as “to stay” and Sakaya translating as “Sake Shop”.

Another way to look at them as as Japanese Tapas.  Yeah, it’s not a great metaphor, but it’s close enough.

The number of Izakayas in Los Angeles are growing, at least the ones I’m seeing are growing, like Izakaya Fu-Ga across from the El Coyote Cafe. (Looks great, but expensive). There is even Mr. Bourdain’s recommendation of Kokekokko from the Los Angeles episode of “The Layover”.

Well, we finally, we got ourselves an Izakaya right here in Pasadena. It’s called Musha, right on Colorado.

The space has been used for other Japanese Restaurants in the past, but on a street with already two or three Sushi places in walking distance, you need to stand out a little. So this strikes me as way better use of the space.

Now, I can only get out of my own way and get over there to try out the actual Izakaya.

The rule of this site is for writers to actually go to the places they write about. Usually for me, I will sometimes slip in for a lunch to get a quick sense of the place. Have a bite, and get and idea of whether this place has any game or not.

Well, this place has some game. More to the point, they serve a very good, standard Lunch and for a very nice price. Only problem (for me) was…it wasn’t the fukk Izakaya menu. I read it as I waiting for my lunch to be prepared, and man…did that look good.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: For Lunch, I had Tonkastu, which is a breaded Pork fillet and what has always been described in other places as a “pungent” sauce. Well, I wouldn’t call it pungent. Poor word choice in my mind. To me, Tonkatsu sauce is just plain tangy and zesty. The fillet was perfectly…and I mean…perfectly prepared.

This is the part where I usually look back at the Restaurant’s website, all in an effort to flash back on what I had, and what I would have should I come back.

Well, can’t do that. (See the Safety Tip, below):

When I come back for the Izakaya menu, I’m looking at the Pork Belly, and the Deep Fried Tofu & Potato.  I’ll know more when they get their website running.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Well for one, I have discovered that Musha is not a standalone. It is part of a local chain with locations in Santa Monica and Torrance (which makes sense).

Also, Musha has a website…but I seems, broken at worst, haphazardly designed at best. The Menu page just doesn’t work. You can’t select a particular restaurant, only a splash page with all three restaurants on it. If you select to that one restaurant or more information, you are sent to an IP Service provider page. Not good.

It’ll improve at some point, but in the meantime…very, very annoying fellas!


PARKING: Well, it’s right on the corner of Raymond and Colorado (one door down from the local Jamba Juice). It sits on the same block as the Schoolhouse Garage, my favorite spot to park Pasadena. You won’t even have to cross the street. For other locations, consult our Pasadena Parking Map.


Musha (Pasadena)
58 E. Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105