Because there can never be enough good Izakayas in Little Tokyo.
The world of Tokyo is a bit…how should I put it? Compact.
Japan, for all it’s many facets, is an island…and on an island, you are kinda limited in how much room you got, and what you can do with it.
So, even though we’re here in the good ol’ US of A, and even though in Los Angeles, we have a bit more room to work with, there’s something strangely comforting about heading down a semi-hidden stairwell, and into a local Izakaya for a bite to eat. In this case: Izakaya Fu-Ga.
Blink, and you’ll miss it. I swear I have driven past this spot I don’t know how many times, and still didn’t know it was there. When Waze dropped me here, I almost asked the App: “Are you sure”?”
But it’s there, tucked down underneath the massive sign. Head down, and for a moment there, nothing looks good, until to hang a right, push the doors, and arrive.
It’s an elegant space, again reminding one of the kind of spaces you might find in Tokyo. (Now, I only have to GO to Tokyo and confirm whether that notion is correct). It’s just that Japan is an island, and space is at a premium. So one is not surprised to be see a Hair Salon in a building with a Restaurant above, and a Law Firm above even that.
Dominant color scheme: black. Mood, dark and more than a bit romantic. I’d totally bring a date here. Of course, Kokekokko around the corner, there may be a bit more competition now as far as pricing and seating.
Lunchtime, and it’s also a bit more quieter in here. Not a lot of salarymen drowning their sorrows in easily available pints of Sapporo or Kirin after a hard day’s work. No, this is a crowd come down for a spot of lunch, to relax mid-day. And to be honest, it’s pretty @#$%ing full inside. Not totally. Not overwhelmed, but…decently busy. People like it here, and more to the point, people feel comfortable here.
It’s a good little joint. I plan to come back. (Also need to check out Kokekokko…you know, just to make sure.)
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, you come to an Izakaya, and you get Izakaya food.
The first thing to arrive was the Assorted Sausages, a collection of bite sized Porky goodness with a small dollop of mustard along the way. This is way I’ve been served Japanese sausages for years, especially Kurobuta. While there is a unique flavor profile to Japanese sausages, I personally find them the closest to American Sausages. They carry that touch of sweetness that I like, but are not quite as unique as Taiwanese Sausage.
The ones that were served here, were…again…perfectly cooked, perfectly mouth watering and delicious. I see these on the menu, I get ‘em. I have yet to be disappointed by Japanese sausages.
The next to arrive, and continuing our Porktastic themed afternoon, were the Pork Belly wrapped Asparagus. Now, I’m left wondering how often I’d see this on an Izakaya menu in Japan itself, given that you can add Bacon to virtually anything on an American menu and it’ll probably sell. So is this a local invention? Probably.
Still, me likely.
I don’t know what to say, the whole thing was cooked well. The Asparagus kept its crunch and snap, but I didn’t taste it all that much. The texture remained, but the flavor was mostly all Pork Belly. Not a bad thing, but…still my head was a scratchin’ a little.
But like that was enough Asparagus…
Yeah, I’m trying to be healthy, and a some Sautéed Asaparus in sauce is always going to hit the spot. Damn good.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: The main thing is going to be finding the place. Like I said, the actual entrance may be a bit hard to see from the street. So go by the big, big sign over it. See that, and you know you’re there.
PARKING: Let me tell you how I screwed up and maybe save you the hassle.
While it’s my first time at Izakaya Fu-Ga, it’s not my first rodeo in Little Tokyo. So I while I didn’t exactly know where the restaurant was, I decided to park at my old standby at the Japanese Village.
Did not need to do that.
So, of course, I headed for Izakaya Fu-Ga’s front door. I’m walking along South San Pedro, and there I see this:
If you heard any loud cursing coming from the direction of Little Tokyo, that was probably me.
So, remember: Izakaya Fu-Ga has it’s own parking. Just park here. Save yourself some time and trouble.
111 S. San Pedro St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 625-1722
Monday-Friday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 5:00 – 11:00 pm