Local Japanese Restaurant Draws In Local Food Writer
• I am always on the hunt for hot and new restaurants within a five-mile radius of my house.
I have driven by Japonica many times and it caught my eye because I love Japanese food but PCH can be a parking lot, so I usually find myself gazing out the window. Japanese food has a special place in my heart, but I rarely see a modern twist on Japanese food.
I was beyond excited to try Japonica and for the new creations I hoped to savor.
The first item I was drawn to was the salmon skin salad. If this doesn’t sound good to you, I suggest you change your mind because anything fried is delicious. The salmon salad contained salmon skin, fried onion, tomato, ponzu, and a siracha aioli. This is not a salad on every menu but should always be ordered. The salad was perfectly balanced with
the fatty and crunchy skin, the sweet and crunchy onions and the aioli added a kick complementing the sour and salty ponzu sauce. I loved the layers incorporated into the salad.
The next dish I tried was the brussels sprouts with almonds and a balsamic vinaigrette. This dish was listed as popular, so I immediately noticed it, but I was interested in a sweet version of brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts were crispy and super-hot on the inside so I knew they were fried, which is always a plus to any dish.
The almonds were sweet and the balsamic vinegar cut down on the fat from the brussel sprouts but also added more sweetness. This was my favorite dish that I tried because it was unique, and I love anything with balsamic vinegar.
Next, I tried the Japanese fried chicken with a sweet and spicy sesame sauce.
Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant, I must get fried chicken - it’s just necessary. What I enjoyed most about the chicken was the thick coating and how crispy the outside was. Without the skin, a crunchy outside could be hard to achieve but Japonica succeeded. The sauce added a sweet note and reminded me of Korean fried chicken.
Lastly, I tried the wagyu ribeye. I was brought the meat raw and the server cooked the meat on a small hot plate on our table, which was great because meat tastes best right off the grill. The meat was super tender and fatty and seasoned perfectly. Although this dish was amazing, I don’t think it was worth $23 for three thin slices of wagyu.
I know the price because it is from a good source, but I wouldn’t order the wagyu again. Overall, I enjoyed all the dishes and the unique flare they all brought to my taste buds.