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Izakaya Angelina – a restaurant review

Ichiza – Japanese Grill
 
Las Vegas Chinatown
 
Remember Angelina Jolie when she was married to Billy Bob?  It’s been a long time because the now refined philanthropist/mother-of-Jolie Pitt-clan/paparazzi-shy-actress does not at all resemble the Angelina of those times: controversial, grungy, and FUN.  Ichiza is like that old Angelina, plus delicious!Atmosphere is not for the timid eater, you are likely to share tables with strangers, you may even have to share tables with strangers as well as be shoes-less with them.  But if you like making friends over sake and exotic meats & fish, then come on in, order a drink and start staring… not at other people – at the strips of paper glued to the walls on which much of the menu is written (most of them are far away, so you will end up seeming like you’re staring at other patrons anyways)!  Did I mention this restaurant was not for the shy?

The current Angelina does not seem to eat, but the old one did, and she probably devoured things like chicken gizzards (skewered and stir-fried), beef liver, & beef tongue, all of which are tasty at Ichiza.  My personal favorites are the buttery beef tongue and the chewy skewered gizzards.  If the present Ms. Jolie did eat, she’d probably enjoy the salmon-wrapped scallops, which wins best contents in a bite prize: the freshness of the seafood is highlighted with the honest & straightforward preparation, it’s approved for anorexic starlets.



 

Okay, all Angelina talk aside, I love Ichiza the most because of the grain epiphany that happened to me at this hole-in-the-wall Japanese treasure: the broiled rice balls – the best thing to have happened to anyone that’s a fan of slightly-burned crispy rice.  It was these balls (not the Angelina fantasy – sorry to disappoint some of you) that made me an Ichiza convert.
 
However, if you’re still rolling in Angelina lust and want something indulgent, go for the honey toast.  It sounds unassuming but will knock you over with such a buttery sweetness, crispy outside and creamy inside, it may yet be the best example of food porn.