Chinchikurin – Sawtelle

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I failed to come Chinchikurin for years, dismissing it as that Japanese pancake place and thinking, “How good can a pancake be?” What a fool I’ve been. Turns out, that pancake was pretty freaking delicious.

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Chinchikurin is in a small strip mall on Sawtelle, along with the ever popular Tatsu Ramen (our usual go to for ramen). The restaurant is pretty small, with the open kitchen occupying about half of the space. If you’re lucky, you’ll sit in front of the grill and be able to watch the cooks do their thing.

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They serve Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, which means the ingredients are layered, instead of mixed together in batter. They have several different types, but all have the same basic ingredients of crepe, dried fish powder, cabbage, noodles, tempura flakes, bean sprouts, pork, seaweed, egg and otafuku sauce.

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There’s two sizes – regular and large. I read other reviews and thought that one regular would be too much for one person, so two of us split a large. To be honest, I watched them cooking and couldn’t easily see a big difference in the two sizes.

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The combo of tasting all the ingredients in every bite with that otafuku sauce had me hooked. They even had bottles of the otafuku sauce and Japanese mayo out so you could help yourself to more.

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We got the large broccoli and shrimp – which will give you exactly four shrimp. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, tasty with that drizzle of mayo on top. As I ate, two thoughts crossed my mind – one was that the okonomiyaki was AMAZING, and second was that it would be perfect with a beer. The next thing I knew, our pancake had completely disappeared and we were pathetically scraping at the leftover bits.

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Service is friendly and they managed to keep my water glass filled (which can be a challenge).

The parking lot is small and frequently full. If you come here during lunchtime during the week, there’s two hour parking in the neighborhood, as well as metered street parking. At night and during the weekends, the neighborhood is restricted, but there’s a big parking lot in the One West Side (where Michael’s and Marshall’s are).

The poster outside asks, “So what does happiness taste like?” Come to Chinchikurin and find out for yourself.

Location – 2119 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Other locations can be seen here.
Website – http://www.chinchikurin-usa.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian-Friendly  – Yes
Vegan Friendly – No
Gluten-Free Options – Just appetizers.

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