If you’re male, you may want to limit the amount of liquid you drink at Yuko Kitchen. Otherwise, you may find yourself climbing a ladder to reach the bathroom. Yes, at this Japanese restaurant on the Miracle Mile, the only way to the men’s room is by scaling a ladder. (There’s also an all-gender restroom available on the ground floor.)
This little oasis may only be less than a block away from the hustle and bustle of Wilshire Blvd, but Yuko Kitchen seems worlds away. Brightly painted murals decorate the exterior, with plants circling their two outdoor patios. With incense burning (at least during our visit), its vibe was more like a hippy vegan joint than Asian restaurant.
The menu covers your typical Japanese dishes like teriyaki chicken, rolls, udon and rice bowls to salads and “bowl-litos,” which they bill as “Japanese-style burritos” wrapped in seaweed.
Portions are quite generous. The Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl ($11.25) contained smelt eggs, cucumber, radish, rice, greens and green onions. It tasted fresh and healthy.
Likewise, the Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl ($10) was massive. It was way more food than my daughter could handle. Chunks of all white meat chicken in a very light teriyaki sauce came on top of salad greens and rice. Since the sauce wasn’t particularly flavorful, the dish was kind of bland, though the salad dressing on the greens helped it.
I had been eyeing the Spicy Miso Beef Bowl-lito that the girl sitting next to me was eating. It looked gigantic (though, maybe it was because it was a little girl) and delicious. In an effort to be good, I opted for the Chicken Bowl-lito ($10.50), which had the same teriyaki chicken, cucumber, and rice, tightly wrapped in seaweed, with a side of spicy mayo (probably a siracha mayo mix). They were out of avocado and substituted it with greens. The bowl-lito was tiny compared to the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl. The chicken breast was pretty flavorless (I’m a dark meat fan) and needed that boost from the mayo.
As with many Asian restaurants these days, they serve boba beverages, and even have a Boba Happy Hour from 4pm to 7pm, where all boba drinks are $3. If you’re headed to LACMA or La Brea Tar Pits, Yuko Kitchen a great alternative to the over-priced dining options you’ll find there. The menu is a little hit and miss, but overall it’s a decent bang for your buck. Just watch your boba intake, and you’ll be fine.
Location – 5484 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Website – http://www.yukokitchen.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes