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Beach Gourmet: Miyako – No Bailout Needed:

Along the East end of Santa Monica’s Ocean Park, there is to be found a curious little entrance way that reveals on the right, Fruitti Yogo, an emporium of frozen yoghurts, and on the left a Japanese restaurant named Miyako. This past weekend a guest and I paid an early evening visit and discovered a delightful, and notably,excellent value dining venue,

Miyako is a very spacious room and the open feel is enhanced by the fact that upon entry, one is greeted by a large table free space, diplaying bright hardwood floors, and the clean nature of this restaurant. The décor is Japanese-meets-curios store-meets-sports bar, the latter defined by a huge projection TV screen adorning the east wall of this dining room. These screens are now an almost essential feature of all but the most expensive restaurants these days and, I assume, are a testament of the multi-tasking and multi processing society in which we live.

Service is “oh so friendly,” and we were soon presented with menus by our delightful attendant, a young and helpful girl named “Jyung.” Said menus are more than adequately comprehensive with an ample assortment of appetizers, a sizable sushi and sashimi selection, and some hearty choices of Hot Kitchen Food.

The appetizers at Miyako are predominantly sushi, sashimi, and salad inspired, with a trio of Tempura dishes thrown in (not literally!) for good measure. We decided to have a selection of dishes from across the menu board in order to enjoy a more family style experience, and thus opted for the Yellowtail Sashimi (four pieces, $7.95), Spicy Tuna Salad ($7.95), and from the Hot Kitchen Food (is that food from a hot kitchen or…?) the Chicken Plate ($7.50)

Very soon, Jyung was perambulating in an inimitably skippy way to our table with the dishes, first the Yellowtail and Spicy Tuna Salad then quickly followed by the Chicken Plate. Now, one thing that I wish to mention straight off the bat is that apart from the sashimi, which was a standard size, the other two plates were, shall we say, exaggerated portions, and for that read exceedingly generous! Yes, this place is bargain city for sure, and although we had ordered just two appetizers and one main course we felt as if we were dining in pre-recession times, certainly no austerity at Miyako, that’s for sure.

So, large is one thing, but how grand is the taste, I hear you ask (well, I don’t actually hear you, it’s more of a literary license, so to speak). Not diminutive, that’s for sure. The Sashimi was quite nice, nothing special, but not bad at all and rather tender as well. The Spicy Tuna Salad was delicious. A generous mound of tuna gently spiced and with tiny slithers of spring onion it was very tasty. The salad was alive and crisp with lettuce, red cabbage, carrot and avocado it gave the whole dish a bright appearance and with a light soy dressing made for a healthy choice as well.

The Hot Food created in a Moderately Warm Kitchen, namely the Chicken Plate was several slices of semi-seared chicken breast, accompanied by the previously mentioned salad ingredients (sans tuna) edamame and a small portion of noodles. The chicken was covered in a very tasty teriyaki style sauce that had a tinge of sweetness and a very satisfying flavor. Again, a generous portion was served and again, the quality was good.

After enjoying the meal I did have a desire for something sweet to round off the proceedings and was a tad disappointed to see the lack of any desserts on the menu, that is, until I discovered a menu from the adjacent Fruitti Yogo on the table and Jyung informed me that both locations shared an owner. Perfect! And, ten minutes later I had devoured a delicious fat-free Strawberry Yoghurt. It was cold, fresh and tasty and did I say large?

2829 Ocean Park Boulevard.

310.396.5588.

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