by janet on June 22nd, 2007

The girls took me to Musha for my hatch day last December. Back then, the blog and my camera were both new, and I was much too wasted off of sake to take any decent pictures. So when we decided to go for Sharisa’s birthday I was on a mission. A diehard, take focused-yet-no-flash pictures under terribly low light mission.

I was a bit late which meant I got to sit down and immediately start eating the dishes others had ordered. Win-win. Our first was the Green Beans Salad – boiled green eans to the perfect crispness, tossed woth sesame-peanuts dressing topped with crisp bacon. I’m transcribing the descriptions exactly as they are spelled and grammatificated.

I created a small microcosm of the dish on my plate. As promised, the green eans were perfectly crisp. Woth the dressing, which was appropriately light-touch, and thinly sliced radishes, it was ravishing. I didn’t even need the bacon (gasp!) for this to be totally satisfying.

Next was the Aski – wok sauteed asparagus & assorted mushrooms of shiitske, shimeji, enoki, etc twith soy sauce, butter, and garlic. I think this hand-written-looking menu is actually not, and that the typos are merely evidence of a careless typist. Because there’s no way a bonafide Japanese person would spell it “shiitske,” but they might type it that way. Just like we aren’t good at driving, we might not be so good at typing, especially on an American keyboard.

Others raved over the asparagus, which was cooked with the same skill twith which the eans were cooked in the previous dish. I was dissatisfied because it was a tad salty and there were no enoki mushrooms in sight – inexcusable LIES!

Next was the Negitoro Tuna Croquette – minced tuna with chopped green onion, garlic, pepper, & hijiki seaweed, flattened & breaded to deep fry, it’s Japanese version of popular Spanish tapas dish served with graded daikon-mayo sauce.

I don’t know what “grade” they gave the daikon-mayo sauce, but I gave it an A+++!

You see, since I’m Japanese, I get to make fun of the Japanese. You dig?

This is one of the classic Musha dishes, along with the MFC (Musha Fried Chicken – chicken marinated with soy sauce, sake, ginger & garlic served with 2 kinds of grated daikon radish & ponzu sauce), which we also got but I did not photograph. Fried + mayo = good no matter what, and while the texture of the tuna resembled hamburger more than anything else, this dish disappeared in no time flat.

Also not photographed was my favorite dish of the night, the Takotama – “this is the Musha’s signature dish two layers omelette with chopped octpus, leeks, red ginger and bonito broth to ghives you the taste also covered with the original thick dark sauce.” Good choice, Sharisa. It’s barfood in Japan, but exotic in this context, and the sweet and savory “thick dark sauce” a perfect complement to the yakisoba noodles that are nestled within the two egg layers. They didn’t skimp on the octopus, which was not chewy at all and a great textural counterpoint.

Anyway, the next photographed dish was Musha’s Risotto – Italian dish with Japanese creation Lapanese grain brown rice cooked with chicken broth then panfried with chopped prosutto, onion, & touch of soy milk serve in a bowl of whole cheese to your table. Debbie said it best when she said that she wished it wasn’t brown rice. The whole concotion should have been smooth and creamy, and yet the rice made it way chewy/crunchy and it took away from the decadence of the cheese and milky soy. Also, it was too salty.

Above is the Ebimayo – a bitsized shrimp tempra glazed with Musha’s original sweet & spicy mayo sauce when sweet & spicy matched with tempra texture, you’ll say “AHH~”. I’m super allergic to shrimp, but others all around me definitely were saying AHH~. The dish was also the prettiest of the night, don’t you think?

Next was Itame Somen – Japanese angel hair noodle called “somen” pan fried wiyh garlic, sesame oil, garlic chive, sake, & soy sauce one of our original creation. Musha has problems with the word “with.” Three times misspelled, each in a different way.

This was salty, too, but the slices of garlic rocked! And the texture of somen is even better than angel hair, I think.

At the eleventh hour, Sharisa ordered Anago Meshi – glazed sea eel, hijiki seaweed & mitsuba leaf mixed rice then grilled in a hot stone bowl topped with sea eel, “nori” seaweed, & egg. I forgot that she likes eel as a dessert, since it’s sweet. I lied before – THIS was my favorite dish of the night. The bits of eel were interspersed at perfect intervals among the sweet rice; this sweetness was further enhanced by the hijiki.

The only thing that I didn’t like was the reason why I hated anago as a child. Eel bones are so thin that eels are virtually impossible to de-bone, and thus are not. So there were thin, razor-sharp bones hidden throughout the rice, which brought back nightmares of getting eel bones stuck in my throat as a child. The common remedy for this situation recommended by parents is to eat a mouthful of rice without chewing it, ostensibly to catch the bone and scrape it away into your stomach acid. This never worked, and one time I had to take a pair of tweezers and tweeze out a bone from halfway down my throat. Hott.

ANYWAY, we wouldn’t let Sharisa go without a real dessert, and so the chef sent out a chocolate cake-ish type of thing. The cake was standard, but I really liked that they turned out EVERY SINGLE LIGHT in the restaurant (some people got honestly scared) and then lit the candle in the pitch black. Very special and very romantic.

Musha finishes your meal with their version of a happy ending: hot tea (I think hoji?) with a crunchy umeboshi at the bottom. No handjob aside, Musha’s service is excellent from start to finish – a GREAT place to celebrate a birthday, because you feel so coddled. How long till December?

424 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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One Response to “Musha”

  1. […] gang of four (me, Liz, Dita, and LL who got me, once, a T-shirt from Musha so you KNOW he’s legit), recently reunited in Las Vegas for a conference after half a year […]

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