Santa Monica, CA

Fresh Sushi At Izakaya Osen

Dayana Sabatin

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Izakaya Osen is the perfect lunch or dinner spot, especially when you're trying to get some fresh and delicious sushi.

THE OWNER/FOUNDER, CHEF DAMON CHO GRADUATED FROM LE CORDON BLEU IN CALIFORNIA. WITH OVER 18 YEARS OF RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE AS A CHEF AT NOBU, FOUR SEASONS AND TAO TO LEARN THE CORE VALUES OF THE CULINARY FIELD AND GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. HE CONTINUOUSLY WORKED HARD TO DEVELOP QUALITY RECIPES.
OPENING OPENED HIS FIRST JAPANESE RESTAURANT IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 2009, THE RESTAURANT BECAME A GREAT SUCCESS. IT LEAD TO THE OPENING OF ITS SECOND LOCATION IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 2012. SINCE THEN, HE HAS STRIVED TO SHARE HIS BELIEF THAT RESTAURANTS SHOULD NOT ONLY BE WHERE PEOPLE EAT, BUT WHERE PEOPLE GATHER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR QUALITY TIME. WITH THAT IN MIND, HE OPENED A JAPANESE RESTAURANT: OSEN IZAKAYA IN 2017 IN SILVER LAKE. AND THEN TWO YEARS LATER, IN 2019, HE OPENED KAPPO OSEN IN DOWNTOWN SANTA MONICA.

For starters, get the miso soup and edamame. It's the best way to start your meal and will give you something light and delicious to snack on while you look at all the other great options Izakaya offers.

The shishito peppers are incredible, the gyozas are fantastic, and the spicy tuna on crispy rice is to die for.

If you come with a large group then definitely indulge in the appetizers because they're all great, especially the seabass croquette and jidori chicken karaage.

I'm also a big fan of the sashimi salad and Japanese sunomono seaweed salad with pickled cucumber.

If you're not in the mood for sushi, try one of their signature bowls like the Blue Crab Uni Bowl with blue crab, sea urchin, caviar, and sesame oil over rice. Or, their Toro Uni Bowl with tuna belly, sea urchin, shiso leaf, caviar, and sesame oil over rice.

My personal favorite is the yellowtail jalapeno bowl with yellowtail sashimi topped with serrano, cilantro, ponzu, garlic, and olive oil.

A few favorite handrolls: yellowtail cilantro, spicy tuna, and king crab.

They also serve wine and sake.

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