Little Tokyo: High Tech Ordering at Kaba Japanese Robata
Kaba took over the old Flying Pig space in Little Tokyo. They transformed the modern space to something out of an old Japanese izakaya. However, they didn’t go that far into ancient times as they employ an ipad ordering system.
I met a friend who was in town for the recent Hello Kitty convention and we decided on Kaba mostly because other restaurants in Little Tokyo were terribly packed. It was a relief to be seated quickly on this cold Fall evening.
We were served complimentary edmame to munch on while we scrolled through the menu on the ipad. A server will walk you though the ordering system if you need help.
We decided to get the hamachi (yellowtail) appetizer to start. The fish was very fresh and boded well for additional orders. Sadly they do not have nigiri but had a few different roll options.
I had high hopes for the pork wrapped in seaweed and served with a teriyaki-like sauce. Sadly the pork was on the drier side. And the seaweed quickly became mushy under the teriyaki dousing.
Kaba calls itself a robata joint so we got the combination robata. The veggies seemed more steamed than grill with the obviously dry looking asparagus and mushrooms. However the beef, shrimp and fish were in various degrees pretty good. I didn’t enjoy the sauces that came with the grilled skewers, however. Stick to regular soy or provided masuda sauce. The others reminded me of chimichurri (but more oily) and a somewhat tasteless fruity salsa.
I can’t help but love fried chicken. Kaba does a good job with their kaarage. It comes with a salad and a generous amount of ranch dressing. That was a bit odd and I would have liked a lighter Japanese dressing; perhaps ponzu or a sesame ginger dressing.
Considering our hamachi success, we picked out two easy rolls. The spicy tuna came with fresh avocado which I liked. My friend found these a bit spicier than what she expected for Japanese rolls. “It’s not Japanese spicy.”
The rainbow roll featured salmon and tuna over the California roll. I can’t recall the last time I had a rainbow roll but this was the best one in recent memory.
Other tables had arrived while we ate and their purpose seemed to be taking advantage of happy hour pricing on booze. I’ll have to check back for happy hour then.