Little Tokyo: Checking out the New Sake Dojo DTLA

Martini Nakaminie



Sake Dojo in Little Tokyo just opened in Downtown Los Angeles last week. I’d been anticipating its opening for a few months since I heard about it. Sake Dojo is a sister restaurant to Far Bar.  For my first meal at Sake Dojo, we concentrated on mostly seafood. I’d like to return to get the non-seafood dishes including the karaage (fried chicken), lamb chops and ribs. Plus try more drinks!

Looking over the drinks list, the first one I wanted to try was the Martini Nakaminie. This Japanese twist included dashi pickle juice made by a sake company, Nankai and the American gin, Uncle Val’s.

Martini Nakaminie – Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin, Brovo vermouth rinse, Nankai dashi pickle juice, black pepper and nori rim


assorted oysters


I had to laugh about the half dozen oysters. For a place calling itself a sake and oysters bar, I was a little surprised the oysters weren’t sold by piece. We ordered a dozen so two dishes of half dozen oysters came. I just put them all together for the photo (and we were going to run out of room on our table so we gave back one of the dishes).

pork gyoza


The pork gyoza came with a homemade tag. The wrappers were a bit thicker than I would like but they were overall very tasty and great drinking food.


firefly squid nigiri


Any time I see firefly squid, I order it. We got the sushi and it was our favorite sushi bite.

Little Tokyo

I also tasted the Little Tokyo, a variation on a Manhattan. Using Japanese whisky in a plum flavor as well as sake as the “vermouth” and set off by a Japanese plum that’s been soaked in bourbon, it’s a refreshingly “light” whisky cocktail. I’d say just right for late spring and summer.

Little Tokyo – Akashi ume sake, One Ten sake, Angostura bitters, house bourbon soaked ume

Alaska U-10 scallop


My favorite bite was the scallop. Unfortunately it was $12 for the dish and so I was a bit taken back to find just one scallops. You bet I ate the spinach garnish (or is it the underbed if it was under the scallop)?

salmon yakimono


We also ordered the salmon yakimono which turned out to be two deep fried pieces with yuzu miso and topped with two shishito peppers. My friend doesn’t really enjoy fried food so I ate most of this dish.


assorted sushi


For the sushi menu, we also got the octopus, yellow tail, salmon, gizzard shad, Spanish mackerel. I love gizzard shad but was surprised to find my “piece” were actually several tiny pieces put together like a quilt. Perhaps the fish is that delicate and needs tiny cuts rather than one smooth piece? In any case, it was pretty good but my favorite was still the firefly squid and I always love Spanish mackerel.


miso black cod



I always love miso cod and when I spotted it on the menu, I knew we had to get it. The cod was tender and flaky and just about perfect. Well, it is a bit pricey (though you do get more than the one scallop!).

seafood chahan (fried rice)


It turns out the seafood chahan was a very lovely fried rice of prawns, mussels, calamari and lobster sauce. The description on the menu didn’t indicate there was rice and I don’t speak Japanese. But we were ready for any sort of seafood so we ordered it. It was a warm and comforting way to end our meal before we headed out to the blustery evening.


Sake Dojo

333 E 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012  —  (213) 234-0957


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