testicles of giant octopi? No, they're takoyaki!
I'm so glad to see the Little Tokyo Shopping Mall getting more popular restaurants -- it was so sad when nearly everything was closed up. Luckily Honda-ya is open even on Sunday nights, even during the Superbowl. Yes, some of you watch football, some of us eat octopus balls.
We brought the meat-eating teen along to help sample some dishes. He blithely ordered a $12 Super California Roll with eel which I belatedly realized was twice as much as a normal California roll, but no matter. We also tried the garlicky spinach; skewers of beef, bacon-wrapped sausage and smoky pork belly; kalbi (Korean short ribs), the aforementioned octopus balls or takoyaki, black cod and grilled eggplant.
Honda-ya has a fun quasi-traditional decor -- you can sit at low tables in the tatami room, or watch the chefs around a large counter. The draft beer seems kind of flat, but I think that means you can drink a lot of it. Some dishes were more successful than others -- the takoyaki were very rich but tasty, the cod was perfectly done -- but others suffered in the execution. But with plenty of sakes to choose from, reasonably priced draft beers and a vast menu, it doesn't really matter. Honda-ya is for drinking and nibbling, not for scrutinizing the quality of the food too carefully. If you want better izakaya , go to Iyazoi. If you want to hang out, drink beer and munch on skewers, go to Honda-ya. Plus, free parking in the mall's garage!
333 S. Alameda #314