3 Fleur
Average check per person $25-$35
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Little Tokyo

Mid-City: 310 N Carrollton Ave. 504-485-5658. Map.
Casual.
AE DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
All the Little Tokyo restaurants are different. The one in Mid-City is the most atmospheric and largest. It’s also the only Little Tokyo offering teppanyaki grills, although the food from these is ordinary and expensive, with chefs who put on a show that you’ve probably already seen. More interesting are the old-school Japanese dishes we enjoyed before sushi took over: sukiyaki, shabu-shabu (both fondue-style dishes prepared at the table) yakitori (grilled meats and seafoodson skewers). The sushi bar is also well-managed.

WHAT’S GOOD A knowledgeable and insistent sushi lover can press the chefs into revealing which selections are of particular interest. They do indeed bring in a great deal of beautiful fish here, but that may not be what you get in a routine combo order. On several occasions I’ve had items that were new to me. The cooked side of the menu does good work with mollusks baked on their shells.

BACKSTORY
Little Tokyo is a loose local chain of Japanese restaurants, some franchised and some not. Yusuke Kawara opened the original location on Causeway Boulevard in 1986, making it one of the city’s first sushi bars. The Mid-City branch took over the former Chateaubriand Steakhouse following the hurricane. (A long time ago, it was a Shoney’s, but you’d never know that now.)

DINING ROOM
The dining rooms are large to begin with, and the wall of windows adds to the spaciousness. One of them is largely devoted to teppanyaki tables, where the chefs play their usual games with what winds up being ordinary grilled food. A large sushi bar dominates another room, and the bar–windows on two sides–is pleasant for a cocktail or light dining.

DOZEN BEST DISHES, DESCRIBED
Baked salmon or scallops.
Yellowtail neck.
Beef negimaki with asparagus or onions.
Salmon, tuna, or beef tataki.
Sunomono salad with seafood.
Steamed monkfish pate.
Shu-mai or gyoza (steamed dumplings filled with a variety of meats or seafoods).
Sushi and sashimi, particularly specials.
Burning Man roll.
Hibachi: steak, chicken, shrimp, lobster, calamari.
Sukiyaki
Shabu-Shabu.

FOR BEST RESULTS
If you let the sushi chefs know that you’re open to trying the unusual, they’ll start pulling out some extraordinary fish.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Not all the sushi chefs are adept. I found a bone in a piece of toro once.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service
  • Value
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +1

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Good for business meetings
  • Many private rooms
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open some holidays
  • Open all afternoon
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • Easy, nearby parking
  • Reservations honored promptly

6 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Dennis Friedenbloom on October 14, 2014

    This area is way behind times as far as Japanese food is concerned. I have been eating excellent Japanese food in my native Sacramento and in San Francisco since 1955. Their are also great Japanese eateries in Honolulu. The only good Japanese restaurants I have encountered are run by Japanese, most in this area are not authentic and not opereated by Japanese.

    • Tom Fitzmorris on October 14, 2014

      You are surprised by this? What city in America has a longer and greater Japanese (and other Asian) history than San Francisco? If you consider that a sin on the part of New Orleans, then please also confess that the SF area has nothing in the way of real Creole and Cajun food. The Bay Area crawfish blow. Pacific shrimp are tasteless compared with those from the Gulf. The soft-shell crabs you find in San Francisco come from–hold onto something –Louisiana!

      Of course, this reasoning is absurd. Eating the food of the region you find yourself in is the way to eat worldwide. Would you call Bangkok a culinary wasteland because its Tuscan food is not very good? Come on.

      And the authenticity thing is a shuck. The large differences from one Japanese restaurant to another in Tokyo gainsays any claim to authenticity. All chefs say that their food is the only really traditional, correct version of their traditions, and what the guy at the other end of the block is good, but not authentic. Again, this is something found in cooking worldwide.

      But I hope you made yourself feel good during the a few smug moments inm which you wrote your unreasonable criticism.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Dennis Friedenbloom on October 14, 2014

    It it appears Mr Fitzmorris, that you took my comments personally, they were not meant to be personal. Of course you have great food in NOLA and surely the best crawfish and creole food. We dined mostly in Sacramento, which is not the goumet destiny that San Francisco is. My comments were not smug, they were simply observations from our 16 months here. japanese food happens to be my favorite and I was hoping to be advised where I might find the best. Apparently you have a huge ego and there was no intention bruise it. I am not a food expert and do not pretend to be. As a merchant marine captain I have been to Japan many times and enjoy the food and culture. We were considerig attending one of your dinners but are probably not welcome now.

    • Dennie Crane on October 15, 2014

      Smug is an understatement!

    • Tom Fitzmorris on October 15, 2014

      No, I didn’t take it personally, and if you were to come to the Eat Club, I probably won’t remember any of this, and even if I did you would not be made in any way uncomfortable. This is a forum for just the sort of disagreement you and I have. Disagreement here is acceptable.

      But, really: doesn’t “This area is way behind times as far as Japanese food is concerned” read like a slap in the face? Is it not bvious that we wouldn have Japanese food as good as you’d find in California? No offense taken, though.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

      • Dennis Friedenbloom on October 16, 2014

        Very tasteful and gracious reply. The only food I really know well is Japanese and I love it. We will accept the invitation to eat at one of your dinners and try to keep quiet and enjoy the meal. Of course NOLA has some of the best food in the world. I lived 68 years in California and did not really realyze that the japanese cuisine there was so much better than other parts of the USA. It is also less expensive. maybe because there is so much competition and so many local japanese residents.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?