Tamaen たまえん | Lomita, CA
Woah, Another post!?!? so soon?! That’s right! I’ve realized we’ve been slacking like crazy on the blog, I have recently lit a fire under my ass and started to organize all the pictures of the various places we have been eating at. Sometimes I can’t believe we moved to LA from Boston, what is even more nuts is that Bunny did a full career change and is a software engineer now.
Everyone knows that LA has Korean bbq, damn good KBBQ, in fact I might even go on a limb and say LA has the best Korean BBQ in the USA. I do love a good KBBQ, but what I really really get excited over is Yakiniku. Basically Japanese style Korean bbq. This is where meat quality is king, even though typically the portions are smaller, and has that super JDM attention to detail. I follow a bunch of people on Instagram, I noticed that someone went to this place and posted a picture, it looked damn good so I knew we have to visit this place. I later found out this place is an outpost of their Japan location.
Tamaen is located in a small shopping center in Lomita. You could easily drive past this place and not think about it.
Upon entering, I thought the interior was strange, the lighting was too bright and it almost seems like an office from the 90s. Totally not a typical dim yakiniku joint…. I forgot all about my surroundings after I took a bite into my meat.
This is the American sectioning of the cow, in Asia they are much much more detailed on the different parts of the cow.
They have a sitting section for bigger parties to the right, maybe if we can find more people down to eat here we can sit in this section?
They are known for their dry aged meat. This has been here for a few weeks now.
Various different Sake. On a tangent, funny how sake just means liquor or alcohol of all types in Japanese, but in English we just refer to it as Japanese Liquor….Now you know.
They do it right here. Just like in japan, they use coals. This grill even reminds me of the one Bunny and I went to in Japan.
Difference between Wagyu and Kobe Beef.
game set and match.
Of course, if you’re eating bbq, you need some beer! Bunny pouring me some beer, she must think I like a lot of head on my beer 🙂
We ordered the Tamaen set since we weren’t too sure what to get, this comes with a little bit of everything. They ask you if you want the meat marinated or seasoned with salt and pepper, we opted for salt and pepper. This reminded us of Japan, since those were the only options we had. Typically at Korean BBQ joints, it’s all marinated. With the salt and pepper, this lets the quality of the beef really shine through.
The set arrives. I like how it’s neatly arranged with placards of what type of beef it is.
The aged ribeye.
I was skeptical, but every piece of beef was delicious here. Sometimes at other bbq restaurants not everything is a hit, but this place did not miss a beat.
I’m getting so hungry writing this post.
Our plan of attack was to start with the beef sushi. This is eaten raw and it absolutely dissolved in my mouth, I would like to note they used real grated wasabi root, not that shit in a tube. Just a bit of shoyu and it was gone before we knew it.
Outside Skirt, so good…… so soft, it’s unreal.
It was a bit awkward serving 3 pieces of meat for 2 people…..after that first bite, you just want another…..
Cube cut Ribeye, what was the most impressive is that this “big” chunk of beef was tender and not tough at all. Typically a piece chunk of beef like this is really chewy,but this was ohhhhh sooo softo.
I like beef tongue, it’s one of my favorite. I can’t get enough beef tongue, lengua is the best in tacos. This came with more than 3 pieces, bunny liked it, even though she typically does not like beef tongue.
Finally the ribeye. You can tell this was aged by the color. You think aging beef would dry it out, but it marbles that fat a bit, and when you cook it for only a few seconds and eat it. The flavor and texture are out of this world…… This was our favorite out of the batch, it was so incredibly soft and the flavor is sublime, like eating a perfect piece of cured meat without the dryness and being overly salty, the fat is what takes it home.
The waitress let us know how long to cook each piece of meat for.
We ordered a Korean specialty, Yu Gae Jang, Japanese style. This was okay, it lacked the depth of the authentic Korean dish…. Come here for the BBQ instead.
They were running a promotion if you showed them an instagram post of their store you get free icecream. The icecream was okay, tasted cheap.
So far it is one of our favorite Japanese Yakiniku places in LA. The portions are Japanese sized, so if you come here expecting an American sized meal, you might leave hungry. If you come here with an appreciation for quality beef, you will leave happy. The beef is not Kobe beef, we’ve had authentic Kobe beef, and we think the quality here is just a good, the person who is in charge of beef selection here really knows their stuff. It is expensive for the amount of food you receive compared to other Yakiniku places like Tsuruhashi or Manpuku We don’t eat as much as we used to, guess we’re getting old….. so we left full. I will definitely come back in the future.
♥ terrible, ♥♥ below average, ♥♥♥ average, ♥♥♥♥ good, ♥♥♥♥♥ excellent
Tamaen Japanese BBQ & Steak
1953 Pacific Coast Hwy,
Lomita, CA 90717