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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Japon Bistro - Pasadena

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 1

A week after making my own Hawaiian Salmon Poke and Spicy Tuna Poke, I was still craving poke. It was the tail-end of DineLA and while perusing the list of restaurants, I saw that Japon Bistro in Pasadena offered a three-course lunch set for $15 that included poke.


Or so I thought.

But, let's backtrack to my first visit in June 2010 with Gourmet Pigs.

I know people say not to order spicy tuna rolls because they're chopped bits of tuna, but I like what I like, OK? This spicy tuna roll, $7, was fine, although a bit overpriced. Hmm. In hindsight, since we were sitting at the sushi bar, I'm surprised Gourmet Pigs let me order something so pedestrian.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 2

We ordered aji (Japanese Spanish mackerel), $7.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 3

Kampachi (Japanese amberjack), $7.

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Salmon, $6.

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Another table ordered sea urchin and I noticed it was served fresh in the shell. Fancy! But we had a few more dishes coming, so we passed on ordering one ourselves.

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Spider roll, $12.

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Hamachi kama (Japanese yellowtail collar), $10.

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Gourmet Pigs had a $40 off coupon, which shaved 2/3rds off our bill. As it was, while the sushi tasted good, I felt like it was a bit much for the portions and quality. I mean, except for the yellowtail collar, none of the sushi was anything that I couldn't get elsewhere, and for less.

And there the pictures languished for four years, until I noticed the poke salad on the restaurant's DineLA menu. I asked if my brother wanted to join me for lunch, but he didn't reply, so I hied off by myself.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 9

I asked the waitress whether I should get the $10 poke salad on the regular menu or the $15 DineLA poke salad with an additional two appetizers. She said the DineLA menu was the better option since I get the appetizers too.

The picture can't really portray just how small was the poke salad. It wasn't even the size of my fist. And I don't even have big hands! Barely bigger than the dipping saucers in the background for comparison.

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The view from the other side wasn't much better. Take away the cucumber and the seaweed, and there was very little sashimi. It was good, but there was so little of it. And this was the entree!

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One of the appetizers I ordered was gyozas. Nicely fried.

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I also ordered tatsuta-age chicken, the difference with Chicken Kara-age (Japanese Fried Chicken) seems to be that the former is marinated before being battered and fried, but since that's how I make the latter, guess it's the same thing to me! Nicely fried, although a very small portion.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 13

All this for $15. Hmm. That was a pretty expensive snack.

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And I was still hungry.

So I ordered a lunch side of spicy tuna rolls, $3.50. Now, I was finally full.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 15

But my eyes are always bigger than my belly, and I had also ordered a Nabeyaki Udon (Japanese Hot Pot Thick Noodle Soup in a Metal Pot), $10. This is one of my favorite udons with its thick slurpy noodles in a savory broth with crispy tempura shrimp. I ate just a bit, and packed the rest to-go.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 16

So the nabeyaki udon salvaged what was a lackluster lunch, until I got home and uploaded the pictures. That's when I noticed that I was charged $11.

Japon Bistro - Pasadena 17

But look at the menu; $10.

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I know it's only $1, but hey, these things matter!

All in all, I was reminded why I didn't rush to revisit Japon Bistro in so many years. Later, my brother finally responded to my lunch invitation, and said he had eaten there before and wasn't very impressed.

I would recommend going for lunch if you want to order basic sushi since it's a better value.

Other sushi posts:
Kabuki Japanese Restaurant - Pasadena (Foothill Blvd.)
Kabuki Japanese Restaurant - Rancho Cucamonga
Kishi Japanese Restaurant - Upland
RA Sushi Bar Restaurant - Tustin
Sushi Komasa - Los Angeles (Little Tokyo)
Yama Seafood L.A. - San Gabriel
Yoshida Restaurant and Sushi Bar - San Marino
Zen Buffet - San Gabriel

Japon Bistro
927 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91106
Tuesday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturday 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Sunday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

1 year ago today,
2 years ago today,
3 years ago today,
4 years ago today, Pho Cuon Ha Noi (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Rolls Hanoi-Style).
5 years ago today, Tiki-Ti - Los Angeles.
6 years ago today, Free Movies: Old Pasadena Film Festival - Pasadena (Old Town).
7 years ago today, Bong Bi Nhoi Tom Chien (Vietnamese Shrimp-Stuffed Deep-fried Squash Blossoms).

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