I'd never thought that there would be a Japanese Izakaya in the heart of Koreatown, so it was a nice surprise to discover the place. What I found out about the owner and the restaurant was also intriguing, and motivated me to give my support.
Besides... I've been having a craving for ramen (and curry again) these days.. So swamped with work lately I haven't eaten ramen for quite some time. Now's the time!
Isa Ramen Izakaya
740 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
The owner Isa Moinuddin has rather unique background. He was born in Bangladesh and when he was 9 years old, his family moved to Japan. He was raised and went to school in Japan and later got married to a Japanese lady whose last name Isa 伊佐 he adopted when he was naturalized. He says his Bangladesh first name is too long to pronounce, so he goes by Isa-san.
Being raised most of his life in Japan, his mother tongue now has become Japanese and I was really touched by his passion to serve Japanese food in the heart of K-town. Yes, K-town has lacked a Japanese restaurant owned by Japanese. With his background, Japanese citizenship and heart belonging to Japan I have no problem saying that this place is truly a Japanese-owned restaurant, and what I really really like about Isa-san is that he takes care of so many young Japanese people as well. He says he wants to do some 恩返し- return the favor he's got from many Japanese while he was in Japan. Who wouldn't want to support him if you're from Japan like myself?
At this restaurant, everybody is Japanese - chefs, kitchen stuff, servers, cashier... the Japanese workers just love Isa-san and keep bringing more people.)
They serve all sorts of Izakaya food, but what should be noted is that the special curry Isa-san makes - it takes 5 days. You know the Japanese love curry, but having Bangladesh background he adds more flavor))
This place certainly gives me some nostalgic feeling - just like Izakayas that I was hanging around in my youth in Takadano Baba and Shinjuku, if you know what I mean..)
Thank you very much, Isa-san, for opening this place for us to be able to get together late at night after hard working day again. 今晩もお世話になります、よろしく！））