Eat This Now: Oden at Morinoya
If you get tired of American comfort food, you might consider comfort food from Japan -- by which we do not mean, at least at the moment, ramen and curry rice. One of the most comforting of Japanese comfort food dishes is oden, a bowl of broth in which has been simmered many things, notably fish cakes and eggs, tofu and daikon and other vegetables. In Japan you can order oden in restaurants, buy sets of the components in grocery stores and, perhaps best of all, find steaming tubs of the stuff in convenience stores. Yep, walk into any Tokyo 7-Eleven (there are lots of them) and you'll find, next to packets of baumkuchen, simmering vats of oden dangerously close to the cash registers.
A. Scattergood Oden with daikon and konjac at Morinoya
Sadly, no oden at the 7-Eleven in Los Angeles. But go to Morinoya, newly opened in the Little Osaka neighborhood along Sawtelle, and you'll find bowls of oden far, far better than those you'd get in any convenience store, even one in Harajuku.
Run by chef Takayuki Morishita (Mitsuki, Yuu, Place Yuu), Morinoya opened in mid-April, serving yakitori, hot pots, noodles, sushi and sashimi -- and oden. The oden, which is served only at dinner, is composed of a lovely light broth and any number, depending on how many items you order, of the usual things one finds in oden: daikon, fish cakes, eggs, suji niku (charmingly billed as "fibrous meat"), tofu and konjac, a traditional vegetable that's kind of like a cross between a plant and an eraser.
Morinoya is located in the second floor of the same massive complex on the corner of Sawtelle and Olympic that houses the utterly wonderful sushi restaurant Kiriko. Have fun parking. They began serving lunch yesterday. (Remember, no oden for lunch. Come back for dinner.)