Enjoy premium Japanese shabu-shabu at Tensho in Little Tokyo Los Angeles
418 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
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Head Chef Takumi Kawano with king crab and oysters
It’s cold season in Los Angeles and the time when you may be desiring a hot, soulful dinner. Hot pot is one type of cuisine that brings comfort and warmth to many Asian people. This upscale restaurant in the Little Tokyo neighbourhood of Downtown LA serves the Japanese version of hot-pot: shabu-shabu.
Tensho is run by Head Chef Takumi Kawano, whose experience comes from working in fine dining establishments in Australia and Japan. The restaurant is small and cozy, with a combination of tables for group seating and a marbled counter for individual meals. The decor is understated, homely and features wooden finishings commonly seen in Japanese architecture.
Different courses are on offer, with more pricey ones offering assorted seafood (like king crab, scallops, and oyster) and A5 wagyu meat. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese phrase representing the sound “swish-swish”, which is how you are supposed to cook the thinly sliced pieces of beef. You “swish” the beef briefly in the pot of broth in front of you (it may be communal), and then dip it into plates of house-made sauce. Close your eyes after and take a moment to relish the taste. Shabu-shabu will involve fresh vegetables too, which are a healthy balance to the meal.
The service at Tensho is exemplary. You recieve a warm towel at the beginning, after a traditional welcoming phrase of “irasshaimase“. Plates are served from in front of you with open palm gestures, showing the genuineness of the chef’s desire to introduce their cooking. If you’re seated at the counter, it’s a joy to watch the precision and delicacy of the chefs’ cooking.
Your meal at Tensho will involve 4 key stages. 3 different kinds of appetisers are served (in our pictures you can see the bluefin tuna, chawanmushi savoury egg custard, and crab cake soup). This is followed by the plate of classic shabu-shabu ingredients: thinly sliced meat and vegetables (and seafood if you’ve chosen the particular course). After this, you have a choice of udon noodles or zosui (Japanese rice soup). To sweeten things up, there are different choices of dessert at the end.
If you’re looking for a restaurant in Los Angeles to impress a date, Tensho is a great choice. If you’re seated at the counter, throughout the night you can converse while marvelling at the presentation and techniques of the chefs. The dishes created are Japanese cuisine artistry, with underlying flavours that are refined and memorable.
For business meetings and celebratory occasions, Tensho is also a place to impress. There is a wide selection of drinks, including beer, Japanese sake (in warm / cold / organic varieties), red & white wine, and champagne.