I was trying to figure out where to meet up with my girlfriend and her boyfriend, as we like to meet up about every two months for dinner with my boyfriend. Since we live about 25 miles apart, Huntington Village is usually where we end up. Her son happens to be working at the Kura Barn in Huntington Village, and so I suggested that we go there. Turns out my boyfriend’s parents were going there in the 80s and his mom said she took cooking lessons there. It’s a family owned and run restaurant and now it’s still part of the same family; only it’s the cousin of the original owner who is running the place now. It’s a very cozy Japanese restaurant, and you can see their menu on the website:
Let me start out by saying I ordered way too much food! I knew about Hijiki from having it at another Japanese restaurant years ago – it’s a black seaweed and and tofu salad that doesn’t look appealing at all, but I love it. That was filling in itself, and then I ordered the shrimp & scallop teriyaki for my dinner and also “upsized” my meal (thank you McDonald’s) to add the classic Japanese house salad with the ginger dressing (love that dressing) and also miso soup. After finishing the miso soup, Hijiki salad and house salad, I was almost done. I probably barely had room for dinner. However, my girlfriend got their lobster sushi; this isn’t listed on the regular menu. They have a little book of stuff you can order, and this is a picture book of food (like a mini photo album). It has appetizers and entrees – she ordered her lobster sushi from the little book. The portion wasn’t enough to fill her up and so I ended up sharing some of my Teriyaki with her, and my boyfriend had their Sushi Kura Barn, which was a huge portion. He’s never full on sushi, and he had too much. So, he gave her some of his food. My girlfriend’s boyfriend had the chicken Teriyaki and he finished that pretty quickly.
This place seems much more authentic than most Japanese restaurants that I’ve been to – I’m not a big fan of hibachi. They have dishes like Sukiyaki, a Japanese type of stew or hot pot, which I haven’t had, but my boyfriend’s father had made that for him when he was a kid. His dad was a karate sensei and had been to Japan a few times; this was someone who really knew about the culture first hand. So, this place offers dishes beyond the usual fare at most Japanese places, and yet I chickened out and stayed in my food comfort zone and had Teriyaki. I know we will be back there, and next time I’m getting one of the hot pot stews or sushi, but not Teriyaki again. That’s what I order most of the time, and that’s just staying too safe.
The service there was great, but it also helped that our bus boy was my friend’s son. My girlfriend took every opportunity she could to stuff dollar bills into her son’s apron as he came over to pour us more water or refresh our green tea. It’s like he was a stripper with all those dollar bills she was throwing his way.
The owner was very warm and friendly and came over to say hello as we were leaving. The cozy house setting does make you feel like a guest for a family dinner without all of the typical family baggage, and yet the seating wasn’t cramped like many Asian restaurants can be. I can’t wait to return.