We approached Osawa just before they opened at 5pm and there was already a line at the door. Despite the rain, these people wanted to be the first in the door.
Osawa is a Japanese restaurant located in Old Town Pasadena. Owned by Sayuri Tachibe and her husband Chef Shigefumi Tachibe (former corporate executive chef of the Chaya Restaurant Group), Osawa offers something for everyone. There is sushi, shabu shabu, sakana (or otsumami), udon and sukiyaki.
You can sit at tables, at the sushi bar or at the shabu shabu bar. Of course you can order anything from the menu from any seat, except shabu shabu. If that is what you want, you will want to be sure to sit in the section with the heated plates.
As it was our first visit, and we were hungry, we wanted to try everything. We took our seats at the shabu shabu bar and got started.
The first dishes we ordered were sushi. The menu is fairly standard with choices of sushi, sashimi and rolls, all simply prepared.
We then ordered some of the otsumami which are Japanese snacks. These snack plates are small which allowed us to order a few but it was hard to chose from the menu. There are a few items regularly available but for the majority of the otsumami, they change almost nightly.
Crunchy Japanese Cucumber
Seafood Cigar with to-ban-jan mayo
Yellowtail Carpaccio with Jalapeno ponzu
Ahi Tuna Tataki, avocado, popped wild rice, sesame ponzu
Before we got too full, we ordered the shabu shabu. You can choose between rib eye and prime rib eye, tonkotsu silver pork and king salmon with spicy miso broth for between $19-$32. But, if you really want to splurge, order the wagyu beef from saga for $89.
We were so full but Sayuri Tachibe insisted we try the desserts and she was right! Not too sweet, interesting flavors and the perfect ending to the meal.
Black Sesame Panna Cotta is creamy and smooth with a nutty flavor.
Kabocha Zenzai – A squash puree with mochi and red beans in the middle, it is not too sweet and perfectly smooth.
Yam Brulee – It is exactly what is sounds like. The yam was hollowed out and whipped and sweetened and then put back into the skin of the yam, bruleed and topped with vanilla ice cream.
Osawa is a restaurant that exemplifies the Japanese art of hospitality with attentive, friendly service. Between the food and the service, it is no wonder people line up to get in and then fill the seats.
77 N. Raymond Ave.