Ebaes expertly blends pop culture and traditional Japanese cuisine into a fine L.A. dining experience
March 12, 2015
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The blinding brightness of a typical March day in Southern Calif. contrasts greatly with Ebaes’ glossy, dark wooden exterior, giving the hotspot an ominous appearance. Fortunately, a welcoming chalkboard saying “Come on in, we’re open!” in bright colors makes the restaurant more inviting.
Inside, the communal table in the center, the bar to the right and the individual tables and chairs to the left all contribute to the restaurant’s unique layout. White Japanese lanterns with ornate decorations hang from the ceiling and another bouquet of colorful lanterns illuminate the dimly-lit space. A sprawling mural fills the front wall, exhibiting a mix of various anime creatures, including Hello Kitty, cultural symbols of Japan such as the cherry blossom, and even a cartoon man trying to hit on the girl across the bar. R&B-style Japanese dance music also plays from the speakers, keeping consistent with the restaurant’s fusion theme. The friendly attitude of Ebaes’ fedora-toting staff reflects the whimsical atmosphere of the eatery.
Ebaes regulars rave over the outstanding menu. Many choose to initiate their meals with a Thai-iced tea, a spiced, creamy beverage presented in a mason jar sporting cute sayings such as “me gustas tu…” and “diva.” Customer favorites include the seared salmon roll, California roll and the Original Ebaes Ramen. The Original Ramen, notably made with coconut milk, incorporates a dynamic blend of tangy and spicy flavors. The shrimp, the mushrooms and the noodles add a chewy texture, perfectly complimenting the potent broth. A zesty Ponzu sauce wonderfully counters the smokiness of the salmon roll, and the California roll integrates various textures without flaw.
At the bar area, you can find a red box filled with multi-colored, multi-patterned strips of folded paper, otherwise known to various Yelp-users as the “Wishing Box.” Those who desire to make a wish write one down within the folded paper, and then tie it onto burlap strings dangling from the ceiling. Ebaes also possesses a quirky selfie-kit, filled with goofy props. However, one of the most amusing features of the restaurant unassumingly lies within the girl’s restroom, which to some customers, could otherwise be referred to as a magical fantasyland. To the amusement of Ebaes’ younger visitors, one of the bathroom stalls is decorated with illustrations of Hello-Kitty, and to the amusement of their moms and older sisters, the larger stall is decorated top-to-bottom with life-size pictures of Zac Efron and Channing Tatum.
To the surprise of many customers, the restaurant is named Ebaes after the owner Eric Bae, with no connection to the “bae” phenomenon. Still, the restaurant receives a lot of business on Valentines’ Day. Despite the drive between suburban Calabasas and this downtown hotspot, Ebaes is an electrically vivacious and delicious restaurant, perfect for celebrations or for just grabbing a quick bite to eat with your “bae.”
2314 South Union Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90007