A California Izakaya By Way Of Venice - MTN [Thoughts + Pics]



One of my worst meals in recent memory was at MTN.


Hi @ipsedixit,

I can definitely see that. Our first visit was so ho-hum / disappointing, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give it another try. Thanks.

1 Like

Must have been really bad for you to consider not giving them a 2nd chance. :scream:

All was not lost.

Ended up at Neighbor (which I’ve never been to before) for some libations and ended up discovering a very good steak tartare and realized that giant gnocchi can be a good thing.


Yikes. The salad and crab ramen sound appealing, but I can’t w/ the $20+ regular ramen and potstickers.

BTW, I am TOTALLY NOT A BALLER!!! I’ve only been to Gjusta like 3-4 times. I’m not even baller adjacent! :wink:


I’d be pretty pissed if I spent 20+ for burnt pot stickers. What kind of quality control do they have in that kitchen.


The knife work on that sashimi plate is another indicator that the skills are in sore need of a revisit.

1 Like

Sounds like a pass to me, save my $ for Raku or Kinjiro.

Seaweed/kelp and daikon is a pretty common pairing in East Asian cooking. As a soup or salad. In fact for the past few days I been enjoying a pot of soup from my Grandma with kelp, daikon, and pork bones.


Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Yah, those 2 dishes were the highlights, but otherwise there wasn’t enough to get us excited to return. And as you said, paying $20+ / plate for OK gyoza and ramen (outside of the crab version) makes it even less appealing.

Thanks for the report @Chowseeker1999, are the squid and chahan still on the menu, those were excellent when I went.

Holy shit, when did that go up? It’s still $13 on their menu online.

Thanks for taking two hits for the team!

I remember seeing MTN on Yelp when searching for “Japanese” and “izakaya” and immediately felt that I wanted to avoid this place. So if I am in the area it’s Venice Ramen for me.

Tedorigawa Ikki Na Onna Daiginjo was brewed for thanking the Association of Female (Lady) Sake Retailers. It appears to be a staple at n/Naka for obvious reasons. I’ve had two bad bottles one time (bad luck or batch/handling) but the sake does taste better when I get it at a restaurant. Personally I prefer the more robust and structured Yamahai Daiginjo (Chrysanthemum Meadow) from the same brewery that’s more masculine in nature (masculine/feminine is actually a sake description term, a lot in part due to the groundwater used, whether soft or hard water). Though judging from the descriptions of the food, a good Daiginjo is otherwise wasted at MTN. If I had no choice but to eat there and must have sake, I’d just go with a Junmai or Ginjo.

We have hipsterized izakaya and ramen up here in Northern California, some at least have substance but are still not as solid/satisfying/worth multiple repeat visits. Ippudo San Francisco ranges $14 to $18++ for ramen but at least it’s actually very decent and they don’t use buckwheat soba… wait for the Santa Monica location to open up and I’m sure it will be far better than MTN (hopefully SM location will have a subsection of the sake offered at the SF location).


Tsujita charges ~$16 for ramen with char siu and $17 for tsukemen. So Ippudo prices aren’t far off.

1 Like

Oh yeah I remember visiting Mendocino in Northern California, some of the sea vegetables from that general area can be delicious if applying it to Cal Japanese inspired cuisine (without hipsterism) and well loved by the raw food movement people.

From the website menu some of the dishes they are offering resemble Izakaya Rintaro in SF (which is an excellent place for what they are doing), essentially using local seafood and produce to produce Japanese inspired dishes, and it does taste good. MTN…not so sure haha. Though Rintaro doesn’t do ramen, but they do have handmade udon.

Apparently MTN carries Satoh Satsuma Domain, a sweet potato based shochu.
Probably better for washing down the punishment.

1 Like

Hi @PorkyBelly,

Thanks for the recommendations and the warnings (we stayed away from some of the remaining dishes still on the menu from your visit that you said to avoid).

The gyoza is now $16 + tax + automatic 20% service charge (so $21). :frowning:

1 Like

Hi @beefnoguy,

Thanks. Oh, where did you find the Tedorigawa Yamahai Daiginjo? I’ll keep it in mind next time I see it. :slight_smile:

Supposed at these places, but might not be the best matches for food

Moto Azabu Sushi Bar & Grill
Robata Jinya
Shabu Shabu Zen
Sushi Go 55

Maybe outliers like Shibumi might have it? Call and ask. Or drop by Izakaya Ginji when you visit again next time (they only sell by the bottle now I believe).

Worst case, mail order from True Sake, or drop by Mission Wine and Spirits (LA) or Hi Time (Costa Mesa) which hovers around the $40 mark. Check the storage and bottling date before you commit for the non TS locations. The Yamahai Daiginjo would also work nicely at Raku, plus it’s not common to get that combination (and structure) for a sake in the US.

1 Like

How was the tea on second visit? The restaurant and the pottery look beautiful, but I just couldn’t get past $6 for lukewarm Hojicha. Charge $8 for all I care, but just serve decent sencha (not hojicha) and at the right temperature. Although admittedly most people don’t care about tea like I do.

1 Like

Hi @Omotesando,

Oh, thanks for the reminder. The tea on the 2nd visit? Still lukewarm. :expressionless:

It was irksome to the point we nicely asked our server if they could please make a fresh, hot pot of tea (considering they charged $6 for it). They did and it arrived very hot, but it just didn’t taste very good. We’ve bought better tea from Yamamotoyama at Mitsuwa when they used to sell there.

@Chowseeker1999, sad to hear. I still remember a special dinner that the chef at Kiriko made for me and some Japanese guests many years ago and he made sure to select some really high grade sencha for us for after dinner, which we all oohed and aahed about. Sometimes it is those little touches that make a meal memorable. Low-grade lukewarm hojicha tells me that no one is at home at that restaurant. I like restaurants where someone is at home. Probably too busy minding their other restaurants.

1 Like