Every time we turn our heads, a new restaurant appears on or around West L.A.'s Sawtelle Boulevard, with lots of new blood seeping into this Little Osaka neighborhood and some of its less fit examples getting the ol' heave-ho. Seoul Sausage Co., the Korean link specialists currently running things on The Great Food Truck Race, tells Grub Street their opening is only about a week or two away, offering us a first glimpse of the above mural now gracing their wall, minutes after it was completed by local artist John Park.
The shop should be another blindingly hot addition to the neighborhood, as it's easy to feel the passion and enthusiasm that owners Yong Kim, Ted Kim, and chef Chris Oh have for introducing L.A. to their kalbi, chicken, and spicy pork sausages, favorite bites at the Plate By Plate fundraiser in 2011, along with assorted eats like their "flaming fried balls," which Ted explains are fried balls of spicy kim chi. (Anyone get the feeling more bad ball jokes are rolling our way?)
Seoul Sausage Co., 11313 Mississippi Ave. West L.A.
In other Sawtelle news, ramen spot Miyata Menji is currently closed after just five months, with a small sign (under its still flapping "grand-opening" sign) explaining that the store is closed for "remodeling." This kind of announcement often results in a business never really bouncing back as promised, sort of the restaurant world equivalent of Dad going out for milk, only to never return.
Calling itself the "In-N-Out of ramen" upon first opening in March on the heels of Tsujita Artisan Noodles, a Japan-imported ramen specialist that draws daily throngs, the ramen shop, opened by a Japanese comedian, was recently compared to "The Olive Garden" of ramen by critic Jonathan Gold, so maybe pressing "restart" is part of the idea. Either way, we'll let you know when it's back.
Across the street, a new pizza parlor called Clusi Batusi is taking shape, though still shuttered despite earlier reports elsewhere that it was serving. When Adam Fleischman's 800 Degrees first opened in Westwood, the concept was so smack-your-gob genius that it was easy to see it wouldn't be long before it was replicated elsewhere. This tiny design-it-yourself pizza place that cooks your pie in one quick minute and served before you're finished swiping your credit card is just that.
Our first question for owner Catherine Keith and her son, chef Michele Gargani, was whether there would be ramen pizza (we'd just left Tsujita, the heat of forty eager eyes scorching us until we ejected from our seats). Not to be, of course, but Squid Ink sets the stage for "gourmet" toppings like house-made meatballs, octopus, and asparagus when the small, fast-casual shop finally makes its public debut on September 8, along with Italian sodas, Sprecher root beer, and non-Mexican Coke.
Clusi Batusi, 2047 Sawtelle Blvd. West L.A.; 310-477-7707.
Of course, this is all just of this morning. Chances are by the time we hit "publish," this ever strengthening street will have something new taking shape to whip food-fanatics into a frenzy.
Earlier: Seoul Sausage Co. Opening in Little Osaka [GS]