Baseball-loving restaurateur Hiroyuki Igarashi opened Rice Japanese Restaurant in Manhattan Beach last weekend. He, who considers Shojin's Tsuguhiro Morishima a mentor, was previously a sushi chef at Downtown's East, did a stint at Shojin, followed by a front-of-the-house position at Katsuya. The generically-named Rice Japanese replaces Penny Lane, a generic terriyaki and roll joint in downtown Manhattan Beach.Taking a page from Shojin's playbook, Rice is featuring a unique menu which is part Bar Hayama (there are over 30 types of sake, and sushi), part Shojin (there is gluten-free cuisine), part M Cafe de Chaya (there are Japanese vegan items). Area vegans are excited to have their own Shojin, but are simultaenously confused by actual fish being offered at a vegan restaurant. With the South Bay awash in new gastro-pubs since last year, are the surf mongers ready for alcohol-fueled food alternatives?
Rice Japanese Restaurant: 820 Manhattan Ave. Suite 105 Manhattan Beach