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The Gang's All Here at Haru Ulala

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Izakaya is a Japanese kind of restaurant that caters to the after-work crowd. They're a sort of hang-out spot, a place one might head to after work for a small bite to eat and a drink to unwind from the day. Here in Little Tokyo there's a fun izakaya spot called Haru Ulala where we went to one recent after-work evening to celebrate a long, hard day with a big bunch of wonderful working stiffs. What's ideal about taking a group to a place like Haru Ulala (or, as it's also known at times, Haru Urara) is that there's something on their menu for just about anyone. They have a large selection of excellent sushi and sushi-related dishes, but also a number of tasty small-portioned Japanese specialites. Our boisterous crew took over a few tables in the back of the smal restaurant, and we huddled in groups to take bites and tastes of the many dishes we ordered to share. Some folks sipped steamy cups of miso soup, while others tucked into tempura. At our end we loaded up on the sushi, and enjoyed nice cuts of the usual favorites, like salmon, tuna, and yellowtail, and also some octopus and eel (pictured, left). Since they're all about small plates, we were happy to be able to try some of their veggie dishes, like the asparagus, and a chunk of fried yam, which came served on a stick and piping hot (pictured, right). We've heard, too, that the specials are abundant, and are posted on handwritten signs all over the restaurant, so it's best to keep your eyes peeled and your palate ready for adventure. While we admit we stuck to the relatively safe side, we're eager to go back to get a little more wild and to have another adventure at the inexpensive and relaxed Haru Ulala. It was the perfect way to end the day, and the perfect way to gather with friends for an economical and fun group celebration--and, even better, on weekends they are open very late!

Izakaya Haru Ulala
368 E 2nd Street, Little Tokyo
(213) 620-0977
Open Mon. – Thurs. 5:30 p.m. - 12 a.m., Fri. - Sat. 5:30 p.m. - 3 a.m.