JiST Cafe offers breakfast and lunch options in Little Tokyo of Los Angeles, Calif. March 7, 2021. Photographer: Manu Multani
The Ishii Family has been working for 70 years refining their tender, well-seasoned pork belly recipe as passed down through the matriarchs of the family at the JiST Café in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California. This distinctive recipe provides direct entry into the Ishii family home and it tastes like you are right there with them eating this delicious dish.
JiST Cafe is a traditional Japanese lunch dive that offers varied, reasonably priced and appetizing breakfast and lunch options in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles.
The French toast is delicate yet so well put together. It shares a flavor profile with creme brûlée packed into a sturdier, bready texture—almost more like cake than a breakfast item. It’s not too sweet and the fresh whipped cream and strawberries with maple syrup create a delicious experience paired with a cup of coffee.
The dish JiST takes the most pride in is the Chashu Pork Hash. It includes diced, gently cooked potatoes, chunks of gently cooked pork belly that sits in a sweet and tangy sauce topped with two lightly poached eggs.
The hash has a balanced ratio of potatoes, pork and sauce together but it could be shared with many people due to its richness and depth of flavor. Rice would help to soak up the sauce where the flavor of the dish lives, though another option are the Rosemary Tater Tots, which are tasty and just the right crunch when warm. The presence of the potatoes and pork is weak within the saucy marinade and could be improved with the addition of another textured item like rice.
Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, JiST Café currently is take-out only. You can order online or in-person by walking up to the front door ordering with the restaurant’s cashier. They have a button on the table in front of their door that you press upon arrival. The setup is clean and easy to follow.
The menu includes breakfast, lunch and coffee options ranging from $6 for Overnight Oats to $15 for Tokyo Tater Tots.
Address: 116 Judge John Aliso St., Los Angeles, Calif.
Hours: Thurs-Sun 8 a.m. -1:30 p.m. and closed Mon-Weds.