There seems to always be a local hangout in the neighborhood that looks way too much like a collegiate beer joint but in reality is a hidden gem with delicious food, comfortable surroundings and a solid wine and beer list.
On Wilshire at 5th street nestled between a real beer joint and a gas station, sits MUSHA ( http://musha.us), one of SM's best culinary hideaways. Always busy with customers happy to wait, MUSHA has an eclectic take on sushi and japanese cuisine, offering tapas style dishes that reflect the world around them in an earthy and friendly environment.
Start off with an unfiltered saki and dig into some edamame before you go through their menu. They have hot and cold kitchen choices and several different tofu dishes to try. Their signature dish, Takotama, is completely original, made up of two layers of omelette, octopus, leeks and red ginger in a bonito broth, best shared with the entire table. Follow it with their seaweed salad and grilled salmon. There is also a wonderful machral dish you can have torched right at the table adding some inspired cookery drama to the evening.
MUSHA has locations in Torrance and Pasadena where you can enjoy outside dining as well. The westside location offers a chance to have a bite you will truly savor before braving the crowds at the Third Street Promenade to watch a film or do some evening shopping.