Marukai Costa Mesa Turns Into Tokyo Central

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Edwin Goei
What Marukai's food court looked like two years ago.

If you noticed that Marukai in Costa Mesa has been missing its food court lately, it's because it has been renovating for the past few months. Now those renovations are ready and in anticipation of its debut, the whole supermarket is closed from now until it grand opening January 22 (with a soft opening January 15).

When it re-emerges on that date, it won't be a Marukai anymore. Rebranded Tokyo Central, the new market will have the new food court, which the website describes like this:

"Specializing in an extensive assortment of ready-made foods and dishes from our open kitchens, TOKYO CENTRAL is a specialty market that offers a wide variety of imported foodstuffs and general goods from Japan..."

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Panxa Cocina Opens in Long Beach

Panxa Cocina
Chef Arthur Gonzalez's new restaurant, called Panxa Cocina, has opened in Long Beach at the spot recently vacated by Christy's on Broadway. Christy's closed last summer after a 20-year run. It was named after its owner, Christy Bono, who is the late Sonny Bono's daughter.

You might remember Gonzalez as the owner and chef of ROE Restaurant of Belmont Shore, a seafood joint that had to revert to serving its food out of a truck when renovations on its building hit road block after road block.

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Magic Wok in Artesia Closes :-( ...UPDATE!

Edwin Goei
The room in which great things are eaten.

Update: December 9, 2014.

We got an e-mail that Magic Wok is rehiring, which was confirmed by a post on their Facebook page (why didn't anyone tell us they had a Facebook page!!)

They're still closed as of this writing, but it doesn't seem long that they might reopen...or at least we hope so.

Yet in reading their latest posts, there was a hint on the real reason why it closed. It said:

The gossips are that they closed us up that is not true. We decided to closed the store. We had an employee, you might say a whistleblower but at this moment I cannot discuss it yet till we settle this issue. Thank you for asking...

Original article:

I got the devastating news this past Thanksgiving: Magic Wok, the beloved Filipino joint in the heart of the Filipino community in Artesia/Cerritos, has closed. The note taped to the window says:

"The Magic Wok Restaurant is close (sic) effective 9-29-14. We are taking a long vacation and R and R. Thank you for your support and patronage."
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Orchid Restaurant in Costa Mesa Evicted

Photo by JBinOC
That's a lot of paper.

Tipster and Top-Commenter JB sent us a heads up that Orchid Restaurant in Costa Mesa closed last Tuesday. Actually, they were evicted.

He writes to us that "the landmark Persian eatery and occasional poppin' Friday and Saturday night reception hall [was] evicted with the assistance of the sheriff last Tuesday."

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Rollie's Bakery & Mexican Cafe Closes; Kaminariya Yakitori Dining Opens in Tustin

Edwin Goei
Rollie's in 2008.
Rollie's Bakery was one of OC's few Bolivian restaurants, specializing in salteñas, which are "ostensibly empanadas, but few in Latin America are so sturdy that they can contain broth inside their shells," as Gustavo wrote in his Hole-in-the-Wall column back in 2009.

The restaurant opened in 2008 and has graced these pages many times for those salteñas, winning "Best Empanada in 2010".

Now it has been replaced by a new yakitori restaurant called Kaminariya that competes against Honda-Ya, which is still packing them in a few blocks away. The yakitori is made from from Jidori chicken, but so are the karaage (sesame chicken), simmered giblets stew, and fried cartilage.

You can see what else is made with the chicken on their Facebook.

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Dosa Place in Tustin Closes; Moves To Its Original Location In...Tustin

Photo by Kimberly Valenzuela
Is that all you got?

There was once only one Dosa Place in Tustin, the one on Redhill. Then there were two, when the 17th Street restaurant opened in 2010. Then, somewhere along the way, the Dosa Place on Redhill became Dosa Express. And so, there was technically only one Dosa Place in Tustin, the one on 17th Street.

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Laguna Beach's House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer To Close Next Month

Photo by Keith May

House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, the restaurant with a mouthful of words and a slew of awards including Best Happy Hour 2011 and Best Seafood Restaurant 2010, is closing next month. We got a tip from a reader that the parent company was going to focus on its hotel properties and decided not to renew its lease.

So we contacted Casa Resorts Inc.--which owns Hotel Ménage and La Case del Camino--and they confirmed it.

Included in the confirmation was this tidbit from a press release.

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Sushi Wasabi in Tustin Sold to New Owner As Sushi Master Retires

Edwin Goei
Katsu Aoyagi in 2008.
There are so many sushi masters in Orange County these days. But for a while, there were really just two venerable artisans whose names were on a short list of the best: Shibutani-san of Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa and Katsu-san of Sushi Wasabi in Tustin.

They were part of the old guard, known as much for their sublime omakase as the fact that they refused to make California rolls. On the latter, Katsu-san even put it in writing. On a framed sign above his sushi bar were these words.

We follow the art of traditional sushi practice. Sushi bar is limited to the fresh catch of the day - continually served. No need to place an order. We offer sushi and hand rolls of Japanese tradition. (No California rolls. If self selection is preferred, please be seated at a table.)


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Izakaya Ku in Fountain Valley Closes

Edwin Goei
Ku Closed.
Izakaya Ku, the winner of our award for Best Japanese Restaurant last year (and topped more lists than I care to count), has closed. There was a note taped to the door that simply said "IZAKAYA KU RESTAURANT is CLOSED. We thank you for your patronage"

It opened in May of 2012 and replaced Funashin, the Japanese restaurant that previously occupied the space since 1989. It even kept some of the dishes from the old place, including sentimental favorites like chicken teriyaki. But it strived for something more.

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Pier 76 Fish Grill Moves; Still Great!

Christina Bryson
Fresh seafood from Pier 76
Pier 76 Fish Grill, Chris Krajacic's wonderful seafood fast-casual that I reviewed last September and then listed as one of Long Beach's 10 Essential Restaurants (not to mention the winner of Best Mussels on our Best Of Issue), has moved out of the ground floor of the historic Cooper Arms building on Ocean Boulevard and into a new spot a few blocks away on Pine and 1st.

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