tile roof on Pacific Coast Highway. Daimon means "family crest." It
was named for all the help they received from family and friends in
establishing a fun place to socialize and dine.
As we opened the door to a blast of hot music and friendly
greetings from the sushi bar, we continued on past a huge mural of a
ferocious gorilla painted by a friend on the owner's son. Then on to
one of the three U-shaped teppan grills to find a seat and give our
order to Summer Mujaezno -- a choice of two from a Tuesday night
special of New York steak, chicken breast, scallops or calamari
($13.95, 5 to 7 p.m. daily).
As the grill is heated and ventilator above started, Summer brings
a hot cup of miso soup and a fresh mixed salad with a great spicy,
garlic thousand island-type dressing.
Enter Gonsolo Gonzales, the teppan chef who has been with Daimon
for nearly 10 years. He has brought our entree orders that also
include fresh zucchini, broccoli, carrots, onions, a pile of noodles
and bowls of steamed rice. In two tiny containers he mixes a thin
teriyaki dip for the steak and a creamy mustardy one for chicken and
With a spatula and fork he begins to chop the vegetables in cubes,
sprinkle them with soy and seasonings and the noodles with Parmesan
cheese. He builds a tower of onion slices into which he pours oils
and ignites them creating a flame-spewing volcano for his
Teppan eating is fun -- up close and personal -- the steak is
firm, the chicken pieces tender and the scallops slightly chewy,
sweet and moist. The shelled shrimp turn pink as they cook and Chef
Gonsolo squeezes lemon over the seafood and gently nudges the
vegetables until done as requested. Then he scoops it all up, to pile
on our waiting plates.
Daimon exudes energy, the loud music leaves scant hope for
conversation but the sense of showmanship and excellent food are the
attraction. The drummer from Short Bus (formerly Sublime) comes by in
his off time, and when Dennis Rodman wants sushi, you may find him at
Daimon. Owners Kiko and Tomo Imamura have achieved their goal of
Japanese food presented in a lively bistro style for all to share.
* MARY FURR is the Independent restaurant critic. If you have
comments or suggestions, call (562) 493-5062 or e-mail