Itsuki has expanded since my last write up!
They took over the space next door, knocked down the wall and are now twice as big as before.
Well, floor space-wise, yes, twice as big. Ironically, it doesn’t look like they have loads more tables, more like the same number spread out farther. I’m sure there are more tables, though. Never took the time to count.
The hole in the wall atmosphere isn’t quite there anymore, but it is still located in a desolate strip mall with a bait shop and a gun shop, so maybe it still qualifies. You decide.
My companion and I had ramen. It was definitely a ramen night, even without watching Tampopo beforehand. And we had rice balls. Nom nom nom.
Prices have gone up a smidge, but are still reasonable.
I have two recommendations:
First, try the rice fermented beer. It’s really hard to find this kind of Japanese beer these days, especially in Santa Barbara.
Second, do *not* to sit in the newly expanded place. I swear, there is an invisible wall there. I got lucky and was seated at the cusp between the old and new space. People in the new space were as good as not there. It was kind of ridiculous the level of super attentive service we got, like offers for water refills fives times! Meanwhile, the people sitting near us in the new space couldn’t even get someone to take their order for at least 20 minutes. I sort of had my back to that area, but every time I turned around I saw really unhappy faces. So much that I got up to ask a waitress to help them.
Maybe they’ll get that sorted out soon, like put a mirror up at their prep station so they can actually see the folks sitting in that section. Meanwhile, stick to the old space, happy vibes still there.