While on a mission to soothe the obnoxiously loud growling in my stomach last Sunday, I strolled through downtown Santa Monica headed toward the multitude of restaurants offered by the 3rd Street Promenade; however, I never reached them. While walking down 4th and Wilshire, right between the Chevron gas station and Wahoos, I almost passed the tucked away Japanese restaurant had it not been for my nose and stomach that guided me to the front door of Musha. As a native of Santa Monica and a committed lover of all things food, I was surprised that I had never heard of a restaurant that emitted such a pleasantly intoxicating smell.
As I opened the door I realized why I had never noticed Musha before. There were 4 members on staff and the whole restaurant, including bar, kitchen, and dining area, all within a perimeter resembling a large residential dining room. It was shockingly small, but my hunger and a very polite hostess lead me to a seat in the corner of the room next to the kitchen. After reading the menu, I was unable to decide due to the myriad of delicious options. The waiter was well mannered, making sure my water was never lower than halfway full, and was ready to offer his opinion on the best dishes with a thick accent and smile.
I waited for my green bean salad, spicy tuna dip, and charcoal grilled steak and mackerel tapas, while listening to the cheerful chatter of both the kitchen and the waiting staff drown out the alternative radio station playing throughout the small space. Although some might be irritated with the upbeat babbling of the employees, I found that it contributed to a positive environment. My food arrived with very little time having passed. Each dish was seasoned to perfection and consisted of various taste palates but stayed consistent with asian flavors.
In addition to the enjoyable food and staff, the bill was in the lower range of double digits, further confirming my new appreciation for the small hole in the wall restaurant. Musha is a great place to go with friends, family, or dates. The environment in comfortable and friendly and overall just a very satisfying dining experience.