Yakitori Bincho (Redondo Beach Pier) Great, authentic, brand new
If you don't want to read my long winded post, here is the jist.
Great Yakitori. Traditional and authentic. You'll think you're in Japan. And cheap too.
Japanese Grill Yakitori Bincho
112 N. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach 90277
It's North of Quality SEafoods on the pier boardwalk.
My girlfriend and I went to the RB Pier today for some Crab at Quality Seafoods. On our walk back, we passed a funky looking Japanese Place. We poked our heads in and were tempted enough to sit down for a second dinner.
Sitting at the counter, we were immediately transported back to Japan. This place looks like the little yakitori dives in Kichijooji or Shonbenyokochoo in Shinjuku. The place has only been open for 3 weeks and the other patrons were all Japanese. The owner said that it's been about 50/50 Japnaese and non-japanese. He hasn't done any kind of advertising yet, but the place had a pretty healthy crowd already....apparently it's quite popular with visiting JAL pilots. The owner trained at a Yakitori place in Saitama Japan and moved here just to open this yakitori-ya. After hearing this, I knew it had to be pretty good.
You can choose sauce or salt flavor on most skewers. We had sauce for most meat skewers...
Our first stick was Tsukune (chicken meat ball). This was phenomenal. Probalby the best I've ever had, crisp on the outside, with a smoky/savory (kobashii) flavor. (kobashii tte nan to iu no daroo) My girlfriend was very impressed with this, and thought it better than most she'd had growing up in Japan.
Our second favorite was Kawa (skin). Okay, this might sound gross to some and it can be....but this was beautiful. Crunchy, crackly, overwhelmingly flavorfull.
Negishio (green onion and salt?) This is a stick of chicken on top of some chopped green onions. This one was great too.
The only not so good one was Leek (ikada) with the salt flavoring. Kind of boring. Maybe better with sauce..?
We also had fried garlic appetizer with miso sauce. A bit too rich for us. I'd never had fried garlic cloves like this....I decided I prefer the soft squishyness of grilled garlic. I wouldn't really recommend this one.
The chef recommend a skin and ponzu appetizer. This was an okay combo of skin, green onion, daikon in ponzu. But I'd stick with the skin skewer with sauce.
They also had ginan which is called gingko nut in english I think. this was all right...not the best ginnan.
Other things that looked good were the yaki onigiri(grilled rice ball?) and the ochazuke.
Since we had already eaten:) this was all we had....the menu had about 10 appetizers, and 20 or so types of yakitori. Based on our limited experience I would say the Yakitori is superb, and the appetizers are Okay. But it's unfair to judge after trying only two of them.
They have sapporo on tap.....and low priced sake including Kubota
Oh, and our whole meal, with booze, came to 35 bucks. Not bad.
Part of the greatness of this place is the warmth of the atmosphere and the chef...(However, he was speaking in Japanese the whole time so I'm not sure how this would be for an english speaker, and I didn't get to hear him speak English at all).
As we exited , my girlfriend and I turned to each other and simultaneously said...it's really like we're back in Japan. I only wish this were in Culver City and not RB.
I returned to bincho last night for the first time since my post above. It is now necessary to make reservations for weekend nights. We didn't. We got there at 7:00 and waited till 9pm for our table. It was well worth the wait, of course, and it's easy to kill a couple hours on the pier.
The owner informed us that the place has filled up, perhaps due to recent internet hubub. Since the couple runs the restaurant with no help, they are trying to make sure they only let in as many people as they can handle.
One of my companions for the evening comes from a yakitori family. His parents have run a yakitoriya in Kawasaki for 35 years. He seemed content enough with bincho.
Here is some of what we ate. We tried several skewers both with the shio (salt) flavoring and the tare (sauce).
Negima with tare-
This was perfect. Very juicy and tender.
Bonjiri (tail)- This is the tail part of the chicken and is sort of like a cross between cartilage and skin, it's very fatty and rich. It was delicious. I recommend shio for this one over tare.
Tebasaki- This is the wing of the chicken, among the best I've had. Again, I'd go shio with this one.
Liver and Hatsu (heart) - Not a fan, but everyone else thought these were the proverbial bomb.
Cheese chicken- Many izakaya in Japan will have a dish like this with cheese stuck in somewhere you might not expect to find it., like gyooza. The cheese was a melty cheddar on top of some thigh meat (I think it was thigh anyway). It didn't quite do anything for me, but everyone else enjoyed it.
Tomato BAcon- This is a must try. Just perfect little flavor explosions of crisp bacon and sweet little cherry tomatos. Very well done.
okra- eh, it's grilled okra.
Yaki onigiri- I'd wanted to try this last time, but didn't get to. It was great. Perfectly crisp and crackly on the outside and firm on the inside. There is also a yaki-onigiri ochazuke. Ochazuke is sort of a ricey soup porridge made with hot green tea. That's on my list to try next time.
I'd also like to try the Oyako donburi (chicken/egg rice bowl). This is a great dish when done well, but it's hard to find a good one in LA. If anybody tries this, please let me know how it is.
4 hungry people, 2 ordres of sake, 2 regula beers, 1 giant beer = $106 (pre tip)
Yes, that was similar circumstances to our situation. Getting the ok to come back at 9pm took a little negotiating. We returned at 8pm when we saw from a distance that it looked pretty empty. There was one guy at the counter and one table. We were told there was an 8:30 reservation so we really had to wait till 9pm. It was a bit frustrating but once we got our table and had some food and beer in front of us, all was forgotten. The owner apologized and comped us a little sake.
I guess the alternate for them to turning us away, would have been to possibly have the place packed and everyone waiting for hours to get their food. Even with just two other tables it takes quite a while, but that's because the owner cooks everything himself and does so with great care. So, it's a trade off. Anyway, now I know, make reservations next time.
But, having also taken a long traffic ridden drive from WLA to meet friends coming up from H-ton beach, and nearly being turned away, I too feel your pain, yinyangdi. Ouch indeed Still, I hope you'll try again, it is worth the agitation.