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Izakaya Bincho: A Pictorial Essay

J.L. Jul 4, 2012 12:09 AM

Verdict: Just go. It's awesome. Don't expect much in terms of decor. Though it is located on a somewhat seedy commercial strip at the Redondo Beach Pier, the izakaya fare that Chef Tomo-san & his wife Megumi-san serve up is among the very best in Southern California, and not to be missed. Don't forget to wash that great food down with an ice cold draft Sapporo!

Highlights: Anything chicken (especially the roasted free-range chicken with yuzu-pepper, chicken tsukune & teba saki), cuttlefish & guts, agedashi tofu, grilled potato butter, ginnan, shishito peppers, buta no kakuni.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. s
    Sgee Jul 5, 2012 09:53 PM

    J.L, is their charcoal grill back in business? I recollect they had problems in the past with the fire department on ventilation or fire code violations.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Sgee
      Melanie Wong Jul 5, 2012 10:08 PM

      Not J. L., but yes, the charcoal grill is in operation.

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        s
        Sgee Jul 5, 2012 10:26 PM

        Missed you in the LA board.

      2. re: Sgee
        J.L. Jul 5, 2012 10:08 PM

        I really don't expect much in terms of decor from my izakayas to begin with - I just wanted other 'Hounds who may be expecting more decor to not be surprised, that's all.

        Photo #2 & #17 show the binchotan grill warming up and in action...

        Thanks Melanie!

        1. re: J.L.
          s
          Sgee Jul 5, 2012 10:27 PM

          Will have to make a trek down.

          1. re: J.L.
            Melanie Wong Jul 10, 2012 09:32 PM

            You're welcome, I was there in April. What a great experience! Now that you've posted, I'll have to collect my thoughts and report too.

            I believe that it has reverted to using Yakitori Bincho as the name now that the grill is back. We sat at the counter at the grill end for a bird's eye view. Having read that there were issues with smoke, I found myself staring at the hood and thinking to myself that it did not look new or recently installed at all. I asked the chef and he said there'd been no change there. He had followed the practice in Japan of blowing the smoke out to the sidewalk as a way to attract customers. But here that just annoys the neighbors and passersby rather than making them salivate. He didn't know that and stopped the practice. Also, he said that with more restaurants doing charcoal grilling the various inspection agencies have learned how to regulate places like his now.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              k
              kevin Jul 10, 2012 10:07 PM

              Wait... How long did he stop the grilling for, yeah, that's right, the last time I was there about a year ago, or a little less there was no grilling if i'm not mistaken, it was just mostly the izakayaya dishes.

        2. TonyC Jul 5, 2012 07:17 PM

          Calling the International Boardwalk "seedy" is beyond a stretch.

          Neither Shinsengumi, Kokekokko, nor Torihei has designer decor.

          As much as I love this joint, the inconvenient location, the lack of expeditiousness makes me apprehensive every time I step thru the curtains.

          1. Foodandwine Jul 5, 2012 04:18 PM

            J.L. Great photos, I have been meaning to go to this spot. Just curious, what was the approx cost of the meal that was in the photos and how many people ate that food? Some answers here http://izakayabincho.com/menu.html But was curious to know what you experienced..
            Thanks in advance.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Foodandwine
              J.L. Jul 5, 2012 04:57 PM

              Hi Foodandwine, thank for the kind words. Our party of 5 had a great time, gorged ourselves (paced in a leisurely fashion over 3 hours) at about $35 per person.

              1. re: J.L.
                k
                kevin Jul 5, 2012 05:31 PM

                just cutrious also, did you guys garner spots at the counter or at the table ?

                1. re: kevin
                  J.L. Jul 5, 2012 06:40 PM

                  We took over the counter.

            2. b
              baloney Jul 4, 2012 08:11 PM

              Was Megumi there? I haven't seen her in seemingly years and I go fairly often.

              1. Tripeler Jul 4, 2012 05:59 PM

                Ahh, now THIS is an Izakaya! Great photos as always, J.L. Congratulations. This food seems ideal for good sake, but beer will do in a pinch.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Tripeler
                  J.L. Jul 4, 2012 06:15 PM

                  Thank you for your kind words. This place is indeed great.

                  1. re: J.L.
                    k
                    kevin Jul 5, 2012 04:32 PM

                    For some reason, I always get those shrimp dumplings there and chicken wings... but yeah, it's an interesting beacon along that stretch of dining wilderness.

                    and if you are really into beer, definitely make a pit-stop at naja's. i guess usually i'm at naja's first and then end up at bincho. i have to say that bincho has a nice sake sampler too.

                    but i'll never understand the location, for once, you do have good food and a view. well, maybe not so much a view since there is the flowing banner that would cover any view but you get my point.

                    on a side note, there's a sushi/ikazya type place on the peir that has a very interesting menu with natto, and ankimo w caviar and other assort gourmet dishes, but now hounds have opined favorably about it, and i just believe it's the menu that sounds good, anyone know what i'm talking about, i forgot the name and don't believe that there's a website.

                2. b
                  bulavinaka Jul 4, 2012 04:45 AM

                  Thanks for posting enticing shots of Tomo-san's mastery. It still amazes me that he and Megumi-san can pull off so many different dishes at one time. I know the weather isn't right for his excellent nabe dishes, but those are a must-order when the weather cools off - or just order another Sapporo draft to cool down afterwards...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    J.L. Jul 4, 2012 08:30 AM

                    You're welcome. Since it looks to be hot weather for a while, I'll take the latter of your suggestions... :-)

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