Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Mar 26, 2013 11:24 AM

Yakitori Birthday Dinner

I'm planning my own birthday dinner... because!

Thought a small group, Yakitori / Izakaya might be a decent source for some casual fun.

Problem is, who is still good, and even more to the point, still open?

Yakitori Bicho-
Are they even open? Too much attitude, and the uncertainty of being to reserve a table, and counting on it to be there when we arrive.

I hear great things, but...

A little subdued, but sounds reliable enough.

Also Ran-
Sakura House

Then again, Korean BBQ might fit the bill

Anyone have an opinion?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. SSG torrance, get a private room, call it a day.

    2 Replies
      1. I would go for Torihei as my top choice, followed by Musha. There is also the new Bamboo Izakaya in Santa Monica (Ocean at Colorado) but I have not been. Sakura House is a good neighborhood place but not quite in the same league as my top two choices.

        2 Replies
        1. re: New Trial

          Torihei is delicious. Love the food there. Beer and sake are very well priced so it all flows pretty easily. You can BYO too if you're feeling like wine. They do charge corkage.

          1. re: New Trial

            I'll also recommend Torihei, they're one of the best yakitoriya in the area, except that they're usually pretty quiet. If you're going to get rowdy, SSG Torrance (private room or not) is probably a much better choice because the workers can make it pretty fun there.

          2. Morinoya is excellent and does have a yakitori menu, but is somewhat upscale, if not subdued. I find it on the slightly higher side of prices, too. Guess it depends on your group.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jdwdeville

              Thanks thus far for all of your responses, but the "but" after the Morinoya is for their website... that's down. I guess I need to call and see what's up.

              1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                I've been pretty recently, and it was packed (on a Wednesday), so I'd be surprised if the website issue is linked to service...

            2. Yakitoriya is good but $$.

              Furaibo (izakaya), not the greatest food ever, but fun with a group, especially if everyone's drinking.

              1 Reply
              1. re: prawn

                I'd recommend furaibo for a fun night and good tebasaki, but their kushiyaki/yakitori are pretty horrible.

              2. Thanks all for your input and insights. So largely due to proximity, and the advice of a few here on this thread we landed on Morinoya.

                Website is still down, so we couldn't make a resi VIA that portal. They're not listed on Opentable of any other resi websites, so couldn't reserve there either. They finally answered their phone sometime after 5:30pm, and was able to get a table for six, at 8pm.

                We arrive and all is well. There may have been 10 people combined at maybe 4 tables and the bar, on a Friday night.

                We ordered some hot pots, fried chicken, assorted pickles, grilled sausages, Yakitori, some sashimi and crudo amongst others. Most of the plates came out (when they finally did) in a somewhat haphazard and abstract manner, with no particular order or flow. Some only came when we reminded the server of what we ordered.

                It turned out to be just kind of a whatever, kind of evening and experience. I must say that the menu (not the quality of inegredients, or preperation) feels something like that of a Denny's or one of those Chinese-American restaurant menus you find up in the desert in some small town. Japanese here, Chinese there. A little bit of everything. Noodles, hot pots, yakitori etc. trying to be all things to all people, instead of honing it down to the items they do best.

                Of the plates we had, most were perfectly nice, if a bit uninspired. All in all, we had a satisfactory evening, but in the end, the server had to be litteraly chased down to get the tab.

                Food: adequate
                Service: slow and forgetful
                Price: about $40 a head with some beverages.
                Would I return: ask me in a couple of days. Maybe for a late night bite.

                So again, thanks.

                Looking forward to Torihei.

                9 Replies
                1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                  I had mentioned this place to a JA friend (based on reading about it here) who took her issei mother and nisei father for dinner, and she said that the food really didn't do it for any of them. So I'm probably going to give this restaurant a miss based on her review and now your review which sounded a lot like what my friend had to say.

                  I look forward to reading your Torihei review.

                  1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                    3 votes for torihei and 3 votes for SSG and you ended up at morinoya. You make the panda bears sad. :(

                    1. re: ns1

                      Sometimes the road less travelled isn't a good thing.

                      Torihei will make up for it.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Alas, were flying solo last evening, which I was not, there'd be no distance I wouldn't have traveled to hit the right spot.

                        Case in point, I once drove 2 1/2 hours, into the dark of the South Carolina Low-Country, for the "right" spot. That spot being, Sweatman's BBQ.

                        Even on my birthday, I was shouted down, by the vocal majority, so I went with the flow. Which I might add, is not my M.O.

                        Actually, I quite often make the drive to SSG (Torrance) from Venice, just for lunch, so I somewhat versed on their scene. It just wasn't in the Taro (pun intended) Cards last night.

                        So I chalk last night to what is was, whatever it was.

                        Any guesses where I going to dinner tonight?

                        Need to feed the monkey.

                        1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                          Oh and bright note last night. I was able to make it up the street to Beard Papa's just before closing time, and scored a 1/2 dozen cream puffs. Of which I proudly ate 4.

                          Hey, it was my birthday, right?

                          1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                            I hope you can right the wrong that your "buddies" pulled on you. The B-day kid should call the shots. Do yourself really right - whether you've already been or not, head to Torihei in Torrance. I'd bring along at least one of the more potentially receptive buds from that night in hopes that they can be schooled.

                            Since you'll be in the South Bay, do yourself really righter and grab some cream puffs at Chantilly Patisserie in Lomita. The shop closes kinda early relative to yakitori time, so have dessert first or bring a small cooler. The choux is superior, the kurogoma version (black sesame) is delicious and still relatively unique here in SoCal (typically found only in Japanese/Taiwanese dessert places), and they truly make there cream puffs to order. Beard Papa is good for what it is, but after Chantilly, I've never looked back.

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Last night was "the" birthday dinner, tonight I intend to get down to Torihei, to right that wrong.

                              And I just Googled Chantilly, and it looks really top shelf.

                              Cooler in hand I go...

                              1. re: WileysHungryAgain

                                Don't forget to get the soft boiled egg topped with salmon eggs (under oden). Delicious and still in time for dish of the month.

                                The ground chicken over rice WITH the amazing chicken soup is must.

                                Also go for the special chicken heart vs regular heart if you're into that sort of thing and more importantly, if they have it. It sells out quickly.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Thanks for the reccomendations. I always order the Special Hearts, whenever available. I know more than a few chickens, that would say they're "to die for".