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Yakitori Birthday Dinner

WileysHungryAgain Mar 26, 2013 11:24 AM

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... http://www.restaurant-morinoya.com

A little subdued, but sounds reliable enough.

Also Ran-
Sakura House

Then again, Korean BBQ might fit the bill

Anyone have an opinion?

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  1. n
    ns1 RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 26, 2013 11:29 AM

    SSG torrance, get a private room, call it a day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ns1
      raizans RE: ns1 Mar 26, 2013 11:41 AM


      1. re: ns1
        TracyS RE: ns1 Mar 27, 2013 09:59 AM


      2. n
        New Trial RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 27, 2013 12:22 AM

        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
          Porthos RE: New Trial Mar 27, 2013 07:32 AM

          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
            blimpbinge RE: New Trial Mar 27, 2013 07:37 AM

            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. j
            jdwdeville RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 27, 2013 09:21 AM

            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
              WileysHungryAgain RE: jdwdeville Mar 27, 2013 09:30 AM

              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
                jdwdeville RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 27, 2013 10:46 AM

                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. p
              prawn RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 27, 2013 12:13 PM

              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
                blimpbinge RE: prawn Mar 27, 2013 12:40 PM

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

              2. w
                WileysHungryAgain RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 07:57 AM

                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
                  Servorg RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 08:16 AM

                  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
                    ns1 RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 09:51 AM

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

                    1. re: ns1
                      Porthos RE: ns1 Mar 30, 2013 10:05 AM

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

                      Torihei will make up for it.

                      1. re: Porthos
                        WileysHungryAgain RE: Porthos Mar 30, 2013 10:43 AM

                        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
                          WileysHungryAgain RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 10:48 AM

                          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
                            bulavinaka RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 11:05 AM

                            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
                              WileysHungryAgain RE: bulavinaka Mar 30, 2013 11:15 AM

                              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
                                Porthos RE: WileysHungryAgain Mar 30, 2013 01:41 PM

                                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
                                  WileysHungryAgain RE: Porthos Mar 30, 2013 04:24 PM

                                  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".

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