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How's Izakaya Bincho these days?

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Picking my wife up from LAX on Saturday evening, and heading down to South Bay for something both inexpensive and Japanese.

Our default LAX dinner which fits this criteria is Shinsengumi yakitori (which isn't mind blowing, but is cheap and tasty, and very freeway friendly).

This time, we're looking to up our game a bit, without blowing out the budget. $20/pp max.

Ramen OK too, although we would prefer to avoid Marukai-style food courts.

Thanks in advance, 'hounds.

Mr Taster

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  1. so...you're not going to see if they have the patty melt @ Panns?

    j/k ;)

    Whatever you do, don't end up @ Mottainai.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      Or yeah, grab the patty melt at Pann's or the blackened catfish or the fried chicken and waffles or the hefty chicken fried steak/country fried steak (you can get it with either cubed beef steak or ground chicken) and follow it with a slab of yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

      And then you are good to go.

      Or you can stop afterwards at the Buggy Whip (your favorite joint :) for some martinis. (I still may have to get there myself.

      1. re: ns1

        Yeah, a friend of mine who lived in Torrance told me about Mottainai's change in ownership, and I posted about it a while back. Horribly disappointing.

        As for Pann's, my wife has specifically requested Japanese food. She's be away at an internship in Washington DC for the last 6 weeks, and is craving some homey, delicious Japanese food for her homecoming.

        Mr Taster

      2. I think it went downhill (just in my mind though) because it used to be more of an izakaya framework (with small plates that were very good) and now it's more of a yakitori joint (the chef's heart is more into those skewers, which i don't fault him for, you have to do what you enjoy).

        having said that, i would hit up Torihei.

        20 Replies
        1. re: kevin

          it was a yakitori-ya before it was an izakaya before it turned into a yakitorizakaya.

          1. re: ns1

            Then I hit it in the middle period, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

            1. re: kevin

              How was the quality of the yakitori? I heard it was amazing (during the first period). Also, is the izakaya as good as it was b/f? If so, I'm not understanding the feeling that it's going downhill....

              1. re: ilysla

                I was there a year ago (post return to grilling) and thought the yakitori was incredible. And he makes a proper yaki onigiri, probably worked on it for 30 minutes patiently flipping it until it was uniformly deeply toasted. Plied him with beer and was much entertained by his story and how he came to be here.

                 
                 
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Jeebus H. Ross Perot, Melanie. That rice ball is making me weak in the knees. I can almost feel it crunching in my teeth right now :)

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    The back story on that yaki onigiri is that he was talking to us and flipping it without watching what he was doing. Well, one time he missed the grill, but with a miraculous diving catch he managed to grab it before it hit the floor. It would have been very sad for him to have to start all over again. So crunchy and just the right amount of seasoning brushed on the outside.

                    It was great to have a seat right in front of him at the bar. There were only three other parties max during our meal. He's a graduate of CSU Chico and completely fluent in English, so it was easy to have a dialogue.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      In Japan, one rarely sees yaki onigiri that look THAT good. Few places are willing to put in all the time this requires.
                      Great photo, Melanie. I'm sure it tasted terrific.

                2. re: ilysla

                  Sorry, my bad.

                  I probably mis-wrote (as usual).

                  I had not been during the first period.

                  And in the second period I really enjoyed their small plate dishes. But did not focus on the yakitori.

                  My fave dishes were all missing from the third period. And the yakitori was not as good in my humble opinion as Torihei or Yakioriya on Sawtelle.

                  Some still love the yakitori me thinks.

                  Hope that clears up matters.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Makes sense now. =)

                    Melanie, thanks for the update and pic. I never went during the first period, so perhaps if/when I'm in the area....

                    1. re: ilysla

                      I wanted to provide that pic of the facade because we had a hard time finding it the first time, as there was no sign then. Walked past it at least three times.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        And it's frequently closed.

                        Make sure to call a head before you head there, or else you will be shit out of luck.

                        It's right next door a beer and wine bar, not Naja's (of course).

                        1. re: kevin

                          Yes ... very frequently closed. And I don't have luck, ever, when I try to call -- they pretty much seem to not pick up the phone. It's annoying enough that I've stopped trying for a little bit. But ... I was there with Melanie for that awesome yaki onigiri, and her photo reminds me that maybe I need to just try ... again.

            2. re: kevin

              The last time we were in the South Bay we tried Torihei. We're looking to try something new.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                http://www.restaurantinaba.com/

                http://www.littletokyorestaurant.com/...

                1. re: Servorg

                  Thanks for these suggestions, Servorg.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Shit.

                    Was hasn't anyone posted about Little Tokyo ?

                    Sounds dope.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      I liked Inaba a lot too when I tried it in December. While we were there on the late side on a Thursday night, I was surprised by how deserted it was. Much more elaborate and refined interior, not a "joint".

                       
                    2. re: Mr Taster

                      I would have also rec'd Horon.

                      but someone on this board tipped off that it has already closed along with its exceptional kimura sake.

                      1. re: kevin

                        horon closed? oh man, i liked that place

                        1. re: Lau

                          Me too.

                  2. Marihide Uni Club? I have not been yet but am looking forward to trying it. Not sure if it will fit your budget.
                    Otafuko?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                      otafuku is the artisanal soba joint, right ?

                      I would recommend that joint too.

                      btw, does anyone know when Tsukiji sushi bar on Redondo Beach Blvd and Western closed up shoppe ?

                      Thanks.

                      1. re: Ciao Bob

                        Otafuku also has tons of small plates that the lunch crowd always forgets about.

                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                          We really liked the uni bowl at Marihide Uni Club the last time we went. Good uni at a good price.

                        2. Dommy and I wanted to go to Bincho tonight and by the time we got there at 8 pm it was locked tighter than a drum along with most of the rest, of the shops.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                            That's so bincho.

                            1. re: ns1

                              Yes, that is very much like it.

                              bincho's hours are extremely erratic.

                            2. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                              Odd to hear about the other shops being closed so early....