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How's Izakaya Bincho these days?

Mr Taster Sep 25, 2013 03:22 PM

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

  1. n
    ns1 Sep 25, 2013 03:24 PM

    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
      k
      kevin Sep 25, 2013 03:27 PM

      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
        Mr Taster Sep 25, 2013 03:35 PM

        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. k
        kevin Sep 25, 2013 03:25 PM

        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
          n
          ns1 Sep 25, 2013 03:27 PM

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

          1. re: ns1
            k
            kevin Sep 25, 2013 03:28 PM

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

            1. re: kevin
              i
              ilysla Sep 25, 2013 04:02 PM

              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
                Melanie Wong Sep 25, 2013 04:20 PM

                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
                  Mr Taster Sep 25, 2013 04:29 PM

                  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
                    Melanie Wong Sep 25, 2013 04:40 PM

                    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
                      Tripeler Sep 25, 2013 07:16 PM

                      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
                  k
                  kevin Sep 25, 2013 04:21 PM

                  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
                    i
                    ilysla Sep 25, 2013 04:29 PM

                    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
                      Melanie Wong Sep 25, 2013 04:34 PM

                      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
                        k
                        kevin Sep 25, 2013 04:37 PM

                        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
                          f
                          Fig Newton Oct 5, 2013 03:05 PM

                          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
              Mr Taster Sep 25, 2013 03:36 PM

              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
                Servorg Sep 25, 2013 04:06 PM

                http://www.restaurantinaba.com/

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

                1. re: Servorg
                  Mr Taster Sep 25, 2013 04:30 PM

                  Thanks for these suggestions, Servorg.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Servorg
                    k
                    kevin Sep 25, 2013 04:33 PM

                    Shit.

                    Was hasn't anyone posted about Little Tokyo ?

                    Sounds dope.

                    1. re: Servorg
                      Melanie Wong Sep 25, 2013 04:46 PM

                      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
                      k
                      kevin Sep 25, 2013 04:22 PM

                      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
                        l
                        Lau Sep 25, 2013 04:27 PM

                        horon closed? oh man, i liked that place

                        1. re: Lau
                          k
                          kevin Sep 25, 2013 04:30 PM

                          Me too.

                  2. Ciao Bob Sep 25, 2013 05:02 PM

                    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
                      k
                      kevin Sep 25, 2013 05:18 PM

                      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
                        TonyC Sep 25, 2013 05:29 PM

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

                        1. re: Ciao Bob
                          w
                          wakko11 Sep 26, 2013 02:20 PM

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

                        2. Mattapoisett in LA Oct 17, 2013 10:08 PM

                          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
                            n
                            ns1 Oct 17, 2013 10:33 PM

                            That's so bincho.

                            1. re: ns1
                              k
                              kevin Oct 18, 2013 02:23 PM

                              Yes, that is very much like it.

                              bincho's hours are extremely erratic.

                            2. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                              i
                              ilysla Oct 18, 2013 01:12 AM

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

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