Yakitori Bincho

Newbie vittus alerted Chowhounds to Yakitori Bincho, a newcomer to Redondo Beach that’s said to be the best yakitori yet in these parts, and a fair rival to those in Japan. Owner Tomo-san trained at a yakitori place in Saitama, Japan; he and his wife, Megumi-san (who runs the front of the house), are extremely friendly.

Ingredients are top-notch: The chicken is free-range Jidori with no hormones; the charcoal is fragrant white Binchotan. You can pick a treatment, shio (salt) or tare (soy- and mirin-based sauce), for each skewer.

There’s a long list of must-orders (mostly from the yakitori section of the menu), but leading off is the juicy, smoky-savory tsukune, or chicken meatballs. Bincho’s light, subtly sweet tare makes several orders exceptional: momo tare (chicken thigh); tare negima (chicken thigh with leeks); and tare tebasaki (chicken wings), perfectly crispy outside, and tender and lightly sweet but savory inside.

Shiso maki, chicken wrapped in shiso leaf and roasted, is delicate yet earthily smoky. It gets a tart herbal jolt from the ume (plum) paste that accompanies it. Shio tomato maki is a classically delicious combo of pork belly wrapped around sweet cherry tomatoes, flavored only with salt, and perfectly grilled.

You may want to start with agedashi tofu, a simple dish of fried tofu that’s exceptionally silky here, in a complex soy-dashi broth.

For veg, look to the stuffed (with chicken, natch) grilled shiitakes; grilled okra; and whole roasted eggplant, peeled and served with a mound of smoky, rich bonito flakes and freshly ground ginger.

And to round out a meal, try the zosui, or rice porridge, a simple home-style dish that’s lovingly prepared from scratch with flavorful chicken broth. Rice balls (onigiri) are also freshly made and generously filled.

A meal here can run from $20 to $40 with exuberant overordering and sampling of multiple sakes; exilekiss recommends Karatamba from Japan’s Hyogo prefecture, a dry, clean sake (drink cold!) that complements the grilled items.

Yakitori Bincho [South Bay]
112 N. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach
310-376-3889

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