If you don't want to read my long winded post, here is the jist.
Great Yakitori. Traditional and authentic. You'll think you're in Japan. And cheap too.
Japanese Grill Yakitori Bincho
112 N. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach 90277
It's North of Quality SEafoods on the pier boardwalk.
My girlfriend and I went to the RB Pier today for some Crab at Quality Seafoods. On our walk back, we passed a funky looking Japanese Place. We poked our heads in and were tempted enough to sit down for a second dinner.
Sitting at the counter, we were immediately transported back to Japan. This place looks like the little yakitori dives in Kichijooji or Shonbenyokochoo in Shinjuku. The place has only been open for 3 weeks and the other patrons were all Japanese. The owner said that it's been about 50/50 Japnaese and non-japanese. He hasn't done any kind of advertising yet, but the place had a pretty healthy crowd already....apparently it's quite popular with visiting JAL pilots. The owner trained at a Yakitori place in Saitama Japan and moved here just to open this yakitori-ya. After hearing this, I knew it had to be pretty good.
You can choose sauce or salt flavor on most skewers. We had sauce for most meat skewers...
Our first stick was Tsukune (chicken meat ball). This was phenomenal. Probalby the best I've ever had, crisp on the outside, with a smoky/savory (kobashii) flavor. (kobashii tte nan to iu no daroo) My girlfriend was very impressed with this, and thought it better than most she'd had growing up in Japan.
Our second favorite was Kawa (skin). Okay, this might sound gross to some and it can be....but this was beautiful. Crunchy, crackly, overwhelmingly flavorfull.
Negishio (green onion and salt?) This is a stick of chicken on top of some chopped green onions. This one was great too.
The only not so good one was Leek (ikada) with the salt flavoring. Kind of boring. Maybe better with sauce..?
We also had fried garlic appetizer with miso sauce. A bit too rich for us. I'd never had fried garlic cloves like this....I decided I prefer the soft squishyness of grilled garlic. I wouldn't really recommend this one.
The chef recommend a skin and ponzu appetizer. This was an okay combo of skin, green onion, daikon in ponzu. But I'd stick with the skin skewer with sauce.
They also had ginan which is called gingko nut in english I think. this was all right...not the best ginnan.
Other things that looked good were the yaki onigiri(grilled rice ball?) and the ochazuke.
Since we had already eaten:) this was all we had....the menu had about 10 appetizers, and 20 or so types of yakitori. Based on our limited experience I would say the Yakitori is superb, and the appetizers are Okay. But it's unfair to judge after trying only two of them.
They have sapporo on tap.....and low priced sake including Kubota
Oh, and our whole meal, with booze, came to 35 bucks. Not bad.
Part of the greatness of this place is the warmth of the atmosphere and the chef...(However, he was speaking in Japanese the whole time so I'm not sure how this would be for an english speaker, and I didn't get to hear him speak English at all).
As we exited , my girlfriend and I turned to each other and simultaneously said...it's really like we're back in Japan. I only wish this were in Culver City and not RB.