Found myself up in the Valley yesterday right near Gorikee. Their lunch special was a crispy chicken w/ tangerine sauce ($8). Service started with a cup of their pumpkin & sweet corn soup, a thick bodied, veggie-sweeted chowder that's a riff on the Japanese favorite: corn potage. Seeing how this is a Japanese owned, Cal-Asian bistro, that made a lot of sense.
The entree showed great care in preparation. It's a piece of skin-on chicken breast where the unbreaded, unfloured skin comes out grill marked, but crisp, as if it's been deep fried. But it's not greasy like deep fried chicken. And there's no way you can crisp up the skin to this extent just by grilling. I asked the waitress, and apparently the chicken skin is pan fried in olive oil first, then finished on the grill to throw off any excess fat. The breast meat, incidentally, was cooked perfectly: still juicy, mildly seasoned, and demonstrating great skill in the kitchen. All for an $8 lunch plate.
The sauce has bits of fresh tangerine in a tamarind-tasting dark brown liquid. I suspect the base is a Japanese worcestershire sauce. The worcestershire and fresh fruit combined nicely, but it didn't wow me like the technical care used in cooking the chicken. Given a choice, I probably would have preferred a different sauce.
The lunch special came with a small mesclun salad barely dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and a small portion of diced fresh, very ripe tomatoes studded heavily with fresh garlic. Apparently, garlic shows up generously in a lot of dishes. I also had a side of their garlic fries instead of rice, and it was a good choice. Here, the garlic bits aren't raw (like at Gordon Biersch Brewery), but fried until toasty and sprinkled over perfectly crispy, ungreasy shoestring fries. Lovely stuff.
Thanks, hounds for trumpeting the place. I finally had the good fortune to be in this neighborhood after years of hearing about it from you.
21799 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 91364
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