It was cold and drizzly here in the SouthBay tonight as I was heading home my usual route, PCH from El Segundo towards San Pedro. On the eastside of PCH in Hermosa Beach (450 PCH), next to a 7-11 I see a big sign that reads Tokyo Teriyaki with a GIANT yellow sign that reads something like "Best Teriyaki Chicken in the World" or whatever. Used to be home of Aniello's Italian Sandwiches.
I'm game and I'm hungry so I pull in. Four tables. Eight chairs. Two nice Japanese men (30-ish) great me with, "oh, you've been here several times, yes?" No, but I grab a menu and am surprised. Innocuous little menu = six whole items to choose from. But here's the clincher (as I grabbed a menu to transcribe for all you folks):
"Many of the customers that come into Tokyo Teriyaki do debate about coming in or going to their old-time favorite teriyako shop down the street. The reason for this debate is the simple menu we offer and the slightly higher prices we offer, compared to other teriyaki shops. The customers that come in, and peek and leave, are the ones that make me sad. Not because they are not eating at Tokyo Teriyaki, but the fact that we can't offer them a more complex menu and a lower price. Those that do come in and try out our teriyaki have already become our valuable customers. We have only two big expectations while running this business: 1) We want to attract just enough customers that we can handle; and 2) to offer the best service we can, anytime and any day. We hope that you enjoyed your visit at Tokyo Teriyaki and we know we'll see you again in the near future because you're our valuable customer."
Chicken Teriyaki - $6.99
Spicy Chicken Teriyaki - $7.35
Spicy Curry Chicken Teriyaki - $7.55
Beef Teriyaki - $7.99
White Meat Chicken Teriyaki - $7.99
Salmon Teriyaki - $8.88
So, I buy the Salmon Teriyaki and am completely blown away. I get two VERY nice pieces of Salmon atop some rice and a variety of fresh garnish: a large hunk of watermelon, a sliced orange quarter, some white melon the name of which I don't know, a beautiful flower made of a slivers of a pickled root vegetable (turnip?), rice-wine vinegared sprouts, and two blanched broccoli. No hideous, over-cooked cabbage or dead broccoli. Just amazingly fresh, beautifully presented food.
This will easily be a weekly stop for me as I am axious to try all six items (but it will be hard to resist the salmon again as it was darn good). I'm guessing they have been there two or three weeks as I try to watch what comes and goes along my commute. I hope they stay.
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