Monday, May 05, 2008

Yakitori Bincho (Redondo Beach Pier)

I'm only blogging about this because I'm blindly assuming no one will bother driving all the way out to Redondo Pier for chunks of chicken (please don't go!). Because frankly, I've fallen in love with the Japanese husband-and-wife pair running the place. They're earnest people who took the plunge and started a business in this cut-throat town. It would've been safer buying a piece of the McDonald's franchise in Downey, but instead they took the tougher route renting a storefront on the sleepy side of a pier, printing out business cards with "Tuseday" misspelled, and hoping that maybe, just maybe, customers will take notice.

Leave it up to the Rameniac (via Vittus on CH) to find them.

It's the combination of food and atmosphere that's stellar. At Bincho, you can sit at a counter only feet away from the ocean and have a casual chat with the Tokyo-born couple. When I'm in LA too long I tend to forget the fun in talking to strangers. Of course it helps when there's less than 10 customers and the room is the size of a walk-in closet.

Here's some things I found out about them: 1) They buy their bincho-tan (charcoal) from Japan. Not Marukai, like me. 2) They were both students here in California, though he admits not studying very hard. 3) They moved to LA just before setting up shop a couple months ago, which would mean they came here to live out the American Dream not just to hang out in Torrance. 4) They eat a lot of chicken. Especially when customers don't show up.

Here's some of what I had:

Shiso-wrapped yakitori with a smidgen of ume (pickled plum) paste. Delicately crispy, well-seasoned texture. Juicy meat. I kept joking with a friend that it's probably just Foster Farms. Don't worry, the sign outside says "California jidori chicken"; cage-free, hormone-free.

Salted chicken skewers topped with scallions. You have the option of salt- or sauce-seasoned for any of the skewers. Both are great. Again, beautifully crisp yet juicy. Flavors are definitely not over the top the way Gardena's Shinsengumi can be.

After I bit into a piece of the tsukune, chicken meatball, I literally stopped conversing with everyone around me. Suddenly nothing else mattered except for this meatball skewer. "Jouhin na aji" is how I'd describe it in Japanese. In English, perhaps you can say refined.

And here's the meat-stuffed bell pepper, accompanied by hot mustard.

So again, please don't go to Yakitori Bincho. If you do, come alone. It's only the two of them running the shop. It's not a big place and an overflow could cause hardship, physical breakdown and/or karoushi (death from exhaustion). And I'd be sad if that happened.

Yakitori Bincho
112 N. International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 376-3889

Mon.- Thurs.: 5 - 11 p.m.
Fri.-Sun. 4 p.m. 12 a.m.
Closed Tuesday
(Park in North Parking Lot)

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r a m e n i a c said...

dang i wanna go back again already...

yuki said...

Guess what! Here is another huge fun of them. Nice guy with beatiful wife! Hang out at least once a week. So....find me!!

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