Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Considering the number of Okinawans living among the Japanese American population, you'd think a platter of sauted bitter-melon (aka, goya) would be served alongside teriyaki bowls here in Southern California. Yet only recently has Shin-Okinawa Izakaya hit Torrance's dining scene, dishing out a bountiful selection of crave-worthy comfort food like tempura-fried sweet potato, juicy chops of pork belly (rafutei), and a hot bowl of soba with sliced kamaboko (fish cakes).
I might've said this before and if I did then I really mean it this time: It's like you're in Japan when you're here, whether it be the flavor of the broth, the brush-stroked wall menu, or the bar-snack offerings of sliced pig's ear and monkfish liver (an kimo). I associate pickled squid and grilled innards with smelly-drunk businessmen, which is probably why I never touch the stuff, but every other Japanese person I know can't seem to get enough of it.
So for the rest of us there's all kinds of carb-heavy treats like Okinawa Soba, somen champuru (stir-fried vermicelli and vegetables), and for dessert, everyone's favorite Okinawan donut, sata andagi -- a fist-sized ball of sugary dough deep-fried until golden.
Arabiki pork sausages
Red Sweet Potato sticky balls
Like most izakayas, each plate runs between $5 to $8 at portions meant to accompany a mug of beer. Though it's also worth trying their selection of cocktails mixed with awamori, the island's poison of choice. Few places outside Japan serve stuff like this, so get it while you can.
Hiraya Chi (savory pancake)
Grilled pork sausages
Shin Okinawa Izakaya
1880 W. Carson Street Suite #A
Torrance, California, 90501