Friday, March 18, 2011

Torihei Review: Yakitori, Oden and More in the South Bay

Last weekend, we went to Torihei in Torrance for dinner. Our regular go-to yakitori place is Nanbankan in West LA, but we made the trek to the South Bay so that my dad, who has never been to Torihei, could compare the two for himself. The restaurant is lively and always packed with a young-ish crowd; reminds me of Musha in Santa Monica, both in terms of decor, atmosphere and crowd. The food is also excellent; big juicy skewers of a wide variety of yakitori, as well as plenty of small plates and oden, one of my favorite wintertime comfort foods. Based on variety alone, Torihei is better than Nanbankan. The chunks of chicken and skewers are also bigger, although many of Nanbankan's yakitori comes with two skewers per order. While I like the juiciness and tenderness of Torihei's yakitori, I prefer the deeper charcoal char of Nanbankan's yakitori. I believe the difference is in the preparation; Torihei appears to first cook / boil the yakitori first before putting it on the grill, whereas Nanbankan starts the meat raw on the grill, for a deeper, smokier char, though slightly more dry chicken. Overall, Torihei is also more expensive. It's nice to have variety though, and even though I really like Nanbankan, Torihei is worth the trek for the occasional visit.
Special seasonal sake that tasted of strawberries. Very different from the usual, just a little too sweet for me
Appetizers from top clockwise: chicken skin with ponzu salad, gingko nuts, squid with shiso
Daikon Oden: the broth of all their oden is particularly delicious, clear and flavorful
More oden: the white one on the left is my favorite, some sort of fluffy white fishcake. Seaweed on the right
Sizzling roasted garlic
Soup Dumplings
Chicken thigh yakitori
Chicken gizzards
Squid legs
Chicken livers
Chicken meatballs
Bacon wrapped okra
Beef tongue with a touch of wasabi
Chicken cartilidge
Chicken with wasabi and chicken wings
Grilled Shrimp
Chicken tails
Grilled avocado and shiitake mushrooms
Grilled short ribs
1757 W Carson StTorrance, CA 90501
(310) 781-9407

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