Friday, June 16, 2017

Seikoen (Torrance, CA)

Sei-Ko-En Yakiniku Restaurant
1730 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90501
Fri 06/16/2017, 08:25p-10:25p

Seikoen Exterior

We were recently looking for a new Japanese BBQ joint to try, and ended up once again in the South Bay. Seiko-en has got to be one of the longest-standing yakiniku restaurants around, having opened its doors all the way back in 1982.

Seikoen Interior
The interior's a bit of a throwback, and I imagine the space looks pretty much like it did in '82, which is part of the place's charm.

Seikoen Beverage List Seikoen Menu: Yakiniku Grill Seikoen Menu: Photos Seikoen Menu: Yakiniku Grill, Sea Food, Vegetable Grill
Seikoen Menu: Photos Seikoen Menu: A La Carte, Spicy Soup, Noodle Seikoen Menu: Salad, Kimchee/Namul Seikoen Menu: Soup, Soup with Rice, Dessert
As expected, there's a pretty complete selection of beef parts, including horumon (offal), as well as a few additional proteins for the grill. Also offered is an array of soups, starters, and other sundry dishes. In terms of beverages, you get your typical Japanese beers, low-priced sakes, bottles of shochu, and wine I'm sure you don't want (only $3 a glass though!). Corkage is $15 a pop, but we were only charged once. Click for larger versions.

Super Prime Tongue
Super Prime Tongue (On the Grill)
Super Prime Tongue (Cooking)
Super Prime Tongue [$14.50]
Kicking things off was the wagyu tanshio, seasoned simply with just salt-n-pepper and a brush of lemon. It was a definite favorite of ours thanks to its excellent snap, chew, and robust-yet-refined flavor profile. You'll probably want to order this.

2016 Angry Chair 3 Little Birds
Our first beer was the 2016 Angry Chair 3 Little Birds, a Berliner Weisse with passion fruit, guava, and guanabana (which I'd actually never had before). I got a super tropical bouquet with passion fruit at the forefront. The taste followed, bringing more exotic fruit over a tart, wheaty base. Fun and refreshing.

Super Prime Rib
Super Prime Rib (On the Grill)
Super Prime Rib (Cooking)
Super Prime Rib [$15.95]
The wagyu karubi was the most luxurious item that we had, coming out super tender, with some well integrated marbling. Taste-wise, think savory, beefy, but with a touch of sweetness from the rib's marinade. Try the meat with a dab of lemon sauce to cut through its heft.

Dried Squid
A complementary side of spicy, satisfyingly chewy dried squid.

Top Sirloin
Top Sirloin (On the Grill)
Top Sirloin (Cooking)
Top Sirloin [$9.95]
The sirloin was a definite step down in sumptuousness from the wagyu cuts above. I found it lean, and grainy texturally, with a prototypically sort of "steak-y" taste to it.

2017 Tree House Bright with Simcoe & Amarillo
Next to drink was a double IPA, the 2017 Tree House Bright with Simcoe & Amarillo. The nose here was bright, yes, but also quite bitter, with fruity undertones. The taste went hoppy and dank at first, but with citrus coming in on the back end.

Beef Skirt
Beef Skirt (On the Grill)
Beef Skirt (Cooking)
Beef Skirt [$8.95]
The harami (skirt steak) delivered. Texturally, I found it just supple enough, while its taste was rich and beefy, with a trace of sweetness.

Soybean Sprouts
We were also provided crunchy mame moyashi (soybean sprouts), which were superb with their sesame oil dressing.

Prime Back Rib
Prime Back Rib (On the Grill)
Prime Back Rib (Cooking)
Prime Back Rib [$8.95]
This was another standout for me, and my favorite of the non-wagyu cuts. I liked the lushness and fattiness of the meat, and how that worked against the char that developed. Very well balanced.

2016 Cycle Trademark Dispute: Hazelnut
Our final beer was the 2016 Cycle Trademark Dispute: Hazelnut, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with, you guessed it, hazelnuts. Aromas were sweet and nutty as expected, with a base of malt, oak, and dark fruit. On the palate I got more hazelnut, then sweet malt, along with a light, bitter, roasty quality.

Beef Heart
Beef Heart (On the Grill)
Beef Heart (Cooking)
Beef Heart [$8.95]
Texturally, the hatsu was almost tongue-like, while its taste went in a deep, earthy direction that I preferred to pair with a touch of lemon.

Minced Raw Beef
Minced Raw Beef [$9.95]
The yukke showed off a deft balance between savory and sweet, and I appreciated the crunch and juiciness from the slivers of nashi pear.

Pork, Salt
Pork, Salt (On the Grill)
Pork, Salt (Cooking)
Pork, Salt [$8.95]
We closed with an order of tontoro, and the cheek was another favorite. I loved the soft-but-crunchy consistency of the meat, as well as its robust, gratifying, unmistakably porky flavors. Excellent pairing from the lemon and negi, too.

We liked our meal here, and I have to say that Seiko-en's yet another solid choice for yakiniku in the South Bay. After all, the place has been open for 35 years, so you figure they must be doing something right.


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