Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Koshiji (Torrance, CA)

Yakitori Koshiji Restaurant
22807 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
Tue 11/07/2017, 08:00p-10:30p

Koshiji Exterior

My latest craving for skewered chicken led me to the South Bay once again, and specifically to Koshiji, which had been on my to-try list for a couple years. The restaurant comes to us courtesy of 40-year yakitori veteran Nagayuki Ebata and wife Kiyomi. The Chef came up in the Tokyo area, and cut his teeth at a yakitori branch of the Miyagawa restaurant chain. He moved Stateside in 1983 to cook at Nanbentei, located in Little Tokyo's Weller Court. His intent was to work a couple years there, travel the US on motorcycle, and return to Japan. Obviously that never happened. The Chef later helped open the still extant Sakura House near Venice, and in 2000, took over the Nanbentei space and turned it into his own spot, Koshiji. The restaurant did well, which allowed Ebata to debut this Torrance outpost in May 2010. In January 2015 however, he shuttered the original Koshiji, and the space is now home to Torigoya (a.k.a. the new Kokekokko).

Koshiji Interior
This address was previously home to Shin Yakitori (which opened in August 2007 and closed at the start of 2010), and the kushiyaki-focused Monjiro before that. The decor hasn't changed much since the Shin days.

Koshiji Beer & Wine List / Dessert Menu Koshiji Shochu & Sake List Koshiji Lunch Special Menu Koshiji Lunch Special Menu Koshiji Menu: Salad, Cold Dishes, Side Orders Koshiji Menu: Side Orders, Noodle
Koshiji À La Carte Menu: Chicken, Meat, Seafood Koshiji À La Carte Menu: Vegetable, Roll Koshiji Dinner Special Menu Koshiji Yakitori Order Sheet Koshiji Non Alcohol Drinks List Koshiji Shochu Cocktail List
Menu-wise, you of course get a variety of skewers, both chicken-based and otherwise, and these are joined by a large array of accompanying dishes. To drink: your typical Japanese beers, mystery wine, some shochu, and a small sake selection (which includes Asahiyama, Ebata's favorite). Corkage is $15, though we were only charged once. Click for larger versions.

2017 J. Wakefield Project X
We had a couple beers with us. Our first was the 2017 J. Wakefield Project X, a sour ale aged in bourbon barrels with Brett and cherries. Intense nose filled with oak, funk, fruit, and a bracing balsamic tartness. The taste showcased lots of wood, along with cherry, barnyard, and vinegar-y acidity. I got a slight vinous quality, too.

Cabbage w/ Miso Dip
A complimentary serving of crunchy cabbage with a tangy, umami-rich miso dip.

Chicken Soft Bone
Chicken Soft Bone [$3.00]
We began our gauntlet of bird parts with nankotsu, which showed off its trademark crunch paired with a good amount of meat. A promising start.

Chicken Gizzard
Chicken Gizzard [$2.00]
And speaking of crunch, the sunagimo also gave us its interpretation of the texture, providing the expected marriage of crisp and chewy consistencies. I really appreciated the pin points of salt on the gizzard as well.

Chicken Tail
Chicken Tail [$3.00]
The bonjiri is one of my favorite cuts, and it didn't disappoint tonight, a fatty, super flavorful presentation with a satisfying bite to boot. And again, nice hits of salt here. Always a treat.

Eggplant w/ Pork
Eggplant w/ Pork [$2.50]
Nasu-maki arrived soft, smoky, and well matched with the salty crunch of bacon. Surprisingly good.

Chicken Wings
Chicken Wings [$3.50]
We had to get the tebasaki of course, which managed to be no doubt one of the most scrumptious bites we had. Superb charring going on here.

Potato w/ Butter
Potato w/ Butter [$3.00]
The jaga-bata was one of the more unusual selections on offer. It tasted like a really buttery mashed potato, but with a delightful crisp skin.

Chicken Neck
Chicken Neck [$3.00]
The seseri had a milder taste I'll say, along with a pleasant chewiness to it.

Chicken Meat Ball
Chicken Meat Ball [$2.50]
The tsukune made for a nostalgic course, sort of reminding me of the meat patties I ate growing up. Think juicy and savory, with a great tang from the use of what I believe was green onion.

Chicken Heart
Chicken Heart [$3.00]
Hatsu arrived earthy and snappy to the bite, with a noticeable sweetness.

Green Beans w/ Pork
Green Beans w/ Pork [$2.25]
I'm a big fan of green beans in general, so I was curious about the ingen-maki. I got a welcomed brightness from the veggie that really went along with the smoke and salt of that crispy bacon.

Chicken Breast w/ Shiso
Chicken Breast w/ Shiso [$2.50]
Sasami was a touch on the dry side unfortunately, though it did have a fitting accompaniment in the form of that shiso.

Shiitake Mushroom
Shiitake Mushroom [$2.50]
Shiitakes were soft and woodsy, with a sweetish bent.

2017 Angry Chair Lunar Lycan
Next to imbibe was the 2017 Angry Chair Lunar Lycan, a lactose-boosted, marzipan-inspired imperial sweet stout with toasted almonds and coffee, created in collaboration with Omnipollo. This one smelled nice, with aromas of roasty coffee, dark fruit, and caramel. The beer drank smooth, creamy, with a caramel-y, nutty sweetness finished by more coffee.

Beef Tongue
Beef Tongue [$2.75]
The gyutan conveyed its signature chew, as well as boatloads of smoke-kissed beefiness.

Okra [$2.50]
Okra was light on the slime, its relatively restrained flavors taking kindly to the char, as well as the dish's sweet dipping sauce.

Squid w/ Shiso Leaf
Squid w/ Shiso Leaf [$3.95]
The ika was more rubbery than I'd prefer, though I did like its subdued smoke and mintiness from the shiso.

Chicken Skin
Chicken Skin [$2.50]
I was a fan of the torikawa and its mix of crispy, charred bits and fat.

Shrimp [$3.95]
Fortunately, the ebi wasn't overcooked, coming out meaty and well-textured. The smokiness on this one was light, so as to not mask the shrimp's sweetness and brine.

Duck [$2.75]
Our kamo wasn't particularly "ducky," but gave up a noticeable sweetness that matched well with the included negi.

Scallop [$3.95]
Unfortunately, the hotate was cooked more than I would've liked, and was thus on the chewier side. Flavors were fairly intense, and came mostly from the sauce. Note that some of the innards were still left on the adductor, resulting in some more textural variation.

Zucchini [$2.00]
Zucchini was bright and juicy, with just enough sear to keep it interesting.

Salmon [$2.75]
The sake was on the overdone side sadly, though I did appreciate its pairing of onion.

Beef [$2.25]
The gyu was also overcooked, coming out rather tough. Flavors were overly sweet as well, and I didn't really taste much of the actual beef.

Enoki Mushroom w/ Pork
Enoki Mushroom w/ Pork [$2.50]
Texturally this was one of the most gratifying bites we had. I loved the sensation of all the mushrooms tightly bundled together, set against the salty, smoky crunch of their bacon wrapper.

Special Chicken Heart
Special Chicken Heart [$3.00]
The first of two "secret" menu items we had, the hatsumoto was a special part of the chicken heart, and indeed it had an extra "hearty" chew to it, as well as a particular sweetness.

Chicken Intestine
Chicken Intestine [$2.50]
The horumon was also quite sweet, and had a slick, gelatinous consistency accented by touches of crisp char. Note that there was a third "secret" item, the tori harami (diaphragm meat), though the kitchen had run out of it.

Another yakitori joint crossed of my list. I had a few complaints with some of the items, though they mostly had to do with the non-chicken skewers, and overall we enjoyed the meal. Stick with the tori and veggies, and you should have a very solid experience.


Blogger Jen Ko said...

Thank you for your posts!!

Friday, December 29, 2017 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

You're quite welcome Jen--it's been quite a while since I've heard from you!

Monday, January 01, 2018 2:43:00 AM  
Anonymous marek334a said...

I really like what you describe, it's very nice to read this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 5:07:00 AM  

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