A Tempura And Oden Specialist By Way Of Tokyo And Peru - Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior [Thoughts + Pics]

This could be it, “sushi omakase tapas”

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I have a tight window for lunch today. Can I get in and out for lunch in ~30 minutes?

Pretty simple explanation:

He wants to turn his tempura rice bowl / set meal into more lunch focused and introduce this concept at night to make it more izakaya friendly and a bit more high end (compared to tempura sets), promote sake drinking with food (the profit margin from alcohol is always better than food).

There is nothing in Japanese from the ad that suggests “Sushi Omakase” and in fact I see “ankimo ponzu”, “yaki shirako”, seasonal winter vegetables in the examples. So it could be higher end kappo izakaya concept.

Looks like he will be using World Sake as his supplier: Denshu, Kokuryu, Koshi No Kanbai, Dewazakura (and that’s Kerry’s territory), all from the same portfolio.

Actually, a tempura centric kappo izakaya (actually the right term might be ko-ryori, small plates cuisine) isn’t bad at all! Quite an interesting concept.


Not quite @beefnoguy
There are two businesses there - the tempura biz (room on the right when you walk in) and the izakaya biz (bar to the left when you walk in).
I sat at the izakaya bar and ordered some oden and some tempura - was surprised to get separate bills. Whatever…

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Hi @js76wisco,

If you order quickly, you might just make it. Especially if you’re only ordering 1 Tempura Bowl or Set. Of the 3 times we went, it was about 70% full, during lunch they moved relatively fast, food came out quickly, but not sure how busy it is these past few weeks.

You can also tell them when you get seated that you’re in a hurry and see if they can accommodate you.

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Fascinating! Thanks for the details!

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I don’t think I’m going to go full @PorkyBelly and order a lot of supplements. Probably either the tempura bowl or set. Maybe an a la carte order of the jumbo shrimp.

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30 minutes is going to be a squeeeeze, but I can tell you one thing: once you get the food, it is so good that it won’t take long for you to inhale it.

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I usually don’t breathe when I eat. I can probably do 40 and still be ok.

22 minutes total from being seated to signing check


good moves!

Hi @js76wisco,

Nice! 22 min for your quick lunch. Glad you were able to try it and keep your schedule. :slight_smile:

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Stopped by for dinner everything was as reported. The one highlight that really stood out though is the rice. Their rice was perfectly cooked fluffy, pillowy, and toothsome with each grain separated. It was pretty amazing.

Also the tare was less thick and less copious than hannosuke, is that generally how tendon is served or did they short me on sauce?


Hi @hungryhungryhippos,

So glad you liked Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior. :slight_smile: Glad to hear the food is still great after the grand opening period.

Their rice: Yes! Isn’t it great? Theirs and if you haven’t been (just down the street), Wadatsumi are total standout examples of good Japanese restaurants that take pride in their rice. (You can really notice / taste it.)

For the tare sauce? Ours wasn’t overly thick either (which I think is a good thing). Also did you try following the illustrated poster on the wall? (recommending halfway through the bowl you mix the tempura egg yolk with the rice and add some of the sauce on the table? That finishes things off nicely.

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I followed the instructions but they didn’t have any sauce on the table I just mixed the egg with rice which was delicious.

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Hi @hungryhungryhippos,

Oh! I wonder if they ran out (or someone borrowed the bottle from your table)? During our multiple visits, there was always 1 bottle of their housemade tare sauce on our table.

Glad you still enjoyed it!

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Update (To-Go):

Hearing about the struggles of one of L.A.'s best Tendon (Tempura Bowl) specialists during this pandemic, we wanted to show support and see how the food was holding up these days as Takeout Only.

For those that may not have heard about Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior, it is Chef-Owner Carlos Pinto’s first foray into starting his own restaurant, a Tempura and Tendon specialist, founded out of his love of all things Tempura. From his origins in Peru, to moving to Japan and learning the craft, to eventually moving to L.A. and helming Hannosuke (at its height, when Jonathan Gold was loving the Tempura Bowls there).

Chef Pinto has kept the same basic structure for his Takeout Menu as before the pandemic, with a section on Tempura Bowls and another for Tempura Plates.

FYI: The Tendon (Tempura Bowl) section looks very similar to the Tempura Plate section, except Tendon have the Tempura all served directly over Rice with a special Tendon Sauce. Tempura Plates are the more commonly found Tempura pieces served separately from the Rice, and with the classic Tempura Sauce (less sweet, different flavor) from then Tendon Sauce.

Vegetable Tempura Bowl (Maitake Mushrooms, Eggplant, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Seaweed, Shishito Pepper, Half Boiled Egg, Rice, Miso Soup):

While not very photogenic, especially in a To-Go container, the visuals belie the fantastic flavors within:

Wonderful, freshly fried Tempura-battered morsels of goodness, delicious Housemade Tendon Sauce over fantastic Steamed Rice! :heart:

All of the Vegetable Tempura pieces were very good, but my favorites were probably the Maitake Mushroom Tempura, Eggplant Tempura, and that ridiculous Hanjyuku Tamago Tempura (Soft Boiled Egg Tempura Battered and Fried)! :open_mouth:

You break open the Tempura Egg halfway through eating the bowl and mix it all together with the Rice and extra Tendon Sauce! So good! :heart: :blush: :heart: (@PorkyBelly @hanhgry @attran99 and others.)

Premium Tempura Plate (Eel, 2 Shrimp, Kakiage (Mixed Seafood Tempura), Seaweed, Shishito Pepper, Half Boiled Egg, Rice, Miso Soup) + (Add-Ons) Jumbo Shrimp Tempura, White Fish Tempura:

Taking a bite:

Crunchy, lightly crispy, beautifully fried Tempura! :heart: For something that is To-Go, Chef-Owner Pinto is still executing at a high level.

The Shrimp Tempura is nicely fried, fresh tasting (Chef Pinto switches out the oil regularly), not greasy.

Conger Eel Tempura:

Sublime! :heart: The Conger Eel Tempura is incredible: Nice crunchy-crisp exterior, beautiful, soft pleasing interior, and a light dip in the Tempura Sauce makes it sing! :blush:

(Add-On) Jumbo Shrimp Tempura:

While the standard Shrimp Tempura at Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior is good, the Jumbo Shrimp Tempura Add-On option is even better: The Jumbo Shrimp is meatier, firm but tender and has a standout pleasing taste overall. :heart:

(Add-On) White Fish (Sillago) Tempura:

Delicious as well! The White Fish Tempura is delicate, but holds up in Chef Pinto’s Tempura batter.

It might be hard to see in the picture, but there’s a sheen on the Steamed Rice. Normally, Steamed Rice is Steamed Rice, but you encounter places around L.A. that take real pride in executing fantastic Steamed Rice, like Wadatsumi’s excellent Uonuma Koshihikari Steamed Rice, and of course at top Sushi restaurants around L.A. Here at Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior, the Steamed Rice is outstanding! :heart:

It reflects on the Chef and restaurant, how much pride they take in getting the most basic thing right. The Steamed Rice is toothsome, wonderful mouthfeel, and is not too mushy or dried out. And it’s just included in all of the meals offered here.

Even during the pandemic, where all restaurants are forced to pivot and do To-Go Only (unless you have an outdoor dining area), Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior continues to shine. It would’ve been easy for Chef Pinto to mail it in and compromise on quality to get orders out faster, or because it’s now “To-Go”. But he hasn’t.

Instead, you’re getting the best Tendon (Tempura Bowls) in the city, a lovely, crunchy-crispy exterior, perfectly fried, not oily with a savory-lightly sweetened Housemade Tendon Sauce. The Tempura Plates are equally as satisfying, individual pieces wonderfully fried with great flavor within. Add to that the standout Steamed Rice with such great mouthfeel, and this is deeply satisfying food in the time of the pandemic at a great value ($10.98 - $18.98).

Chef Pinto mentioned that business has been “really down” during the pandemic, part of it is the fact that Tempura doesn’t hold up well To-Go (make sure to enjoy immediately in your 4 person dining room (car) to prevent steaming of the crispy-crunchy pieces). (We found some shaded parking spots just down the street from the restaurant and enjoyed.) Yet despite it all, Chef Pinto could be seen greeting each customer, thanking the local Japanese clientele (with fluent Japanese), and doing his best to survive.

Tendon Tempura Carlos Junior
1510 Cabrillo Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501
Tel: (424) 488-2313


Opening in Pasadena soon! I’m so happy


hyped. 3 blocks from the office.


That is wonderful news!!! Not far from an A Line Lake Station… YAYAYAYAY!!! Wish they were closer to Kinrose for a post dinner ice cream hit. Bit it’s still relatively close.