Dinner at Kinjiro - Review with pics

Thanks to Maru-san, @J_L and @Porthos finally had dinner last night at Kinjiro. Overall impressions is that it’s really good and I will be going back to try more things from the menu. It was just my wife and I but we over ordered to be able to try more things.

Oysters in ponzu sauce - Pretty fresh oysters (off the shell) but not the best oysters I’ve had. The ponzu sauce was great as it had a bit of a kick to it which played really well w/ the oysters. Also a great bargain at just $8 as we counted about 7 oysters (pic was taken after we gobbled up a few.)

Octopus salad with cucumbers and seaweed - This was a dud. Flavorless and octopus was on the chewy side

Agedashi Tofu - holy cow! The umami on this dish is off the charts and probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Also a very generous sized portion at just $12.

Seared Santa Barbara uni - Nice uni flavor but didn’t think the searing really added much to the flavor. Looks cool though.

Brussel sprouts chips - Very good and perfect beer food. Good dish to share w/ 4 or so people.

Pork belly kakuni - Another stand out dish. Awesome flavors (almost tastes like galbi-jim) and the radish was fantastic as well. Just wished the egg was slightly less cooked. Would definitely order again.

Grilled beef tongue - I know this is their most popular dish but I did not care for it at all. Just couldn’t get past the texture of the tongue. I’m used to eating thinly sliced tongue where you don’t really notice the texture of a cow’s tongue but sliced thick like this, you couldn’t help but notice the rubbery texture of eating a tongue.

Miso glazed seared foie - Another good dish albeit a bit on the sweet side. I really liked the wasabi with the foie.

Some kind of tea panna cotta with maple syrup - Eh could take it or leave it.

They have a pretty extensive sake list. I’m a total noob when it comes to sake so I just asked for a recommendation for the lighter courses. They also have a pretty good list of japanese beers. We had several Asahi reserves which were really tasty. Service was fantastic and the crowd was a decent mix of japanese and non japanese customers.

1 small bottle of sake and 3 beers came out to $165 with tax.

Things that looked interesting that I want to try next time:

Sardine tempura
Australian wagyu rice bowl
Uni udon
chicken maki-age
grilled mackerel


Love the agedashi tofu, it’s right up there with raku’s.

Nice report @tailbacku! :slightly_smiling: Thanks for great pics and thoughts.

I had the same feeling as you when we went: Some great dishes, nice presentation, but we had a few duds as well (like the Octopus and Beef Tongue).

Would you say Kinjiro is better than Raku?

Haven’t been to Raku yet so I’ll let the others chime in. Porthos did say the agedashi is better at Kinjiro.

This one’s easy - Yes.
Morinoya is also better than Raku.
Hell, the original Raku (ironically in the space currently occupied by Kinjiro) was better than this current iteration of Raku.

1 Like

Stopped by for another visit to Kinjiro. Wanted to try some different dishes from the last few visits and ordered some favorites.

Kinjiro Agedashi Homemade Tofu, Organic Mushroom Ankake Sauce:

I’ve had this before, but felt like trying it again. It’s delicate, soft and I like the Ankake Sauce. Tasty. :slight_smile:

Kinjiro Beef Tendon, Tongue, Sinew & Tripe Miso Stew:

This was OK. The Tendon was the best part, very soft and gelatinous and gooey. We were disappointed that their Intestine was non-existent (the waiter confirmed it supposedly “melts” into the stew). We were looking forward to trying it. The flavor profile was rather one-note though, tasting primarily of Soy Sauce. It got boring after a few bites.

Kinjiro Free-Range Chicken Maki-age:

Similar in presentation and style to Aburiya Raku’s Asajime Fried Chicken, the 3rd time ordering this dish was the same as the other two times: It’s pretty tasty, but it lacks that crave-worthy punch of a great traditional Kara-age (Fried Chicken) (like our old board favorite Torihei), and Raku’s version is brighter and more interesting, with their Asajime Chicken (dispatched same day, great deep poultry flavor).

Oyster & Organic Mushroom Zosui Rice Soup:

Ever since trying out that one odd Japanese Izakaya on the pier recommended on our old board (I think from rameniac, @bulavinaka and others) (Bincho), I’ve been mesmerized by their Zosui. Everyone was right, it was so good! So seeing Kinjiro offer a Zosui / Rice Soup, I had to give it a try. I love Shiitake Mushrooms and the idea of Oysters on top of that seemed like a great idea.

Kinjiro’s Zosui is unfortunately disappointing: The Rice Soup tastes bland and one note. Like a generic Chicken Bouillon, and the Oysters added nothing to the soup except texture. After a few sips, neither of us wanted to finish our Zosui. :frowning: Disappointing.

I like Kinjiro for this part of town, and I don’t mind returning from time-to-time, but it always feels like there are some hits and some misses, and the overall experience is “fine” but not “spectacular” or “outstanding.”


Thanks for the report. I feel like I want to go there to try that first dish alone!

And sadly, I just looked it up after reading your write-up, and it appears that Bincho on the Redondo Pier is no longer with us. RIP http://www.yelp.com/biz/izakaya-bincho-redondo-beach

Kinjiro’s tofu is really good, but i prefer raku’s agedashi tofu.

1 Like

Good to know. Sounds like I’ll be going on a Tofu Tour 2016.

As if on cue with maruhide’s closure (which, btw, is -apparently scandalous), Kinjiro is offering a more uni-er version of their uni udon: uni risotto. This is actually far better uni vessel than the uni pasta at Maruhide, because it is served with … Spoons.

Also awesome, fried sardines:

added bonus: leftover pork belly kakuni for lunch, with a baguette for sauce dipping.


Thanks to @TonyC i tried the uni risotto and it was fucking delicous, who needs maruhide or officine brera.

It’s my seared uni in a box

The tripe, tongue, and tendon stew was so offal it could play for the LA lakers.

Locally forced foie gras

So soft it signed an endorsement deal with charmin

Hipster new zealand salmon swims upstream because downstream is too mainstream


The puns are strong this morning with this one. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Pro-tip: after the first turn, which usually ends around 9pm, it is definite possible to walk in on Wednesdays, their slowest day.


Thanks @TonyC, @PorkyBelly. Will definitely have to try their Uni Risotto next time. Looks amazing. :slight_smile:

Didn’t get the sardines on Thursday night (or uni risotto), but on the specials menu, the Chilled Battered Smelt didn’t seem so sexy until I saw the kanji for nanbanzuke 南蛮漬け which a good version makes me weak in the knees

Deep fried smelt served chilled and pickled in vinegar/seasonings. Sexcellent after some heavy duty heavy flavored dishes. Kind of like having a pristine kohada after otoro. Actually these were more like “shishamo” (more like capelin?), had roe in em too!

The presentation of the uni risotto is certainly appealing!

The tendon, tripe, and tongue stew sounded excellent on paper, and unfortunately did not work for me…far too salty and concentrated, the sauce overpowering everything to the point where you couldn’t taste the delicate textures of say the tripe. I guess aka miso (Tokyo style) stew is not quite my thing if this is the way it is (but it shouldn’t be like that in theory?). Come to think of it, it was at least 10x saltier than the sake no sakana trio (tuna guts with cream cheese, marinated hotaru ika, and squid ink shiokara).


Hi @beefnoguy,

Yah sounds like your experience was similar to mine with the Tendon, Tripe Stew.

I’m assuming you mean sourced, unless this was another pun? Wonder where it’s from, since as far as I know California still aren’t allowed to produce foie gras, only allowed to sell it.

bad joke.

Of course it was a pun.

1 Like

That was the one miss of the night. It was extremely rich and a little too salty. Having it with rice helped a lot though.