What's your WORST Izakaya in LA/OC?

I’ll nominate The Backhouse on Pico across from Landmark.
After crying my way through the terrific Brooklyn, I made the mistake of having to shed even more tears over the horrible food at the Backhouse. Never been, never going back - should be called the Outhouse.

But it got me thinking, are there EVEN WORSE Izakaya in town?

shit, I fucking cried during that movie too.

you should have just grabbed a jigger of johnny blue and a half buttermilk fried chicken from Westisde Tavern and chocolate mousse for dessert.

and that ain’t no joke.

it’s pretty fucking bad, but I have friends that really like the joint and rave about the happy hour.

Their salmon carpaccio or the red snapper sashimi with the yuzu kosho or is it the salmon with the black truffle oil is good to decent. i like their shishito peppers, and their ground chicken meatballs, the varietals sans fucking cheese, but the other stuff is crap and their happy hour is really not that happy. Maybe 50 cents off her and a dollar off over fucking there.

correction: sorta teared up.

Westside Tavern was fucking closed with no explanation on the doors or windows.
So, I called them and got a generic message too.
Very very odd - they must rake in mega bucks on a Sunday. To close is a very costly proposition for them. And it looked set up for service too.

something about vault fire on the news yesterday; no electricity

1 Like

we had the octopus with wasabi sauce
fried knee cartridge
“cajun” shrimp
chicken thigh
chicken breast
ginko nuts

raw, fried and grilled all done equally poorly.
should have tried something steamed, 'cuase I was.


Izakaya Bincho - great food, shitty izakaya.

I wonder what happened to the chef/wife?

wait a fucking second.

Did they close down for fucking good… in regards to Izakaya Bincho ???

Thanks man.

Sure did

they may have, and I fucking hate to say it, sealed their own fate.

That location on the boardwalk did them no favors.

The last I heard about the wife was she had to return to Japan - was it to help an ailing family member? When she left, Tomo-san’s attitude got more gruff and sour by the visit. We would call to see if and when they were open - usually on friday or saturday. No one was answering the phone after a while. Because of this, we would just drop by at the beginning of the posted hours. With no one inside except for Tomo-san, he would shooh us away and tell us to come back in 45 minutes to an hour. We finally said F-this. I don’t know what his lease arrangements were but he should have bailed from this location on Day Two. Great skills but I think his life was unraveling.

Oh, maybe that’s why.

I’ve had very similar fucking experiences.

but damn, those shrimp dumplings were fucking incredible.

I never made it there despite such high praise from The Posters Formerly Known As Chowhounds.

I think I remember reading similar encounters from other posters on either CH or Yelp. I went once (when it was Izakaya Bincho and not Yakitori Bincho). Tasty enough, but not astonishing.

I prefer not to answer this one, just 'cuz I feel like taking the high road today. (But I do reserve to right to lambast a place if they truly deserve it on a future date).


Oba Pasadena. Has to be Oba. I can’t imagine anything worse than that.

Iccho in Torrance was terrible the last time I went there a few years ago.

Musha is pretty fucking crummy.

I think the praise was well deserved. So many dishes were delicious, enough to make expats think of back home. But the location and unit itself worked against Bincho from the beginning. I’m guessing Tomo-san didn’t think there were issues with this place (at least initially). Izakayas in Japan are usually located in and around foot-trafficky areas and the configuration of deep narrow places are the rule. While it’s a non-issue for Japanese, I think most folks here want more ambiance; more elbow room.

If I was harsh and presumptive in my previous post, I apologize. But I think while Bincho set a new bar in this type of food, the quirkiness did get in the way for us (and I am sure many others). We always tried to show Tomo-san great respect. He did recognize us as we came in often enough. But the gruffness, wonton behavior and disregard for common courtesy ( extremely frowned upon in Japanese culture) that became his norm later on - especially with my parents present - was way beyond unacceptable.

What probably clipped Bincho in the knees was Torihei. The place is similar enough in food to Bincho, the quality is at least on par and probably more of what folks here would want and expect as far as service, space and ambiance.