424 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 11/23/14 and 1/30/16
Kinjiro opened at the end of 2014, replacing the meat-centric b.o.s. concept. I was sad to see b.o.s. go, though Kinjiro has been a strong follow-up effort with a little more comforting and familiar fare. Situated right next door to the ever-popular Sushi Gen, the restaurant has garnered a following of its own for its take on a Japanese izakaya. There is no sushi here, though the menu is pretty varied from raw dishes to steamed, fried, grilled, noodles and more. A large selection of sake is on hand to consume with the food, as well as a small but well-curated beer and wine list.
I’ve dined at Kinjiro a number of times since opening, but this post captures just a couple of those meals.
Kinjiro Ceviche (Octopus, Shrimp, Snapper, Scallops, Mango)
Ceviche was simple and satisfying with plump pieces of sweet fish accompanied by some vibrant aromatics and citrus.
Kinjiro Free-range Chicken Maki-age
The fried chicken was excellent here; chicken leg was rolled maki-style with the skin on the outside, leaving a very crispy exterior and juicy meat.
Kinjiro Agedashi Homemade Tofu, Mushroom Ankake Sauce
Agedashi tofu was another fried highlight featuring silken tofu in a savory mushroom sauce.
Dashi-Simmered Skate Wing
Dashi-simmered Wild “Kinki” Rockfish
The dashi-simmered kinki is a menu staple, while the skate wing was a special on the latest visit. In both instances, the fish was cooked nicely, and the sweet-savory broth provided a satisfying depth of flavor.
Niman Ranch Pork Belly Kakuni, Half-boiled Free-range Egg & Daikon
Tender hunks of pork belly were eaten with egg and daikon in this rich and comforting bowl.
Thick-cut Prime Beef Tongue with Sea Salt
Australian Wagyu Chuck Rib Kalbi (Salted)
My favorite items are some of the simplest at Kinjiro. I get the beef tongue every time I visit; each bite is tender and deliciously beefy. I tried the wagyu chuck rib kalbi during the latest visit as well. It’s a much richer, fattier cut with a ton of flavor.
Uni Udon with Hijiki Seaweed
Udon had a great texture, bathed in this rich uni sauce. The marinated hijiki seaweed brought some subtle sweetness into each bite.
Hot Inaniwa Udon
A simple bowl of hot udon was a comforting end to the savory dishes.
Black Sesame Mousse
Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea) Panna Cotta
Desserts have been surprisingly very strong at Kinjiro. Both the black sesame mousse and hojicha panna cotta have been excellent – smooth, a bit creamy, and well-balanced.
Kinjiro is a great addition to the Little Tokyo area. The food has been consistently strong – very simple, yet delicious. Favorites have been the fried chicken, any beef dish, and the udon but there haven’t been any disappointments.