Oishi Nazi, who I dined with at my first visit to Totoraku, is the brain child behind Kinjiro, Little Tokyo’s newest izakaya restaurant.  He actually operated b.o.s., the restaurant which previously occupied the same space.  b.o.s. had some amazing food, but it didn’t quite get the following it deserved.  So Oishi Nazi, being the passionate and ambitious restauranteur that he is, is back at it again with this new concept, a slightly higher end izakaya.  At first, I was reluctant about Kinjiro because the whole point of izakaya is small eats, grilled things, a mish mosh of stuff to be enjoyed over beer.  So the idea of paying more for food that’s meant to be casual and inexpensive did not seem appealing.  Smooth Obturator and Triple T went and gave it their seal of approval, so I figured I needed to give it a shot.

Kinjiro Agedashi Homemade Tofu mushroom ankake sauce

Triple T talked up this dish saying it was as good as the agedashi tofu at Raku.  It didn’t quite hit the mark, but it was still pretty tasty.  I wasn’t used to the thickness of the ankake sauce, but it brought a delicious umaminess.

Kinjiro Free Range Chicken Maki-Age

I had a similar dish at Raku, but I think they did a better job here, though I can’t pinpoint the reasons. It was just very juicy.


Kinjiro Japanese Wagyu Carpaccio arima sansho

Another yummy dish, though the arima sansho might have been a touch too heavy or too much of it.

Miso Soup wakame seaweed

Baby G needed some normal simple foods.

Hot Inaniwa Udon

I’ve had better inaniwa udon, but this wasn’t bad at all.


Thick Cut Prime Beef Tongue sea salt

I’ve never had thick beef tongue. This was a real winner.  So tender, with a touch fattiness and juiciness.

Fried Yearling Oysters

This was a daily special.  I don’t eat a lot of fried oysters, but these oysters seemed remarkably sweet and fresh.  It felt like a bit of a shame these were fried up instead of served raw, but they were probably the highest quality fried oyster I have ever eaten.

Steamed Wild Snapper Head

Another daily special.  A really simple preparation with shrimp, cabbage, ginger and just very subtle seasoning.  Smooth Obturator was picking through the whole head and only bones and eye sockets remained.

Australian Wagyu Chuck Rib Kalbi marinated

Another winner.  My god, this meat was so marbled and fatty.  I could not eat more than 2 pieces.  One should not eat more than 2 pieces.  This is a must try dish.

Kinjiro Squid Ink Udon

I love when udon is used in non traditional ways, like stir fried or in place of pasta.  If you closed your eyes you would have thought you were eating udon with like a bolognese.  When you opened your eyes you would realize that it was bolognese dyed black.  A fun dish.  A good dish, but next time I want to try the uni udon.

Kinjiro Beef Tendon, Tongue, Sinew & Tripe Miso Stew

While Smooth Obturator loved this dish, I could not handle the stinkiness of the offal here.  It was all tolerable until the tripe.  Whew!  That really took it over the top.


Black Sesame Mousse kuromitsu syrup

The desserts were solid in flavor with just the right amount of sweetness.  They could work on the texture here.  The mousse could  have been a little smoother.

Hojicha Green Tea Panna Cotta maple syrup

I would have appreciated a more jiggly panna cotta.  But I quite enjoyed the hojicha green tea since it’s not a common green tea flavor to come across.  It was earthy and roasted.

While it seems like I gave some negative comments about some of the dishes, I was just being nitpicky.  Overall, I really enjoyed the food at Kinjiro.  The offerings are plentiful.  The quality is high.  The prices really are not bad at all.  Parking is always a pain in Little Tokyo.  Be sure to make a reservation because they seemed to be turning away a lot of walk-ins.  I would definitely return.  The beef tongue and wagyu were really marvelous.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome!

8 – Very good

7 – Good

6 – OK

5 – Average

4 – Not bad

3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT go here


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