Location: 20920 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503. (310) 371-6675
Date: January 18, 2018
Cuisine: Japanese Tempura
Rating: Solid but not amazing Tempura
Various people in my foodie circles had been floating the idea of a wine dinner to old school Torrance tempura joint, I-naba.
I ended up going with the Baby Killers (what I call one of my food groups). The reservation was for a blisteringly early — thanks Charlie! — 6:30pm which resulted in hideous traffic to it’s undistinguished mini-mall location.
The inside is seriously old school Japanese restaurant.
The even have a tempura bar — which is cool.
Cured duck with mustard. Nice, like a pastrami.
Amuse of marinated onions and some fish.
Sashimi plate with salmon, yellowtail, and another fish.
Fermented squid guts. A winter special — very briny and not to everyone’s taste — I actually like it.
Simmered chicken with taro. Chunks of taro and chicken soup. Pretty good.
Fried tofu in dashi soup. Very mild flavor but I love the texture of the fried tofu and the mild dashi flavor.
Pressed mackerel sushi. Very old fashioned — like 19th century!
Chawanmushi – Simmered egg custard dish. Always love these.
Stew of egg and some other stuff.
And my favorite tempura, the mixed everything (Kakiage).
Cold buckwheat soba noodles.
Soy sauce like dipping sauce and the traditional condiments of wasabi, green onion, and daikon radish. You dump them in the sauce and dip. Very nice soba.
So-so Japanese ice cream. (Overly grainy and frozen).
Real genuine Sweet Milk Gelato that I made (and brought)! Meyer Lemon French Vanilla Gelato — looks simple, but the milk was steeped with Tahitian Vanilla beans and Meyer Lemon peel. I pair it in the bowl with Amareno cherry syrup too!
The dump included ice cream!
Tonight’s wines were great, but a total free-for-all as Charlie likes to do it. Because I’m lazy, I’ll just post the pictures.
As you can see, mostly Champ and Burgundy of both flavors.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable evening (except for the traffic), and the wines and company were fabulous, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the food. It was good traditional Japanese, and some dishes were very good like the tofu and soba, but the tempura in particular sat too long (possibly due to our large party) and was only good, not great. In fact, I like the tempura better at super casual Hannosuke. I had hoped for mind blowing tempura. That being said, the whole meal was tasty and a great deal.