Juicy, Crispy Japanese Fried Chicken Made with Love and Care - Pikunico - Grand Opening [Thoughts + Pics]


Went today and had the ‘classic’ 3 pc chicken thigh. Keep in mind these are small boneless thighs. Very juicy, natural tasting (no brine flavor) chicken. Pretty sure I fall on the other end of the salt spectrum from @Chowseeker1999 and felt they could have used a little more somewhere in therie. The crust didn’t stand out but no obvious faults. What really was a highlight for the juicy thighs were sauces -the parsley almost like a japanese gremolata was fabulous with the chicken as was the ponzu. Yuzu-aide was excellent nicely balances not too sweet or tart.

Hit up Hidden House Coffee after for a Cortado, My first time there and really excellent. Will return. Over all I really enjoy walking around the Row DTLA complex and wish I had set aside more time to do so.

For me Pikunico is good but not close to the level of Howlin Ray’s but def worth checking out.


Hi @aaqjr,

Thanks for the report back. Yah, we really liked how juicy they were. I don’t really compare it to Howlin’ since that’s American Fried Chicken (w/ all sorts of amazing Nashville-style heat levels (that all taste different)).

For Karaage, I think Pikunico’s are pretty standout compared to most places we’ve tried recently (various Izakaya, etc.). Yah and we loved the sauces as well. :slight_smile:


Update 1:

We suddenly felt an urge for more crispy Japanese Fried Chicken so off we went… :wink:

Walking in, Chef Kuniko Yagi was still in the house, cooking and prepping along with her staff.

Housemade Yuzu-ade:

Wonderful. Same as before: Japanese Yuzu CItrus imparts such a distinct lightly floral, aromatic note to each sip. So refreshing. :slight_smile:

(Fried Chicken) Wing Basket (3 Whole Wings):

For this follow-up visit, the batter on the Fried Chicken Wings were noticeably crunchier (nice!), with the Chicken Wing interior still moist and cooked just through. It was a touch more savory than before, which was still spot-on and delicious. :blush:

Daikon Ponzu Oroshi, Parsley & Sesame Sauce, Lemon Aioli:

The 3 Housemade Sauces are still excellent, adding an additional layer of flavor and really changing up how the Fried Chicken Wings turn out. We liked all 3 Sauces this time, but our favorite might be the Parsley & Sesame Sauce. :slight_smile:

Ginger Onigiri (Seasoned Steamed Rice Ball, Soy Sauce, Ginger, Garlic):

The Ginger Onigiri still had the soft Nori (Seaweed) wrapper, unfortunate, but the actual Seasoned Ginger Rice was delicate, with a subtle Ginger note and savoriness.

Pikunico Slaw (Cabbage, Kale, Red Onion, Seasonal Vegetable, Sesame Vinaigrette):

Their Pikunico Slaw was even more savory and tasty than before! :open_mouth: :blush: I don’t know what magic Chef Kuniko is doing here, but she somehow makes all of those simple ingredients combine together into something far greater than the individual parts.

Outstanding Coleslaw, tasting nothing like the usual renditions. :slight_smile:

Classic (Fried Chicken) (3 Pieces of Thigh):

Chef Kuniko has been adjusting the batter on her Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken). During the Grand Opening, it was all crispiness, with no crunch, which was fine. Taking a bite on this visit, there’s a noticeable crunch and crispiness! :blush:

Also, perhaps taking feedback from @aaqjr or others, her Karaage today was slightly more savory (but not overly salty (not even close), and still quite delicious! :blush: It was still so juicy, with a more robust flavor coming through that it could be enjoyed on its own, without the 3 Housemade Sauces.

And all 3 Sauces worked quite well as well: The Lemon Aioli might’ve finally hooked me, definitely conjuring up memories of eating Karaage with Kewpie. :smile:

Taking another bite, they are just so satisfying and well prepared and flavored, they are our favorite Karaage in L.A. right now! So good! :heart:

Fingerling Fries (with Negi Salt):

Deeply earthy, tasting of real Potato flavor (sometimes you get those Fries that just taste like salt and crunch (which isn’t bad), but here, it tastes like you’re enjoying a hybrid of a Baked Potato and French Fry in some ways. I love her Negi Salt. :slight_smile:

(Secret Menu) Zosui (Housemade Chicken Rice Soup)(!!!):

It finally happened! We had mentioned to Chef Kuniko how amazing her Chicken Egg Drop Soup might be if it was the basis of a Zosui (Japanese Rice Porridge / Soup), and she said multiple customers asked her about this, and on this visit, she was making Zosui as a secret menu item! Woo hoo!

Taking a sip: SERIOUSLY.

That perfectly balanced, soulful, heartwarming Housemade Chicken Broth with tender chunks of Free-Range Chicken, Egg, Green Onions and then cooked down with her Ginger Rice.

It is OUTSTANDING! :heart: :heart: :heart:

Definitely the best Zosui we have right now in L.A., and Chef Kuniko was just doing this on the side. (@bulavinaka @J_L @PorkyBelly and others don’t miss out on this.) :blush:

We’re glad the Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) is still excellent at Pikunico. Chef Kuniko seems to be iterating on her Grand Opening batter and seasoning, with a slightly more crunchy (but still crispy) exterior, and more savoriness in the meat, while still delivering juicy, tasty Karaage that stands out from the competition.

Add in the excellent, more refined (and better tasting) Pikunico Slaw and that Zosui (if it’s not available, don’t miss out on her Chicken Drop Soup instead), and you have the makings of a new rising star in L.A.

767 S. Alameda Street, Suite 122
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Tel: (213) 278-0407



My 3 piece thighs was not very good. One piece was DRY as fuck. None were crispy or well seasoned.
Fries - great
Slaw - ok

Maybe a bad batch.


Hi @CiaoBob,

That’s terrible. Sorry to hear. :frowning: did you bring it up with the staff? Definitely give them feedback.

This second visit was just as good as the first for us. I overheard them asking some customers as they left how the meal was, if they had suggestions.


Loved everything here except the fried chicken.

Sweet potato salad, egg drop soup and eponymous cabbage slaw are ridiculous. Fried chicken, not so much.


Thanks for the report @ipsedixit. How did the Karaage turn out? What didn’t you like about it? Thanks. (And love their chicken egg drop soup and the slaw! Glad you liked those items.) :slight_smile:


Agree (but did not have the soup).
The chicken sucks.


Only had the thighs, but they were very bland and chewy (not in a good way). Reminded me of a Whole Foods Rotisserie Chicken. Ever had those things? The words “chewy” “bland” and “stringy” are all adjectives that come to mind. It’s what I’d imagine a waif Rotisserie Chicken would taste like

The real redeeming quality of the Pikunico chicken is that they are a fabulous excuse to slurp up the ponzu oroshi dipping sauce.

Call me crazy but I much prefer the karaage at Marugame Monzo.


Thanks @ipsedixit. Bummer. Seems like they lack quality control (or are already handing off the cooking to other lesser skilled staff).


When I was there Sergio was there.
The scraps of thigh were small and dry.
There was virtually no flavor to the coating/crust and it left a filmy taste on the tongue and in the mouth. There was no crispiness factor.
It was not tasty fried chicken to me.
Might be that the Gluten Free nature of the coating-crust is just is not for me.