And for the sake of everyone and their wallets, don’t ever go to the J-Town location.
The J town location does not have the full Tonkatsu location but does have Ramen. The only one with the full Tonkatsu menu is Torrance (But no Ramen there). It’s totally confusing…
Good to know you’ve been to Torihei. Well it’s still owned by the original chef-owners, it’s just that Masa-san and the others are either running their Ramen restaurant, or back at the Yokohama original location these days. I think the change might’ve happened over a year ago for sure. The “2.0” staff are younger, and have picked up some of the learnings, but they just aren’t as good as the original crew. Still tasty with good prices, though.
What is even more confusing is that the food is not good, hard to believe they are related.
Thanks to all for the suggestions. For our dinner, we went with Torihei, recommended by @Chowseeker1999 and a favorite of our family. My mom, my brother, and I have all celebrated birthdays there, and now we can add meeting the boyfriend/his birthday-eve dinner. The atmosphere was just perfect…relaxed yet lively. And the varied menu meant that everyone’s palette and appetite were satisfied. The four of us ordered some past favorites (beef tongue, tsukene, and smelt yakitori, hanpen/fish cake and turnip cake oden) and a new favorite thanks to @Chowseeker1999’s report (oyako kama-meshi: rice with salmon, salmon roe, and mushroom). We also ordered homemade mixed pickles, the sliced sweet potato off the specials board, edamame, a tempura shrimp sushi roll, marinated raw squid, and albacore sashimi. With one draft beer and one black sesame ice cream, our total bill came in around $75 incl. tax, which was very reasonable. We finished the evening at home with a slice of celebration cake from Susiecakes that my mom picked up earlier in the day.
I didn’t get to hit most of the spots I hoped to, but we went to Huaraches Azteca in Highland Park for huaraches and and aguas frescas, Scoops down the street for ice cream, dinner at Chinese Friends in Chinatown before my DJ gig, breakfast at Pann’s, late lunch (limited menu) at Salazar in Atwater Village (where I lived before moving north. Salazar Mazda was my old repair shop, so I wanted to see how it had been transformed. Flour tortillas were good but I won’t be back. Overpriced and precious.). Ate at the Copper Cafe at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for breakfast on the way down (with banana cream pie to go) and some more basic road trip food (In N’ Out and Arby’s).
I’ll add photos separately
(I forgot to snap a picture of the crunchy roll, delicious beef tongue yakitori, and black sesame ice cream)
Half eaten tsukemono/mixed pickles and sashimi (oops). Turnip cake oden upper right corner.
Hanpen/fish cake oden
Marinated raw squid
Tsukene/chicken meatball yakitori (3 orders)
Sliced sweet potato special
Oyako kama-meshi rice pot
Susiecakes celebration cake
More travel food pics
Huarache Azteca, Highland Park. Two super huaraches, one with chicken and red and green salsa, one with squash blossom and green salsa. A small cactus and chia seed agua fresca and a large horchata.
Salazar, Atwater Village. Watermelon agua fresca ($8! !), asada and al pastor tacos on flour tortillas (default tortilla option), $4 side of guacamole, $6 chips and salsa.
Pann’s, Ladera Heights. Blackened catfish breakfast and chicken fajita omelette.
Chinese Friends, Chinatown. Beef and broccoli, orange chicken, and steamed rice.
Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo. Corned beef hash.
So glad you and your family enjoyed Torihei! And glad to hear they’re still making some delicious food with their next generation staff. We love the Kamameshi as well! That rice and salmon and salmon roe.
But one thing you have to clear up… you had a DJ gig after Torihei?! Nice! Where did you spin at?
The DJ gig was in Chinatown at Melody Bar on Hill Street. We dined at Chinese Friends on Broadway Friday evening before the event. It’s become my go-to in Chinatown before gigs. It’s just outside of the main drag so there’s usually tables available, the service is good, food delivered quick, and the price is right. Walking through the “employees only” door to the kitchen to use the bathroom (I always ask first!) is a treat, as you get to watch the chefs working expertly and efficiently…dodging knives and woks as you squeeze by. Bonus points for a clean looking kitchen. Not out-of-your-way food, but I dig it. Our order this time was way basic Menu here: Chinese Friends Menu
I wanted to try Jade Wok, recommended by @JeetKuneBao in several threads, but it closes at 8 and we needed to kill time until 9 (curiously, Chinese Friends is listed as closing at 9:15 on Yelp and 9:20 on Google).
Our Torihei dinner was on Sunday. Thankfully we made a reservation, as the place was packed when we arrived at 6:30, aside from our reserved table.
Wait. You went to Madonna Inn but didn’t post a bathroom pic?