Featured image courtesy of Izakaya Hachi.
I didn’t get a discount or free anything for my birthday, but I still passed up on ten free wings at Hooter’s and hooters to celebrate it here
Drinker, non-drinker, friends, no friends, clowns, no clowns, it all doesn’t matter because the food and staff make for a great time here which is why this is my favorite izakaya in L.A.
Sea, farm, garden, and buzzed
Go to your average pub and it is probably filled with a lot of deep-fried foods and the extent of a vegetable is lettuce and pickles.
If you’re a noob who has never been to an izakaya, an izakaya is a Japanese pub, but if you don’t have a tea cups worth of British culture in you, a pub is short for “public house.” Pubs are social drinking establishments.
A lot like a pub, a Japanese izakaya is also a social drinking establishment, but the food at Izakaya Hachi serves a variety of items that are steamed, raw, boiled, grilled, deep-fried, to my other food group, alcohol.
Battera (oshizushi) pressed mackerel sushi w/shiso leaves, gari ginger, and sesame seeds, $12.5: the lasagna of sushi, meaning it’s layered and pressed together into a block and it is oishii sushi (you see what I did there).
Spicy tofu & dried anchovy salad w/spicy soy sauce, $6.5: when they say “anchovy,” I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking of your ex (I joke). Ok, but seriously, you’re probably thinking of the type of anchovies that are brined and come packed in tin of oil which are used on a Caesar salads to puttanesca pasta sauce. Although the Japanese version that Hachi is most likely referring to is iriko/niboshi? which are tiny sardines. It’s the same fish used for stock in a lot of Japanese dishes like miso soup to ramen.
Gobo (burdock root) chips, deep-fried burdock chips, $6.50: these go great with drinking because they’re also healthier than a bag of chips.
You probably only ordered corn at Boston Market, but the fresh pan fried corn w/butter isn’t like the waxy corn at KFC $6.5.
Hachi gets extremely busy in Torrance because of all the Japanese businesses nearby, and Hachi isn’t all that big, so you might not be able to get a table. I highly suggest that you call in a couple of days to a week in advance.
If you ask “how long for a table,” but the hostess or host goes “hmmm, etto, umm (with question marks popping up above their head, them tilting their head, to a head scratch)” with no definitive answer. This is when you’re supposed to go “ohhhh, ok, so you don’t have a table, and I will leave.” Japanese don’t say “no” and they find it to be rude to say so (I find it annoyingly ambiguous).
Only expect to find this in Torrance.
Beef tongue (gyutan) $16.5 I think in Japan, this is one of the dishes that Izakaya Hachi specializes in, and I think they’re the best at it even though the gyutan at Kinjiro always gets hyped up.
Roasted duck breast $7.50: the key thing to a good breast of any kind is to not overcook them, and at Hachi they do a perfect job in preparing them.
Tontoro/pork cheek w/yuzu sauce $10.5: Izakaya Hachi has two locations, but they are owned by the same company who owns Manpuku which is a yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant. At Manpuku, I can’t go there without ordering tontoro.
Chicken wings $9.50….. dammmnnn bro, you even lift? Japanese chicken wings are tiny, but they’re good, and if you want to know why, check out an older post I did on chicken wings.
Nankotsu (fried chicken cartilage) $6.5: that slightly crunchy cartilage that you’re eating at the end of the bones of a chicken wing or any other piece can be an experienced through nankotsu (most likely only at the Torrance location).
Creamy crab croquettes (korokke) $8.5: if you were to ask most Americans what Japanese people eat, croquettes or “korokke” would not come up.
I’m fairly certain this was on the specials menu which is fermented squid innards and squid on a bake potato. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, have you had a Laphroaig 10? It’s peaty AF, so both are an acquired taste.
I’m dedicating an entire section to a pot full of intestines and cabbage.
Not just a soy based motsunabe, and you can get a miso: $20 for 1, or $38 for 2 or pork loin and belly nabe: $21 for 1, or $40 for 2.
Beef intestines, tofu, cabbage, garlic chives (nira) in a lite soy-based broth.
This pic was actually from a time I had one of my birthday dinners at Hachi which was a couple years ago already, time flies.
As soon as I get the motsunabe, I get to cooking because the longer you cook it, the softer the cabbage and intestines get. The flavors from all those ingredients stewing just adds to the soy-based stock (dashi) which makes it taste even better.
At the Japanese markets like Seiwa, they had tripe (small intestine) for $8, so I decided to make it myself. Suprisingly it wasn’t all that hard to do, but that is only if you can find quality product like the ones used at Hachi.
The Chinese and Taiwanese both eat intestines because my ex loved to eat them, but at that time I never wanted to try it (I can’t believe I never even bothered to try it). I think the first time I had tried it, it was as tripas in a taco.
You can do ramen noodles or rice at the end of the meal, but I think the rice soaks up that broth the best.
I love to eat, but being able to eat really good food that isn’t just a burger, a dozen chicken wings, or deep-fried while drinking with good friends is why I love Izakaya Hachi (especially when your friends pay for dinner…even if it’s at Hooters).
Hachi Signature Dishes
- Daily fresh oysters on the half shell, market price
- Santa Barbara uni and beef sashimi $12.5
- Creamy crab croquette $8.5
- Chicken dumpling $6.5
- Jidori omlette $8.0
- “Kobe” beef yakiniku salad w/garlic sesame dressing $8.5
- Beef tongue $16.5
- Beef ribeye steak w/ponzu sauce $17.5
- Battera pressed mackerel sushi w/shiso leaves, gari ginger, and sesame seeds $12.5
- Motsunabe (soy or miso) $16/$32
- Pork shabu shabu (tonkotsu) $21/$40
Beer (Sapporo and Asahi), Japanese microbrew (Kawaba), plum wine, shochu, red/white wine, sparkling wine, sake (Kurosawa, Otokoyama, Kikusui, Kubota, Hakkaisan, to Kenbishi)
I lived about 8 minutes away from the Costa Mesa location, but I would drive 40 minutes just to go to the Torrance location.
1880 W Carson St
Torrance, CA 90501
Parking: the parking lot in front of Hachi is on the small side and the adjoining parking lot is Manpuku, so if you’re here during peak hours, you will most likely have to park on Border Ave.
3033 Bristol St D.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Parking: if you come here during the evening or on the weekends, the parking here sucks because Halaal Guys, Capital Noodle Bar, Ikkousha Ramen and a number of other popular businesses are all located in this one strip mall. They do offer valet parking, but if you want to avoid doing that, and you don’t mind a half-block walk (South). Directly next door is the Dunn-Edwards paint store parking lot, and I think they allow you to park there after business hours.