Take the most popular components of Japanese Bento, splash them with comforting Southern-soul inspiration, and your payoff is an irresistible array of Asian-fusion dishes likely to captivate many Los Angeles-area diners. The Tokyo Fried Chicken Co., after several weeks of soft-opening success, officially opens this Labor Day weekend in Monterey Park, a neighborbood flush with noodles, pho, seafood, and dim sum.
Owner and chef Kouji Yamanashi operated Open Door in this space for five years, and earned a loyal clientelle with his Mediterranean/Asian style tapas. Diners arrived from far-flung zip codes just to get their fix of his Truffle Butter Edamame. Yamanashi shuttered Open Door, and reopened as Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. after dedicating two years to perfect his secret recipe for the restaurant’s mainstay dish, essentially a version of the chicken karaage often found in Japan’s bento box-meals.
Their chicken is brined in soy, ginger and garlic, then fried in rice bran oil which aims to render a lighter and less greasy bird. The Southern inspiration? It’s battered and fried Southern-style and served with honey. Homemade spicy ponzu and sweet and spicy soy sauces are also offered for dipping. Disposable plastic gloves are distributed with the juicy fried chicken to simplify the cleanup.
Side dishes reflect the Asian-soul coalesce – The hot, creamy Mac & Cheese is baked and served in a cast iron dish, and topped with a mound of salty, slivered, dried seaweed. The Creamed Corn is…curried. The Collard Greens are braised in…dashi. Glazed Baby Carrots with Bacon are…glazed with soy. Ratatouille is seasoned with… miso. Creamy Coleslaw is dressed with…Japanese sesame oil. You get the idea.
The set dinner for two people is $21, which includes six pieces of chicken and a couple of standard sides. You’ll want to add some ‘premium sides’ for a few bucks more. And Truffle Butter Edamame remains on the menu.
There’s a decent choice of local craft beers as well as Japanese brews like Yona Yona and Hitachino, and some signature spiked drinks like orange-mango Shōchū and honeydew Shōchū.
Overall, Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. doesn’t deliver anything groundbreaking, but at the very least it’s a pleasant neighborhood ‘izakaya,’ and a soulful alternative in a city crowded with seafood and pho.
122 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Wednesday and Sunday 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Thursday – Saturday 5:30 pm – 11 pm