Mini review: Binchoyaki Izakaya

mushroom, potato, pork skewers
While I am sad that beloved Doughbot Donuts is no more, I can't be more thrilled with a quality restaurant that took it's place. What's more, it came highly recommended by Bill Ngo, chef extraordinaire of Kru. He was impressed just from the soft opening and we all know that places should (theoretically) get better as they iron out the kinks. Best of all, Binchoyaki is in my neighborhood, just a couple blocks away.

They've done a great job of remodeling the location. Not many people ever got (or needed) to go into the kitchen area or use the bathroom, but the place was pretty ramshackle. One of the (lesser) reasons Doughbot vacated. With the remodel, Binchoyaki is clean, comfortable, and has a nice bathroom!

The name of the place comes from Bincho meaning "charcoal" and Yaki meaning "grill". Therefore, I assume they use Binchō-tan charcoal. 
The fineness and high quality of binchō-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures (about 1000 degrees Celsius). Although it is often thought that binchō-tan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period, making it preferable to a number of Japanese chefs.
Meanwhile, "izakaya" is the Japanese equivalent of a gastropub. A social eating house.

Binchoyaki serves mostly small plates a la the robatayaki (customers sitting at a counter while chefs grill) and yakitori (grilled skewers). While there is a line of counter seats so you can watch the grilling, most seats are tables. They do not do reservations or takeout. It is a small place. One Saturday I happened to go by and there was a crowd of people outside waiting for tables.

krispy rice balls

Luckily I was with two girlfriends, so we ordered quite an assortment of items. Keep in mind that these are small plates and skewers are sold individually and are short, not long.

A favorite was the krispy rice balls above, topped with spicy tuna, serrano, chive ponzu. The outer layer is indeed crispy and wonderful. The skewers are mopped with a simple soya glaze, but they did mention an alternate kind as well. 

pork belly skewer

shishito peppers

creme caramel

hibiscus sorbet

You don't really think much of dessert in Japanese restaurants, but the creme caramel was well done and I loved the hibiscus sorbet. I do not know if they buy or make it. (update: they make it themselves)

I'm glad they are in my neighborhood, just wish they did takeout as I had hoped to get some ramen last night. (update: "We wish we did take outs too! But the chef really takes pride in his food and if you take out, the quality of the food drastically drops.")

Binchoyaki Izakaya Dining
2226 10th St.
Sacramento, CA 95818