HATCH YAKITORI + BAR
WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER
When talking about a Japanese izakaya restaurant that celebrates yakitori, let’s first make sure that we’re up to speed with the terminology. An izakaya is a casual Japanese pub popular for after-work drinking—think Irish pub or tapas bar. And yakitori is a Japanese type of skewered chicken grilled over a charcoal fire. So when you’re out at a yakitori izakaya, be prepared for meat on sticks in a pub environment, which is sort of the concept at HATCH Yakitori + Bar in downtown’s The Bloc open-air metro center.
HATCH is a modern izakaya style restaurant that celebrates yakitori, but also offers a fresh raw bar, and creative plates with an emphasis on quality of ingredients using only locally sourced organic Jidori chicken, wild caught fish and seasonal produce. Here, traditional Japanese cooking methods meet bold California flavors to deliver new takes on classic dishes.
Personally, I don’t really order chicken when I go out as I’d rather enjoy more tasty and daring meats but let me tell you that the chicken at HATCH is done spectacularly well. It is the specialty of the house and all the chicken dishes we had were fantastic.
We started our night by ordering off the Sticks menu. These are small plate, meat-on-skewer type of options. Think flavorful appetizers. A must-have is the Breast & Bacon! Come on, kick-ass Jidori chicken with bacon, yeah, that’s a no-brainer.
Other solid options include the Beef Tongue (very nice), Pork Belly, which is somewhat spicy, Chicken Wing, Herb Lamb, and Thigh & Green Onion. The Breast & Plum was OK and sadly the Quail Egg was bland.
A must-have entree from the Plates menu, at least one time, is the Black Karaage if not for the chicken goodness then at least for Instagram purposes as it’s a striking dish. This two-day brined fried chicken thighs with squid ink (for blackened purposes), house pickles, grilled lime, and black ranch dip is bold and tasty.
The Black Fried Rice with organic forbidden rice, black garlic sauces, carrot, corn, mushroom, green onion, and pickles is another favorite. Love this one!
The Corn Tempura with sweet corn fritters, jalapeño, green onion, brown sugar, and assorted dips is a good shareable dish.
And you can’t go wrong with the 18-Day Aged Rib Eye with Aspen Ridge beef steak, wasabi mash potato three ways, and mustard tare. This is a pleasing and hearty one for sure.
Unfortunately I wasn’t really impressed with the cocktails, although the Wassup Bae with Roku gin, wasabi, cucumber, lemon juice, lemongrass syrup and salt was nice. I personally am not interested in a Mangorita and the Matcha Highball was just a ‘No’ and I like matcha. The Tokyo Drift wasn’t great and just drifted away to the corner of the table before they took it away.
“There is a Japanese twist to each of these cocktails,” explains Bar Director James Fastiggi.
I would have preferred less twist and more flavor.
But props to HATCH for offering a solid selection of sake to choose from as there’s enough choices to please the sake novice to the sake connoisseur. There are also premium Japanese whisky options as well as a bounty of beers. You can’t go wrong with a cold beer and meat on sticks or a nice sake to pair with your entrees.
If you save room for dessert, the Binchotan Brownie—grilled brownie, matcha frosting, and black sesame ice cream—is decadently delicious. Likewise, the Flan-tastic with green tea and coconut mocha and yuzu puree does not disappoint either.
While Happy Hour is only from 5-6pm weekdays, Tipsy Tuesday is a fun night out with 50% off all drinks with a minimum order of $20 per person.
I like the relax setting at HATCH Yakitori + Bar. I can happily feast on the Sticks menu options and order the Black Fried Rice or the Black Karaage if I want to go big. Add to that a cold beer or a sake flight and I’ll be one happy camper. So let the good times roll.
HATCH Yakitori + Bar is located at 700 West 7th Street, Suite G600, at The Bloc in Downtown LA. Open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30am to 2:30pm; Dinner nightly from 5pm to close on weeknights and 6pm to close on weekends. Call 213-282-9070.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: HATCH Yakitori + Bar