Forming a chain can have negative connotations when it refers to mass market thinking and resulting homogeneity. Of course, the word has other meanings, and can even be a powerful connector. When I follow links to vet different foods and drinks to share on Food GPS, one experience often leads to another, and culinary chains become clear. That’s what happened in Torrance, when an okonomiyaki meal led to a subsequent sushi meal, and ultimately, yakitori. Hasu Yakitori has rested in an otherwise dark Torrance strip mall for the past three-and-a-half years and specializes in yakitori, chicken-centric Japanese skewers.
The name Hasu translates from Japanese as “lotus flower,” and the imagery enlivens an otherwise straightforward space that has black banquettes and red oval lanterns.
My cavalcade of skewers started with supple marinated Special Heart ($2.80). As the server pointed out, it was still “with pump,” which is apparently a selling point.
Chicken Meatballs ($2.50) were too soft from filler, but Muscle Liver ($2.50) had rich flavor.
Cartilage ($2.80) was crunchy and blistered from the grill.
Chicken Wing ($2.80) was de-boned and sported fatty, crisped skin. Pork Belly w/Cod Roe ($2.80) was a blackboard special featuring squiggles of savory mayo and crisp cuts of nori.
Chicken Gizzard Miso Stew ($3.80) featured surprisingly tender, almost like clam meat, an earthy flavor from the miso, and added pop from ginger strands and dabs of spicy mustard.
Grilled Beef Tongue ($5.80) arrived in thin, tender slices, but was bland until bolstered with salt, a squeeze of lemon, and the accompanying salad of tomato, parsley and onion.
King Oyster Mushroom ($1.95) was tender, well seasoned and sprinkled with herbs.
Seasoned Ground Chicken Bowl ($4) featured a layer of savory meat on a fluffy bed of white rice with nori and punchy pickled ginger as accent marks.
Chicken & Mushrooms Pot Style ($8.50) is available October through March and touts dark meat chicken chunks, enoki, shimeji, and shiitake mushrooms, and a light chicken broth.
Yukari’s Housemade Dessert was a blackboard option, but we skipped it. Yukari Kamiya used to work at Hasu, now runs a cake shop called Liaison Pastry and makes desserts.
Hasu clearly has a handle on chicken, and is worth a trip to a quiet corner of the South Bay.