There are many yakiniku joints in the LA/OC area (Manpuku, Anjin, and Tsuruhashi to name a few), but our household is particular to Tamaen. Many birthday celebrations have taken place here, and every meal has proven to be worthy of the 40-50 minute drive.
Tamaen is a hidden jewel of Lomita, the friendly city, and is located in a shopping center with some fast food sushi place and a boba bar. They serve the best meat in town that requires needs little to no sauce (lemon juice is good with certain items too!), and they also have some weird signature items such as Tongue Cubes (tan saikoro) and Clay-pot Marinated Intestines (tsubo horumon).
Tamaen serves draft Sapporo beer, which you can order by the pitcher (about 3-4 servings). They freeze the mugs for you! Ice cold beer is a must for yakiniku.
Tamaen salad, mino (intenstine), jou-galbee (“Good” Galbee). In yakiniku, meat is usually ranked nami (regular), jou (good), or tokujou (very good). The galbee here is very fatty so we usually get the jou.
Jou-tan (tongue) and P-toro (pork belly). My two favorite! We usually get the Jou-tan, saikoro (cubed), but the boys wanted to try something new. Tan is conventinally eaten with freshly squeezed lemon juice, hence, the lemon wedges.
You HAVE to get the P-toro. Its soooo juicy and crispy, not unlike bacon, and is just delish with lemon juice!
How to cook yakiniku.
How NOT to cook yakiniku.
We actually were here for a friend’s surprise birthday bash. The staff were really nice about everything… They let us reserve all three of the zashiki tables (the ones on the straw mats), they came to the rescue when our friends almost burned their table down… AND they even let us bring our own cake (and the 3-tier 19-cupcakes stand)!
We finished the meal with homemade fresh strawberry cupcakes.
If you love meat, give this place a try. You won’t regret it, I promise.
Tamaen Japanese BBQ
1935 Pacific Coast Highway
Lomita, CA 90717