Oh beloved Anjin, you have siphoned away enough of my money, but I always seem so eager to give you more. For some reason, whenever I head to Irvine/South Coast, I always end up at this tiny restaurant. Why? Because it’s so damn good.One rainy tornado filled night after hours of shopping at South Coast, me and 3 other friends headed over to Anjin to find it pretty deserted. We were sat instantly (usually we have to go next door to grab a beer first). One word of advice if you don’t do so already, place a heaping spoonful of minced garlic into the unclouded sauce, it’s phenom. The garlic can be found next to the toothpick speared jade cow. We usually start off our meal with some Beef Tongue, but since none of my other friend’s were game, we started off with Kimchi. Great, Kimchi at a Japanese restaurant. Although praised by my friend to be one of the best, if I closed my eyes and took a bite out of a prepackaged Super-H Mart Kimchi, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Sorry.What the hell is this!? I came to Anjin to be a barbarian and to devour delicious animal meat. Instead, I’m being served leafy greens with slices of apples, cucumbers, and carrots. Truthfully, the House Salad is amazing. The olive vinaigrette that they use is complex and exquisite and a cheerful deviation from the salad dressing norm. However, I’m no dumb stegosaurus, bring on the meat! Excuse that piece of parsley for ruining the gorgeous image, but the Beef Tataki is awesome. A quick flash searing on each side brings out the wonderful beef flavor, while leaving the beef raw, produces the tremendous tender texture. Paired with the house sauce and a dollop of garlic only enhances the flavor. We started off our grilling adventure with the #4 Marbled Prime Boneless Short Rib. Usually when I’m at Anjin I would tell you to opt for the less expensive items, because they’re just as good as their exclusive counterparts. However, I would gladly pay an extra 20 cents per slice for this fat beauty. 3 orders of #1 Prime Boneless Short Rib. It was a mistake to eat the marbled slices first, because the whole time I was wishing each piece was it’s delicious older brother. Screw paying $2 for a bowl of rice, we’re smart, we’ll pay $8 for their “Cooked Seasoned Vegetables with Raw Beef and Egg Yolk.” What? Well played Anjin, well played. It would be easier to just change the name from CSVWRBAEY to Bibimbap. This used to be my favorite dish at Anjin, #8 Prime Outside Skirt, until the Marbled Short Rib came to play. Although not as tender as some other cuts, it is the heaviest in flavor. If anybody has ever gone with me to any grilling spot esp. Anjin, they know how nit-picky I am about grilling things. All meats have to be perfectly marinated, they have to be perpendicular against the grilling grate, the corn has to be smeared in sauce and garlic and the grilled, etc. I apologize for being so anal. It’s also hard to determine who gets the last and final piece.
Food: 8.5 – High quality flavorful meats paired with excellent sauces and side dishes are a well known identity of Anjin.
Restaurant Environment: 8/10 – Barbecuing your own food is always an enjoyable and personal bonding moment with you and your friends
Service: 7.5/10 – Great service is always expected with Japanese cuisine, but do you guys really always have to turn down my fire only to have me turn it back up seconds later.
Value: 7/10 – Usually it get’s a little pricey ~$40 per, but this time we spent less than $20 each. A modern day miracle!