Fried meatball — sounds heavy, right? You're probably picturing a giant, dense Italian meatball, coated in flour, egg and bread crumbs, then dumped into a vat of hot oil until it becomes a dripping wad of protein so greasy that the mere sight sends your body into preemptive cardiac arrest. Well, this is not that kind of fried meatball. At Izakaya Bincho, the small, homey restaurant hiding in Redondo Beach, they serve simple, country-style Japanese comfort foods, meant to be paired with beer and sake. Their meatballs are small, made from free-range Jidori chicken, have a light tempura breading and come in a bowl topped with grated daikon radish, chopped green onions and house-made ponzu sauce. It'll also be the first opportunity in your life to say “I want something light. How about some deep-fried meatballs?” The chef, Tomo-san, prepares other fried foods as well, like spicy wings, green-onion fried chicken, and (trust us) chicken gizzards. In the end, these meatballs (and Izakaya Bincho itself) are a great excuse to explore the little-known Redondo Beach Boardwalk, which feels like an odd fusion of Coney Island, a biker dive in Malibu, and some small port town in the Mediterranean.

—Noah Galuten

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