In Hong Kong, this Japanese barbeque spot has over five years of history. Its Shenzhen incarnation is located near the nexus of Shenzhen’s CBD, across the street from two malls and the Convention and Exhibition Center.
A wood-paneled entrance leads to intimate booths, private rooms and sunlit tables.
As J-pop plays, we settle at a low table and wait for lunch.
We start with nine free appetizers. The tiny dishes, intended for groups of three to four, come arrayed in a case and pack flavors ranging from mild tofu to pickled cabbage to sweet, lightly cooked cherry tomatoes.
The yakitori dishes show a similar level of variety and attention to detail, elevating the once-humble street food to gourmet.
Two skewers of ox tongue (RMB48) are served still glistening from the grill, the texture smooth and pleasingly fatty, if chewy. Lychees wrapped in pork (RMB28) meld sweet and savory, while lightly grilled mochi cakes (RMB28 each) surprise with warm, melted cheese cores.
The seasonal Japanese chicken pot (RMB588), although flavorful and filling, is underwhelming for the price – stewed with veggies, the grass-fed imported fowl tastes, well, just like chicken.
For drinks, we settle for a sweet Kyoho grape soda (RMB22), although we’re told cocktails, made at neighboring bar Men’s Club, are also available in the evening.
With its polished interior and 10 percent service charge, not to mention premium prices, Bincho Ya sits firmly in fine dining territory.
Modest portion sizes delay immediate gratification, instead creating a slow build-up of different textures and flavors, while partitioned dining spaces lend themselves to business lunches and small get-togethers.
In other words, don’t come here when you’re ravenous. Instead, bring a friend or four for a lengthy meal spent sharing conversation along with choice tidbits.
Who’s going: businessmen, Hong Kongers
Good for: grilled meat, multi-course meals
Nearest metro: Shopping Park (Exit D), 5 minutes