Big in Japan

Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. serves Americana with a Japanese twist

Small plates, be gone: The family-style meal is where it's at.

That's what we thought as we dug into a platter at Monterey Park's Tokyo Fried Chicken Company.

Well, that and, "This is some damn fine chicken."

The concept at T.F.C.C. is refreshingly simple: Order a dinner set for your party ($12 per person), then supplement with side dishes to round out your paper-lined tray, which comes piled high with cabbage tsukemono, broth-steamed rice and, of course, a heaping mound of fried chicken.

And, yes, that juicy yardbird is graduate-level stuff.

Chef Kouji Yamanashi spent two years perfecting the recipe: After brining the bird in ginger and garlic for several hours, he flash-fries it in rice-bran oil, resulting in a delicately crispy crust similar to Japanese karaage.

Yamanashi's homey sides also get made over with Japanese ingredients: Try creamed corn zapped with curry powder ($2.50); smoky dashi-braised collard greens ($2.50); or mac and cheese sprinkled with shredded nori ($5).

Equally charming is the cross-cultural beer list, which blends local brews like Golden Road's Wolf Among Weeds IPA ($7) with Japanese craft beers, such as Echigo Red Ale ($11).

In keeping with true Japanese attention to detail, the restaurant offers plastic gloves to keep your fingers grease-free. T.F.C.C is glove-lickin' good chicken.