Late last night I decided to take a quick break from editing Bite Me TV's latest Field Trippin' episode and figured I'd check in on Facebook. I saw that a friend of mine had posted that he was craving some Korean BBQ, and one of the responses recommended he try Ninja Tacos in Lakewood.
Ninja Tacos in Lakewood?!?!? (insert screeching tires sound effect here) You KNOW I had to check that out!
So I did a quick Bing search and found that this little Teriyaki joint in a corner strip mall next to the tux shop where I rented my senior prom tuxedo has been making a name for itself with their $1 Ninja Tacos and their weapon of mass destruction...the Death Taco. A mere 12 hours later, Joel and I were rolling down the road to have ourselves a taste.
Genkiyaki is the name of the place, and it's located on the corner of Del Amo Blvd. and Bellflower Blvd. It's a very casual plate lunch joint with a few tables for eating in and, by the looks of it, a healthy take-out business. The interior is pretty plain, although I took an instant liking to the ninja dude painted on the wall.
Genkiyaki offers a fairly usual array of Teriyaki bowls and plates, and from what I've read they do a better than average job on their plate lunches. I'll have to go back to try one of those out as we were there today strictly for the tacos.
Now you have to understand that Joel has a bulletproof mouth, a lead-lined stomach and balls of steel, while I am a normal mortal without the necessary deflector shields to withstand insanely spicy food. Joel, therefore, was the man to step up to the plate and order himself a Death Taco (as well as 5 Ninja Tacos). I ordered up 3 Ninja Tacos, and ended up going back up to the counter to order 2 more.
Genkiyaki's Ninja Taco is a good quality street-style taco with a twist. A small corn tortilla is filled with a mixture of grilled chicken and ribeye as well as onion and cilantro, and then topped with Genkiyaki's special Ninja sauce. Without the sauce, Genkiyaki's taco is a good, standard street taco. With the sauce, their taco is something special. The Ninja sauce is a spicy sweet sauce that tastes like they sat down one night with some Teriyaki sauce and a bunch of difference chile peppers and spicy sauces and started experimenting until they found a magic combination. Kogi BBQ started the Asian/Mexican taco trend, and while comparisons are inevitable, Genkiyaki’s Ninja Taco doesn’t taste like a Kogi copy. The Ninja Taco is it’s own animal, and for a dollar each you just can’t go wrong.
The Death Taco is a Ninja Taco with the sauce kicked up to maximum power, and it’s also $1 each. That’s Joel’s Death Taco in front of a bunch of Ninja Tacos in the photo above. We couldn’t pry the secret recipe from anyone behind the counter, but it sounds like they add ghost chile (the hottest chile on planet Earth) to their Ninja sauce to turn it into a fiery inferno. Now, I read last night how various customers who have tried the Death Taco have cried, whimpered and even thrown up, and we were able to confirm that, yes, customers have actually found the Death Taco so spicy hot that they have indeed thrown up in agony on the sidewalk outside.
Joel, like the mighty warrior that he is, was not worried at all and faced the Death Taco with a straight face and no fear. And...for the first time, I saw him sweat, sniffle and have to reach repeatedly for the young coconut milk that he ordered with his tacos. There was no sobbing or shrieking in agony (which impressed the staff), but Joel did have blurred vision and a lack of hearing for about 20 minutes. (Uhhh, just kidding…) Yup, the Death Taco proved to be Joel’s match, though I have the feeling that he’ll be back for more.
Word of advice: If you are brave enough to try the Death Taco, do not order a soda to cool your mouth. Water won’t be very effective either. Milk is your best bet. Or bring an iced coffee with milk with you, as that will do the trick.
Genkiyaki is located at 5526 Del Amo Blvd. in Lakewood.