Review: Aburiya Toranoko
As a big fan of the Lazy Ox (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/703721), I decided to try the new restaurant by the same owner....right next door...
Service: B+ (friendly but a bit all over the place
)Would I go back?: Not running
Atmo: B+ (a nice vibe)
Full Menu: http://www.toranokola.com/menu/torano... (sneaky how no prices appear
)Price: $150 (2 people) including tip
What we drank: Asahi beer
Notes: LA Times SIV was in the house, I guess preparing for a review...i spotted her thanks to all the recent press about her photo being exposed....everytime I turned around she was sitting there sipping her tea staring off into space - kind of funny. She was accompanying by 2 quriky individuals. I pointed her out to the owner -- he had already recognized her as well...look for review soon.
What we ate:
Snow crab & jelly fish w/ cucumber sunomono (B) $9
I like the firm texture of jellyfish and it was paired nicely with chunks of snow crab bathed in soy. It was tasty, but a very small bowl.
Tiger shrimp Tempura w/ curry aioli (B) $16
The curry ailoli dipping sauce was a nice touch to this fairly common dish of shrimp tempura. The shrimp were a bit overcooked - something you don't normally notice when eating shrimp tempura. Also, I was just looking at a menu that Kevin Eats posted from the restaurant and it listed the item at $12 -- last month. I am guessing that this became a popular dish and they jacked up the prices - not cool - especially for what is essentially basic shrimp tempura
Baked Black Cod marinated in sweet miso glaze (B) $9
The problem with this dish was not the taste -- it was good, but the portion size was once again on the small side. I mean this is a restaurant people go to in a group, and this barely fed myself, let alone my wife. Please note I would not have got this basic, always the same dish, but wife did want it and Valentine's Day is approaching
Yanagita seafarms Uni Goma Tofu (A-) $8
Unique dish that I wish would have set the tone for all the other plates. It was a piece of tofu made with toasted seasame seeds so it had a rich, nutty flavor -- topped with a small piece of uni. The sauce was a soy concoction -- that at this point had also found itself in 2 of the dishes mentioned above
on to the Sumiyaka skewers....
Kobe Beef with Garlic and Wasabi (B) $9
Wife seemed to enjoy this skewer. I tasted one of the tiny pieces and it was relatively soft -- but not enough to proclaim "this was melt-in-your-mouth kobe!"
before I continue...shouldn't it really be 2 skewers per order??
Wing (B+) $5
Good, decent char
Eringe Mushroom (B) $5
Fatty Pork (B) $5
It is a pretty rich skewer, but the pork had a nice snap and tasted fresh (I have noticed that when I eat a fatty piece of pork in the past you can really judge the freshness of the piece -- freezer burn especially)
Liver (A) $3
The cheapest thing on the menu and also by far the best....this could have been called foie gras, as this liver was creamy and mild. Highly recommend
Chicken Thigh (B-) $3
A bit too fatty for thigh portion
Ankimo - Monkfish liver pate w/mustard,vinegar and miso sauce (B+) $6
Spicy Tuna Cut roll $8
Very pedestrian, very small - I told the owner this needs to improve (i didn't call him out to tell him this, but when he came by). The roll came out in literally 2 minutes after being ordered - which tells me one thing -- it was pre-made.
Tamago (A-) $4
Masago (B+) $5
It's masago - it always tastes the same!
and for dessert we had the Green Tea Pudding (A-) -- an impressive dessert
I ate there last night and found the food to be pretty good. Some dishes were very good (Uni Goma Tofu, the Uni in general, the jidori fried chicken) but others had issues (as stated above, the black cod order size is a joke). Some of the prices were also a bit ridiculous. They had a grilled oysters special for $6. Turns out that its $6 per oyster. I think that for a hama hama oyster, slightly grilled under a salamander and topped with soy sayce, this was a bit crazy. While we did try to try a lot of the dishes, i thought the fact that it was almost $400 for 4 people was a bit over the top.