Wednesday, June 5, 2013

123. The Savory Uni Goma Tofu from Aburiya Toranoko (LA: Downtown/Little Tokyo)

Finally finished with the 12-post series on Portland, I am now turning my attention back home to a restaurant in Little Tokyo called Aburiya Toranoko.  This sushi bar and izakaya has an extensive menu with nearly 100 appetizers, entrees, sumiyaki skewers, sushi and sashimi selections.  However, after tasting the fresh oysters with ponzu sauce, various grilled skewers, and the obligatory fried chicken karaage, I knew that there was one dish that stood out to me.  The savory uni goma tofu made me gush with delight as it has done with esteemed writers such as Jonathan Gold.

Uni goma tofu, wedges of sea urchin roe laid out ever so carefully across a perfectly square cube of tofu made of ground sesame, is served in a fist sized teacup with a puddle of sexy soy sauce at the bottom.  It is the star of the Toranoko menu, and it wowed upon first and every subsequent bite.  The tofu is savory... it is smooth... and it is packed with sesame flavor.  Cutting into it with your spoon is like diving into a savory custard or firm pudding.  It is almost flan-like, and you can savor it by swirling it over the waves of your tongue over and over again until the very last bite.  It is the most recent amazing-delicious moment that I have had, and I must have more.  Made in house by the chefs themselves, it is something that everyone who is a fan of Japanese food should taste.

Other items that we ordered include the tsukune burger made with chicken meatballs and topped with bacon, the succulent braised buta kakuni, and the squid ink and clams risotto.  A few Toranoko crafted cocktails, such as the shiso leaf martini, can round out your experience here in this dimly lit social gathering spot. 

Special thanks goes out to Mr. Ken Lee and his brother John for entertaining that night and introducing me to the very gracious restaurant management.  Until the next amazing-delicious moment, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

Read Jonathan Gold's First Bite of the uni goma tofu from Aburiya Toranoko here.

ML - 20130402

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