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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Aburiya Toranoko: Avoid and Stick with the Ox Next Door

I'm a big fan of Lazy Ox Canteen so I had high hopes for Aburiya Toranoko by the same owner/chef. But I was disappointed big time. It was bad, bland and ingredients weren't that fresh. If you're going to serve sashimi like albacore tuna and uni (sea urchin), make it good. Sure, the uni makes for good food porn, especially with its gold flakes. But really, who cares about how lux it looks if it tastes so bland you feel like adding soy sauce to your dish? The uni topped the block of tofu that was house-made but while the uni itself was passable although not the freshest, the combination of uni + tofu was so forgettable I can't even remember how it tasted besides it being bland.

Then the albacore tuna salad was something I could have had at Blue Marlin on Sawtelle for a fraction of the price. The tuna wasn't super fresh and the salad drowning in dressing. A disaster. The hamachi jalapeno roll sounded promising but alas, the fish wasn't fresh and the roll was nothing special despite its "special roll" moniker.
It was one of those rolls served in a super cheap sushi place that prides itself on having all sorts of funky rolls, mostly drowning in super sweet teriyaki-like or some kind of ponzu sauces. I know I sound like a total snob but it's true! There's a time and a place for cheap rolls but this place should do better, especially with those prices.

The restaurant didn't redeem itself until dessert, when it served a green tea pudding drizzled with some maple syrup and topped with a single, dainty raspberry. I like my green tea desserts (i.e., ice cream, etc) to taste like green tea, not the fake flavoring that plague so many impostors. Thankfully, this one did. It tasted like solid green tea. I wouldn't have minded more fresh berries on top but we were happy after so many duds.

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