Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tokyo Table
50 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Ground Floor North End
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

More catching up to do. I know I'm beating myself up over it, but foodblogging is so calming, so fun - and I really should do more of it, for myself AND anyone who reads this. So here I am, still catching up from months ago.

Tokyo Table had opened recently when we went there to celebrate my birthday. When we walked in, the decor was...stunning. I couldn't believe that this place used to be a Tony Roma's. Clean lines, running water in a fountain-wall in the front, this place was trying to be as ZEN as possible. I liked it - great start.

Here's the setup - I liked the cozy booths, but we were seated at a bigger table. I liked the chairs, pretty comfy. Everything seemed really clean. One notable thing - check out the bathrooms, they're really sleek!
My usual Arnold Palmer. Pretty good one, I think they used green tea instead of the usual Lipton's. Fruity and refreshing, the perfect combo.
These monster chicken wings were brought to our table. I think these wings came from descendants of chicken/dinosaur hybrids - seriously, these things were monsters. They weren't, however, as meaty as some of the smaller chicken wings I've had in the past. The skin was covered with sweet soy teriyaki sauce, a bit crunchy in places, and doused at the end with a smattering of sesame seeds.
A plate of potstickers arrived - two kinds, pork and shrimp. They were just....ok. Basically what I could buy from the frozen food section at any Japanese market - sufficient but nothing special.
There were two choices of rice - 5 grain type of rice or regular white rice. I chose multigrain - fragrant, good texture, with a few other colors of rice mixed in, I thought it was a nice change from the usual big grains of white rice.

Miso soup, pretty standard. Love me those hunks of tofu knocking around the bottom. Miso soup has such a deep rich flavor - so delicious.

This is where Steven's Beef Sukiyaki Bibimbap looked like before mixing. The rice and other ingredients are placed in a heated stone bowl...muddled and mixed together until bits of the rice get crispy and the egg gets cooked....to produce...
...Bimbap! Steven likes his extra spicy so they put a fair amount of spicy paste inside the bowl. It's nice that they even offer this, as it is a Korean dish and not really something you'd see at "Tokyo table". I liked how the EXTREMELY HOT bowl was enclosed in its own designy box, safe from fingers possibly getting burned. In another instance when I've had bimbap, the hot bowl was not enclosed, and a friend got an unfortunate surprise when she tried to pick up the bowl to give someone another helping!! So the enclosure is nice and appreciated.
This is Dawn's Spicy Tuna bowl. I don't think she liked this very much because she didn't eat very much of it. So I guess this was a thumbs down.

Albacore Tuna on Crispy Rice was one of their specialties. The rice underneath the slab of fish was toasted and crunchy. I wish it could have been more spicy, as the jalepeno didn't knock my socks off, but considering that I can eat wasabi like ice cream, as I've stated before, this was super mild to me. This was pretty good, though. Not the best I've had, but decent.

This was Victor's Teriyaki chicken. The white stuff on top was kewpie mayo - of course. Mayo isn't the first thing I would think to put on top of chicken, but I guess on Japanese food, Kewpie mayo as a topping on anything is totally acceptable (case in point - takoyaki and okonomiyaki.) Victor seemed to like this. I like the nice touch of having broccoli heads and potatoes - gotta get your greens in there somehow.
Kevin's dish came sizzling hot to the table - Garlic Ribeye Steak on Hot Plate. They weren't joking - this stone platter plate was insanely hot, effectively keeping the steak at tongue burning temperatures. The garlic slivers were a great little addition, although I think they were most likely cooked separately from the steak and added as a topping later. Kevin liked this dish a lot but kept having to pause to cool down his seared mouth.
Finally finally, what did I have? I had a pork cutlet curry, of course. I can't help myself when I find this item on the menu - I must try it everytime. The curry itself was a lot sweeter than I expected - I like a more savory curry myself - but it was edible. Not as good as Curry House or Hurry Curry, my personal gold standard in curry. The pork cutlet was the highlight of this dish - juicy succulent meat, crispy panko breading, everything that I could ask for in a pork cutlet.
Since it was my birthday, they brought out a banana flambe with vanilla ice cream. They lit the banana halves on fire, which definitely gave it a nice effect. The bananas themselves were grilled already, to give them a nice little crust around the edges. The ice cream melted into the bananas, sweetening them even further. This was a good dish to share.

A sour note at the end of the meal - a waiter spilled a whole glass of ice cold water down Steven's back. It was an accident, of course, but no one likes being doused with a whole cup of water by surprise! So they compensated us a bit in gift certificates, which we applied to the meal.

I agree with some of the comments that have been made about Tokyo Table - that it's like a Japanese version of Denny's in the US. But I think that this place really tries its' hardest to give their patrons a good experience, and the decor really plays up to a finer dining feel. It's hard for me to hate Japanese food, as well, so I am biased. Give Tokyo Table a shot...just dodge the falling glasses of ice water!

1 comment:

Doug said...

banana flambe a la mode is one of life's great pleasures. Its relatively easy to make to. This looks fantastic!