Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Thoughts on Aburiya Toranoko & Reflections on Diplomacy

Aburiya Toranoko
243 South San Pedro
Los Angeles, CA 90012


I'm pissed off at Ed Hardy. If it weren't for his ubiquitous motif seen everywhere from the strip malls of the OC to the Jersey Shore I wouldn't have felt like I walked onto the front of an Ed Hardy tee when I walked through the doors at Toranoko.  I should have had the opportunity to feel stimulated by the neon irezumi mural and more gently appreciated the way the visual spread softly through the room away from the mural like the subtle edging of a well done Japanese tattoo. Not to say I didn't like it, I do like the look of the room. But trucker caps and motocross tees kept popping into my mind instead of the muscular thickly irezumi'd arms of a sushi chef I enjoy on Oah'u. Stupid Ed Hardy. I'll have to get over it, I guess.

One of my favorite bartenders in LA has made the move from Hatfield's to Toranoko to run the long bar along the south wall. Curtis is that perfect balance of professional yet personal. He remembers to ask about your hobbies, chit chats a little with you about his own family, is engaging and interesting yet never forgets to make sure you are happy with your drink/food/bar nap. So glad he's tending closer to my house again. (We originally struck up a friendship when he was slinging drinks at Vermont in Los Feliz years ago).

The food was good last night.  Things I liked: shishito peppers generously treated with softly quivering bonito flakes, a hamachi sashimi with pops of yuzu on top, yam oden in a light pickle style broth (new to me, interesting, tasty), clam miso soup (standard but good), hotate sushi (perfection). I also ordered the agedashi tofu, the largest one I have ever seen in a beautiful dashi. Soft creamy tofu, thin skin that melted away as you ate. Delicious. Have someone to share it with! And the french fries. I didn't read the description and didn't order them and there isn't a menu online. But damn, it tastes good to eat a french fry! French fry, what up? It seemed like they were made from an already baked potato.  Thickly square shaped, crispy on the outside but so light and fluffy on the inside. Oh, my. Yes.

The service was beyond friendly, but a little hapless. I can completely forgive this because every single person from hostess to bus person went above and beyond to make sure we were having a great time and getting what we needed even though the food came out of the kitchen in a rather haphazard manner. I won't go into details, we still had a great time and enjoyed the food & drinks.

Skip the ankimo. Coming from me, shocking I know. The syrup it's served in overpowers the wonderful natural flavors of the liver. I prefer the more traditional ankimo in a ponzu with a little shaved radish and roe, the way it's served at Hama Sushi..

And deep thoughts this morning...Diplomacy is not an overrated concept. Just because there is an idea in one's head and a mouth with which to express it does not mean that all ideas must be verbalized. Not that I am above putting my foot in my mouth and I probably do more often than I realize. However, saying something someone doesn't want to hear in a nice way is a huge part of my profession. My dear friend K is gifted in the skill of thinking before she speaks. It makes the words she chooses to say more meaningful. Because of this I highly value her opinion. Speaking for the sake of hearing one's own voice, while certainly entertaining at times for others, often leads to speech without prior consideration.  It can be hurtful, and potentially worse, make you sound like an idiot. So. Sometimes. Some people should reconsider before stating a potentially hurtful or completely uninformed but strongly worded opinion and just shut the fuck up.

Aburiya Toranoko in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to hear more about what prompted this morning discourse on diplomacy.

Kitten with a Whisk said...

I too, have a huge dislike for Ed Hardy.

And amen on your thoughts regarding diplomacy. I've recently dealt with this as well and it makes me beyond irritated.

It's With A K said...

Why do I always think of John from John & Kate when Ed Hardy is mentioned? Another example of needing to have a selected memory erase option.

A favorite bartender is like a pair of your favorite jeans that you keep no matter how many times you cull the closet to make room for new stuff.

This reader's favorite line.."quivering bonito flakes"

See you next Tuesday!

(and not in the British sense).