Big Taste in Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo is one of my favorite dining destinations in the city. There are only three official Japantowns in the whole country (the others are in San Francisco and San Jose) and just like the rest of Downtown, our Little Tokyo has seen amazing revitalization over the past few years. There are not only a slew of great Japanese restaurants of every variety, but a veritable smorgasbord of pre- and post-meal activities to entertain and amuse you, including museums and galleries, secluded Japanese gardens, interesting shops, and karaoke.

Of all the restaurants in Little Tokyo, my favorite is Aburiya Toranoko. It was opened only a couple years ago by the same owners as its next door neighbor, Lazy Ox Canteen, and is both a high-end sushi bar and izakaya (i.e. Japanese gastropub). The design of the restaurant is über-hip and modern; very urban with chandeliers and a giant colorful mural on a long brick wall.

If you’re with a large group, you’ll need to get a table, but if you’re dining alone or with only one companion, the beautiful polished wooden sushi bar is the place to be. There you can witness the formidable skills of talented and charming sushi master Seiji Nakano. If you can afford it, go with the omakase and let Chef Nakano be your guide. In terms of izakaya fare, the incredible Uni Goma Tofu (sesame tofu topped with sea urchin) is an absolute must-have. I also highly recommend the Sumiyaki (grills meats and fish on skewers), especially the Miso Black Cod and the Tsukune (chicken meatball). The Jidori Kara-age (fried chicken) is also excellent. For dessert, I love the Green Tea Pudding and the Chocolate Lava Cake.

Aburiya Toranoko is located at 243 So. San Pedro St., Los Angeles (Downtown).

Uni Three Ways (Kumamoto Oysters with Uni and Caviar, Uni Goma Tofu with Jellied Tuna, and Uni and Vegetable Tempura

Uni Three Ways (Kumamoto Oysters with Uni and Caviar, Uni Goma Tofu with Jellied Tuna, and Uni and Vegetable Tempura)


Tuna and Roasted Beets with Housemade Tofu Cheese and topped with Crispy Ginger

Tuna and Roasted Beets with Housemade Tofu Cheese and topped with Crispy Ginger


Jidori Fried Chicken

Jidori Kara-age (Fried Chicken)


Sashimi Carpaccio Plate with Tuna, Halibut, Sweet Shrimp, Giant Clam and Salmon

Sashimi Carpaccio Plate with Tuna, Halibut, Sweet Shrimp, Giant Clam and Salmon


Tofu Dengaku with Miso Sauce and Grilled Vegetables

Tofu Dengaku with Miso Sauce and Grilled Vegetables


Assorted Sumiyaki (Miso Black Cod, Angus Beef, Tsukune, and Zucchini  with Cherry Tomato)

Assorted Sumiyaki (Miso Black Cod, Angus Beef, Tsukune, and Zucchini with Cherry Tomato)


Toro

Toro Sushi


Freshwater Eel Hiroshima Style

Freshwater Eel Sushi Hiroshima Style


Green Tea Pudding

Green Tea Pudding


Mini Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Mini Chocolate Lave Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream


Sushi Master Seiji Nakano

Sushi Master Seiji Nakano



Aburiya Toranoko on Urbanspoon

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