Take a Date and Share – Tokyo Table
Beverly Hills, CA
Our evening at Tokyo Table was an unforgettable experience, from beginning to end while dining in a most gorgeous room. I couldn’t take my eyes off the magnificent chandeliers, each a work of art, with some larger than the booths! There are two other rooms for privacy and special events along with the popular bar. The colors of the room are blended by various booths, some in black, brown or white, over shiney wooden blonde floors. One section of booths has sliding bamboo across the front, with each seating uniquely different. Even the view of La Cienega Blvd. (an entire wall) added to the scene. The room is akin to a painting.
Tokyo Table arrived at this name and dining concept because “Tokyo” is the leading trendsetter in all of Japan. “Table” refers to “dining scene.” The name Tokyo Table best highlights the dynamic Japanese dining scene as it is in Japan. Although “Ihon-shoku,” (Japanese food) is what Japanese eat regularly, today it has a meaning of Japanese style food, (Wa-shoku) with food from other countries. Their aim is to combine this harmonious ever-changing food and culture with American culture, to expand a culinary world of their own. The cuisine is sometimes called Japanese soul food. In essence, the restaurant encourages diners to share their dishes with everyone at the table to sample the world of Japan. So we shared and enjoyed our meal immensely.
The restaurant also boasts one of the area’s largest selections of “Sakes.” This was a rare opportunity to sip, taste and learn more about Japan’s national drink and the foods that complement it.
Sake Night became a monthly fixture at the restaurant’s Beverly Hills and Arcadia locations. They had a trial run that began a few months ago, showcasing 20 varieties of the drink with food pairings. It was such a success that it became a Tokyo Table signature. Other Sake Nights feature the Sake Tasting Challenge, where those who correctly identify two Sakes win a $200 gift certificate to the restaurant, and a bottle of their signature Sake.
Novices and enthusiasts are drawn to Tokyo Table’s Sake Nights where they experience a variety of sake’s and Tokyo City cuisine for an evening of fun and festivity. It’s $45 per person and includes unlimited food and Sake. For more information or reservations for the special night; www.tokyotable.com.
We began our dinner with Ume cucumber salad, and Albacore Tuna roll, Unagi, (eel & Avocado roll) sushi Pizza, Char-Siu Pork, and a dish called Lobster Dynamite. These are small delicious portions. For those that like “Tofu,” it’s served as a delicacy. On the large plates we shared Miso Cod, an excellent tasting fish, also Teriyaki chicken, and many rolls, including the popular California roll. Their version of the Sushi Pizza was a masterpiece of delicious fun, baked with sushi rice, salmon, scallops, crabmeat & onions, cut into bite-sized pieces and topped with sliced Jalapeno.
They also do “Ishiyaki,” (known as hot stone cooking). Ishi means “stone” and Yaki means heated. These dishes are served on sizzling stone bowls and plates heated to at least 500 degrees fahrenheit. Once at the table, the stones maintain their heat for 20-30 minutes and continue to cook throughout the meal. It’s especially used on various rices, plus Szechuan-style spicy tofu, garlic shrimp; also garlic tuna.
Some other items on this very large menu was Tempura, where the item is lightly battered and fried, using vegetables, calamari, shrimp and so on. There were various rice dishes, such as rice balls, and other forms. The menu included many noodle variations; my favorite is “Udon,” and you can order any kind of topping, such as chicken, shrimp, or beef.
The desserts included a Strawberry Napoleon, puffed with custard, whipped cream and strawberries, plus ice cream. In addition, the non-alcohol beverages surprised me with “floats,” shakes, soft drinks, tea pots and coffee’s. But along with select wines, there’s the best Sake in town. Happy Hour, from 5:00pm-7:00pm daily. Open from 5:00pm. Underground Garage, $4.50.
Tokyo Table; 50 La Cienega Blvd; (310) 657-9500. Sushi rolls, salad & soups; mostly under $12; Steaks average $20. For more information, visit www.tokyotable.com