10610 Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
While every meal at Totoraku is reliably unchanging, the same cannot be said for the appetizers which have been different every time. They are usually stunning on a presentation level, but can be a little lackluster or weird compared with the main course of meat upon meat. This time, however, I was delighted by the presentation of little bites.
Japanese Wild Octopus – Like a delicate seafood salad
Vegetable Jello – I wished they served jello this good at the hospital
Smoked Japanese King Salmon avocado – carb-less California roll
Uni Risotto – OK, I lied. This was the best bite of lot. Basically an uni rice ball. Yums!
This remains a favorite of mine. The beef is clean. The slight crunch of the sprouts, daikon, fennel, and the high quality olive oil and salt only add to very elevated simplicity. Yums!
Beef Throat Sashimi (right)
This remains the only place and time that I ever eat beef throat. Both cuts of meat were extremely tender even though raw. The soy sauce with grated garlic add just a pinch of umami-ness to complement the clean taste. The beef throat remains a unique highlight of the meal.
The tartare never fails to disappoint. The crunch from the daikon and cucumber, the richness of the runny yolk, the delicate chew of the raw beef strips, and the soft sweetness of soy sauce to bring it all together. Always a favorite I look forward to.
After the unique taste and texture of beef tongue, we proceeded with the tender yet delicately marinated filet.
Best tomato salad you’ll ever eat. Sweet, tender, succulent.
The vegetables dipped in miso paste made for a good accompaniment to the grilled meat. It’s a good healthy change from a bowl of white rice.
The meal progressed to a more fatty cut with the outside rib eye.
The texture and fat content, and therefore the flavor, increases with each successive cut of beef.
We finished with the skirt steak, which interestingly was the most flavorful cut of beef for the night.
In looking back, it looks like Oyama-san no longer serves short rib. What a shame, because I really liked that fattier cut of beef. All in all, the meal at Totoraku garnered two thumbs up for Fishing Zebra Man, who finally got his fix of “secret beef” after almost 2 years of asking me to take him there. He could not stop talking about the upcoming visit to any and everyone who would listen. I am glad the meal did not disappoint, because at that price point, anything short of amazing would be considered highway robbery. It is interesting that Totoraku is able to deliver such amazing beef without having to resort to Wagyu and Kobe beef. There is little reliance on fat to bring the flavor. Rather it is the specially sourced beef, which delivers clean beefy flavors and unforgettable tenderness. A quick sear is pretty much all you needed for all cuts of beef. This will probably not be the last time I dine here. It might be the last time I blog about it unless I upgrade my camera again.
10 – You NEED to eat here (if you can afford it)
9 – Awesome!
7 – Good
4 – Not bad