I now understand one of the reasons why Kaz has always kept his “restaurant” a secret club. Now that it has been discovered and so many bloggers rush to try it out, take pictures and then pile on their “take”, the experience at Totoraku is somehow lost in a jumble of critiques. Totoraku is not an exclusive club, but Kaz is very sensitive to the fact that not everyone will love it. Therefore, once you have come with a regular and obviously enjoy what he is doing, you are more than welcome to return.
Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it is bare bones decor. Yes, it is essentially just beef. But, it is fun and unique and something you share with good friends. It is not Providence, it is not Urasawa, it is not Spago, it is not Melisse, it is not Sona. You eat what Kaz “cooks” and Ashima, his wife so aptly serves. But, if you just enjoy yourself, let Kaz do his thing and bring good wine, you will have a wonderful time.
A new to me decor
Dice K, the Boston red Sox player always comes to Totoraku when he is town – a present from him.
My guess is Ashima, Kaz’s wife, did this arrangement.
The wonderful Kaz
From left to right
Alaskan King Crab “jello”
Steamed Abalone served with zenmai (Japanese mountain vegetable) and tofu topped with gold flake.
Tomato and Ricotta Cheese topped with a bit of basil
Cantaloupe and Prosciutto
Lobster Salad with seaweed, spinach and jellyfish
Smoked Salmon Roll with avocado and sprouts
Asparagus with walnut paste
Hard Boiled Quail Egg topped with Caviar
Fuyu Persimmon Salad with marinated tofu, corn, mountain yams, corn, French green beans
Beef Tataki & Beef Throat Sashimi – absolutely extraordinary. Ashima instructed us to use just the soy sauce and add either ginger or garlic to the sauce. I added neither as the beef was so perfect that I didn’t think it needed one additional component. The beef tataki had been lightly seared and again needed nothing additional.
Beef Tartare – unlike “normal” beef tartare, this was strips of beef with a raw egg yolk, daikon and ???? This is to be mixed by the diner and absolutely delicious.
Beef Liver – I hate liver. When I even eat chopped chicken liver, I use a dozen hard-boiled eggs for about 1/2 pound of liver. This has no relationship to liver – it is sensuous, delicious and just melt in your mouth “goodness.”
Now Ashima sets up the grill – as there were six of us, we had 2 grills.
Given that there were 6 of us and lots of wine, lots of glasses, I apologize in advance for photos through wine glasses etc. I didn’t want picture-taking to overshadow the pure enjoyment of the evening.
Filet Mignon with onion, pepper, mushrooms
– a bowl of veggies – carrots, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage with a small bowl of miso dipping sauce or more like a paste.
There was also a “salad” of cut up tomatoes
Outside of the Rib Eye – just seasoned with salt and pepper
Inside of the Rib Eye – marinated
This was described as beef used for shabu shabu grilled
Soup – I asked for mine mild. One dining companion requested spicy and be forewarned it was very spicy.
Not pictured ice cream for dessert
Fx Pichler Riesling from Austria..2006
1999 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Montebello (Magnum)
Pierre Usseglio 2005 chateauneuf de Pape
What a wonderful evening with the ever gracious Kaz and Ashima. Our guests were equally wonderful and as I mentioned at the beginning, relax, have fun and just let the experience take you for an unique ride.