Monday, January 25, 2010

little tokyo, reviewed

I'm not sure how many more times I can mention Little Tokyo (like here and here) without getting an, "ENOUGH!" from any of you, but since I'm still managing to get away with it, I will continue my rant.

I'm often faced with the question, "What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?" And to be honest, I don't think it's that fair of an inquiry. I always, always follow up the question with, "Give me a genre or area," because I need to hone down my options. Or at least attempt to. This city almost has too many dining out options. So much hype. So many critics. It's tough to come across a hidden gem at this point. Nearly everything has already been exposed.
And that's where my all time, favorite restaurant comes into play: Little Tokyo. Located in the most unassuming of shopping center strips in Norwalk, CT, lives one of my favorite places on Earth. Swanky? No. Elegant? Well, no. Trendy? Depends who you're talking to. Good? Not a thesaurus in this world could come up with enough synonyms to describe the goodness, no, greatness, going on at this celestial place.

Henry, the charming and charismatic main man of Little Tokyo, travels bright and early to Queens every morning to hand select his seafood. His selection is unrivaled. Pristine. Nothing shy of orgasmic.

There's no ordering that goes on. Just take a seat, have a ridiculously generous glass of white wine be set in front of you (I'm talking your mouth has to meet the glass while sitting on the table because any attempt to lift the glass would result in a spill. My kinda pour.) and get ready to have your mind blown by food unlike anything you've ever experienced.

A typical night at Little Tokyo starts off with a plate of a spicy crab salad with pieces of yellowtail sashimi that dance around the edge of the plate, delicately splashed with ponzu and a sprinkling of shaved scallions. The Pavlovian response I have to this dish alone is nearly obscene. I'm sitting here, salivating just at the thought.
If I'm at the table, Henry knows I can't leave without an oyster or two. Kumamotos, practically gorgeously swollen, dressed with ponzo, scallion, and a speck of sriracha. Coming from a girl who typically just goes with a squeeze of fresh lemon, it's almost hard for me to have them any other way than Henry's way. The pairing is sublime.
Next comes an assortment of sushi and sashimi. Whatever Henry deems the best of the night. Row after row of jem-like tuna, glistening salmon, opal-esque yellowtail, gargantuan chunks of shelled king crab. A love roll, my personal favorite, filled with spicy tuna and avocado and topped with a spicy crab salad. The variety and quality is unparalleled. I fear when the plates are nearing empty status. A slight wave of panic comes over me. Until, that is, I realized what is to come next.Henry's Lobster. Whole lobsters chopped into chunks and thrown quickly into a fiery wok with sticks of ginger, slivered scallions, and a few other ingredients that are all part of his secret recipe. Everyone at the table nearly pulls a Daryl Hannah in Splash and attempts to eat the shell. The sauce. The freaking sauce that coats this lobster has the potential to bring tears to your eyes. Beyond simple, as it should be, but overwhelmingly interesting and divine.There's a number of other factors that make Little Tokyo my all time favorite restaurant that might end up on someone else's list as negatives. The ambiance may not be for all (hello, restaurant snobs) but to us, it's like an extension of our home. We're comfortable there. Taken care of. At ease. Nancy, our main girl and waitress, greets us with hugs, lights up when we're all in town. It's a beyond warm feeling that will outshine ambiance any day. You can have your low lit, trendy sushi bar with mediocre food. I don't want it.

I've found all I'll ever need at Little Tokyo.


FOOD: 25

LOOK: 19

VIBE: 24



bee and jay said...

Another great piece Kirra,talk about Pavlovian response!!

Kiira Leess said...

i <3 you guys. the new blog's looking FAB!!

perfectbite said...

It is the best.. I have to hold myself back from going there 3-4 x's a week!!!


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