Totoraku, Los Angeles

Food - recipes, reviews, and discussion
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Jeff Pf0h1
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2585
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Totoraku, Los Angeles

#1 Post by Jeff Pf0h1 » January 28th, 2009, 9:14 pm

WOW! This is nothing but pure, unadulterated wine and carnivore heaven.

The decor is great wine bottles on the wall, plus wine labels. This isn't your fancy, uptight restaurant, but rather one that encourages you to relax, enjoy and eat eat eat.

No menu. You get what the chef wants to serve. PERFECT for me as I love doing chef's menus anyways. And after dining here anyone who would want to order a la carte is just crazy and should consider dining elsewhere. You must try everything, even if it doesn't sound tempting, because everything is great and you'll expand your tasting horizons. I did.

They like to seat in tables of 4, we brought 8 people and had 2 tables together. I admit to being hesitant when I first heard of some of the dishes. I'm not into "raw meat" as I've always shyed away from even steak tartare. Well Kaz cured me of that right away. Everything was presented perfectly, you couldn't help but put it in your mouth. And then the flavors. They explode. Some of the best meat I've ever had. He's magic!

And the food kept flowing. First with the appetizers and non-cooked courses. Eggs with caviar, melon wrapped with proscuitto, noodles...... fresh veggies and TOMATOES. I have no idea how those tomatoes taste soooo sooo good. They must be marinated in cocaine or something, everyone was just gobbling them up.

Beef throat sashimi was first of the meats. Then the tartare which I believe was filet but I didn't ask. Both melted in my mouth. For someone who has never tried tartare, this was an incredible experience.

Then came the habachis. They carry out flaming charcoal grills, plop them down on the table in front of you. COOL!! Bring it on.

The meats come out on platters, you throw them on the grill yourself and cook to your preferred doneness. Beef tongue was first. Followed by filet, inside ribeye, outside ribeye, and finally shortrib. It seemed, but I could be wrong, that the progression was to fattier/more marbled pieces. To see filet first was odd I thought, but with each course the meat got richer and I saw the flavor progression. Quite inventive. Way to go KAZ!

The service was perfect. Lovely Japanese ladies making sure all was perfect with the grills, making sure everyone had cooking instructions and/or lessons. I got to practice some of my 20 year old Japanese and didn't do too badly.

Oh the wines....... well this is also wine heaven. First bring the GOOD STUFF. Kaz is a wine geek like us, and given the theme of the restaurant, it is worthy of your best bottles. For me the WOTN was the 1997 Chave followed by the 1995 Araujo. That is high praise when you figure I am not a cab drinker. We also went through some 87 Montelena Cab, Abreu, 88 DRC La Tache, 00 Cristal, a killer 00 Barolo (help me out someone?)...... 81 Grange which was nice but not singing like the last bottle I tried. I do admit it was a bit warm (68F?) as I brought it and had a hard time keeping wines cold in the hotel room. Not closed but not flamboyant. Wine after wine, meat after tantalizing meat. Great company. One of the best dining evenings I have had in years, maybe a decade. Just all out fun!

Thanks to my friends Jeff and Elisabeth for setting this up and for Kaz who provided a fantastic evening at Totoraku.

User avatar
L Goldsmith
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1600
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 2:04 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#2 Post by L Goldsmith » January 28th, 2009, 10:00 pm

One of my best meals this year. I was fortunate and got handed a card from Kaz. Looking forward to my return visit.
Same golfer. Just abusing more of the alphabet

User avatar
Jeff Pf0h1
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2585
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#3 Post by Jeff Pf0h1 » January 28th, 2009, 10:08 pm

What card? He has TWO. One with the basic restaurant info he hands to everyone because he always gets asked "can I get a card" (we know that is "the ticket" in) And then the REAL card with his cell phone number on it that IS THE TICKET to get in.

User avatar
L Goldsmith
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1600
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 2:04 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#4 Post by L Goldsmith » January 28th, 2009, 10:15 pm

This one is kinda clear looking and says for reservations call and has a phone number. Either way I have enough friends that know Kaz that I am not too worried.
Same golfer. Just abusing more of the alphabet

User avatar
Jeff Pf0h1
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 2585
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#5 Post by Jeff Pf0h1 » January 28th, 2009, 10:29 pm

Yup. Card #1. Even if you have Card #2, in the early stages you still need to mention how you got the card. "My friend Jeff and I were in last time, remember we poured you the XXXX in June and I was hoping to come in myself next Tuesday for a party of 4".

Kaz is nothing if not diligent about who he lets spend $$ at his restaurant.

Part of the allure I suppose, whereas any monkey who wants to put French Laundry on their speed dial and spend 90 minutes dialing has a chance. Kaz says "oh you got my cell, do I know you? No I'm sorry, without an introduction I cannot accommodate you"

(my words, I've NEVER had the conversation with Kaz. Merely the idea that if you dont have the intro which gets you the speical card which then gets you to talking with KAz so he can try to recall if you were "right" for Totoraku just cracks me up)

It also cracks me up that he has 2 cards, one with the "Special number" and the other. So he can hand out cards to everyone but not everyone is "Blessed".

Maybe I'm just easily amused/cracked up today.

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 30552
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#6 Post by c fu » January 28th, 2009, 11:46 pm

you can easily lie to the guy to get in. It has happened before and it won't be the last time. If i remember correctly someone we know who dines there frequently called the number and straight up lied and said "I have your card, i have eaten here before blahblahblhalbhalbhlahb" and got a table for 8. Never been there once. They try to keep up the mystique there to make the diners feel special.....
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/clayfu.wine

User avatar
L Goldsmith
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1600
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 2:04 pm
Location: Southern California

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#7 Post by L Goldsmith » January 29th, 2009, 5:20 am

Actually, I do not mind having card 1. Just means the XBF has information than cannot get him back in. Works for me! [ok.gif]
Same golfer. Just abusing more of the alphabet

User avatar
c fu
Moderator
<dfn>Moderator</dfn>
Posts: 30552
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:26 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Totoraku, Los Angeles

#8 Post by c fu » January 29th, 2009, 10:58 am

L Goldsmith wrote:Actually, I do not mind having card 1. Just means the XBF has information than cannot get him back in. Works for me! [ok.gif]
[d_sunny.gif]
Ch@rlie F|_|
"Roulot is Roulot"©

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/clayfu.wine

Post Reply

Return to “Epicurean Exploits”