Thursday, August 23, 2007

Taste test: Tokyo Table -- Towering Pile 'o Toast!

yum, honey toast...
It was a mini-reunion of ex-colleagues and even though one was enceinte, I chose Tokyo Table since besides sushi, there's plenty of cooked items on the vast menu. When this place opened, I dubbed it "the Japanese Denny's" judging solely by the laminated menu full of color photos. Apparently the restaurant agreed the menu gave a Dennys-ish impression, and they're working on a more subdued presentation. The space isn't at all reminiscent of a coffee shop though -- on the bottom floor of a La Cienega office building near the new Tanzore, it's sleek and elegant enough for a business lunch or party, if a bit impersonal.
This review is going to have to go in reverse order, because it's time to get to the toast. I had never had Japanese honey toast before, and I was a little skeptical because it sounds so darn sweet, but Ramin and Chris insisted. After our mains, we chose the caramel variety, and soon a tower of extra thick brioche-style bread arrived drizzled with what tasted like Lyle's Golden Syrup. The thick pieces were deceiving, though -- they had been hollowed out with the bread cut into cubes and possibly deep-fried? I don't know what they do to it, but the stuff is insanely delicious in a very over-the-top way. You can keep your deep-fried Oreos and such, I'll stick to caramel honey toast.
Annnyway. Shaved ice with a scoop of red beans and a scoop of ice cream can be had in a pleasant green tea/lychee combo, and is a refreshing counterpoint to the honey toast orgy.
Tokyo Table's food comes from the "if it isn't usually served with mayonaise, let's add some anyway" school of Japanese food, so it's not exactly your healthful light lunch, but it's pretty tasty stuff. We started with a sushi pizza (above), which thank god doesn't involve cheese or tomatoes: rather it's a slab of sushi rice, with seaweed standing in for crust, cooked bits of seafood topping, jalapeno and what else but grilled mayo instead of cheese. Evy's unagi bowl had a lovely presentation in a giant black bowl. Ramin's stacked seafood salad looked light, but managed to squeeze in some mayo both on the side and zigzagging over the top.
Our accomodating server held up the dishes so I could get a good shot -- Japanese restaurants are used to customers taking photos. Tokyo Table is no Urusawa, but it's a fun place for groups and much more reasonably priced than most of the La Cienega tourist traps. There's also an array of fruity cocktails (not sure if they're made with soju or actual vodka) and a good sake list.
... just don't forget to try the toast.
Tokyo Table
50 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills
(310) 657-9500
(Also, they deliver at lunch and dinner and are open until 1 am every night)


Anonymous said...

Wow! The toast looks so darn good! I've never seen such a thing....even in Little Tokyo. I'll have to searching now...

Great pics!

Anonymous said...

Eh, it's not that good. It's effin' toast with honey, fer chrissakes!
This place IS a Japanese version of Denny's- even if they didn't have the menus.
Can't wait for the Grand Slam to finally show up!

Pat Saperstein said...

Count me in for the Grand Slam! I love Japanese junk food -- Famima, etc., and I love coffee shops of other countries, like the diners in Mexico with the chorizo Grand Slams.

Anonymous said...

The picture looks great!! Those are some great selections ;) I cannot wait to try the honey toast myself- Japanese pizzas also have mayo- if you want to check out the pic- see if pizza-la has a page..

Anonymous said...

Don't know about these people that refer to this restaurant as Denny's but they have never been to Japan before. Many of the restaurants in Japan have their menu's setup this way. This place reminds me more of Japan than many of the restaurants in town. Its great to have a Japanese restaurant that doesn't serve just sushi, but more of what we Japanese eat everyday.

Anonymous said...

I really like the fusion style. Trendy and stylish atmosphere. Hey... they serve food that is out of Japanese home kitchen...

Creative... Sushi pizza!

They also have "Sake" salon... saketini... great!