Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Super Bowl — T.O.T.

T.O.T. (Teishokuya of Tokyo)
345E. 2nd St.,
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 680-0344
Google Local Info

Over the past holidays, I had the dubious pleasure of serving jury duty. You'll be happy to know that I sent a probable gang-banger home to his momma for Christmas. (Yes, he was a gang-banger; no, the prosecution did not prove their weapons-possession case.) But more importantly, I pledged — for the edification of you, my readers — to visit a different Little Tokyo eatery each day of my service. I visited Suehiro Cafe for the seventh or eighth time, and decided that despite foodie claims to the contrary, it's really not very good. It's gritty, and not in a good way. I visited Sushi Go 55. And on the third day, I stumbled into the sleek confines of Teishokuya of Tokyo, thankfully abbreviated to T.O.T. I never made it to another restaurant.

The photos says it all. I've gone back several times over the past few months intending to take my camera and post about it, but the food is so good, I keep forgetting to snap a picture before diving in! I've finally given up. So let's just consider the half-eaten photo here a "cross-section" shot of T.O.T's genius: the humble rice bowl.

I suppose that in Japan, this would be donburi by any other name. But where all the donburi I'm familiar with involves chicken, beef, or perhaps fried chicken tonkatsu, T.O.T presents a stunning array of different combinations of ingredients, a couple dozen in all. I've worked my way through many of them. It's usually safe to go for the first item on any ethnic menu, and T.O.T. is no exception. The "Tuna-Tuna Bowl" is a ring of lightly seared albacore tuna, with a scoop of sushi-style Spicy Tuna on top, all on a bed of perfectly seasoned rice with a dusting of seaweed and sesame oil. The "Dragon Bowl" takes one of my favorite sushi combos — avocado and baked sea eel in a sweet sauce — and puts it over rice. The "Tuna Avocado Bowl" is spicy tuna and fresh chunks of avocado on a bed of fresh lettuce laid over the rice and drizzled with a sesame soy sayce and a delicious and tangy wasabi mayonnaise. The "Spicy Chicken Bowl" is utterly addictive, the savory chicken leg meat in a perfectly balanced blend of sweet and spicy. Baked scallops with egg is creamy and swathed in a subtle sauce that will have you coming back the next day for more. Only the Carne Asada Bowl, with grilled beef and guacamole, felt entirely out of place.

They make a decent udon, too, and I've seen plates of enticing chicken curry go by as well; but I'll be working my way through every bowl on the menu before I bother checking it out. Lunch bowls are in the $7-8 dollar range, and include a tasty salad, miso soup, and orange slice for dessert, all served up in tastefully lit, stylish surroundings by eye-candy wait staff. Throw in validated parking in the Little Tokyo Plaza lot, and it all adds up to, for my money, the best, healthiest dining option in Little Tokyo.

If anyone manages to take a picture of the bowl before beginning to consume, please share!


  1. Great post!

    As a new food blogger, I just wanted to drop by and say hey. Keep a look out for me as I grow.

    Meanwhile, continue the great posts!


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