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Restaurants & Bars 3

Chowhound dinner at Tsuruhashi (longish)

Professor Salt | Sep 12, 200312:34 AM

Sometimes, I can foresee a good time coming before it happens. Good time for me, anyway - if I can foresee a good time for *you*, I'd open up a 900 line and become the next Miss Cleo. A couple of weeks ago, I invited you all to come to a yakikinu dinner at Tsuruhashi (Fountain Valley) and 4 other hounds responded. I scoped out the restaurant, looked at the menu, and knew, just knew, that the dinner was going to be awesome. Thanks to russkar, Kriss Reed, Dommy and LBQT for bringing their guests and making it a very memorable night with great food in good company (17 people in all!)

Yakiniku is a Japanese rendition of Koran BBQ, less spiced and more suited to the Japanese palate. Unlike some Korean BBQ houses I've been to, Tsuruhashi does not marinate their meat. Platters of Prime grade certified Angus, well marbled, bright red and white like the colors of the Japanese flag, are brought to the table unadorned and unseasoned. Meat this good doesn't need marinade.

Grilling, sizzling, fat melting, meat charring, smoke rising, saliva running. *This* is why burnt offerings were made to the gods. My table of 5 ordered two kinds of kimchee, salted tongue, ribeye, boneless ribeye, a vegetable plate, spicy tofu soup, kimchee fried rice, and steamed rice, all a la carte. Absolutely everything was excellent.

When presented in this way, each cut of meat shows off its strengths. The ribeye, tooth-tender, thickly sliced and rich. The short rib, beefier and richer. The tongue, probably my favorite, is sliced thinnest of all and well salted. Suprisingly well marbled for tongue, it's slicked with fat and flavor, with a resilient chew. Lemon juice is provided in a shallow dish to foil the rich, salty tongue. Another double dish holds Tsurahashi's amazing miso sauce and soy-based sauce. Both sauces are brilliantly subtle and perfectly in harmony with the grilled meats. I would do terrible things to get my hands on the recipe for these sauces. If someone at Tsuruhashi is reading this and needs a... ahem... favor, drop me a line.

We arrived at 6:30, when only one other table was occupied. By 8pm, the place was loaded with mainly young Japanese student-looking types. Since last order is 12:30am, it makes sense that the place gets busy as the night wears on. Tsuruhashi caters to a Japanese clientele, so don't be surprised if they answer the phone in Japanese. I noticed a couple of items on the Japanese menu that weren't on the English menu, like natto nabe and horumon moriawase, possibly more. The latter is a combo platter of organ meats - tripe, intestine and the like. If you're into these sorts of treats, they have a liver sashimi, too. This is a shrine of beef where all things bovine are divine. Bring your meat-eating friends and prepare to be impressed.

18798 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley

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