I was quite impressed with what I saw of this restaurant from the outside even before I went in. Their front window area is decorated with a dramatic and eye-catching arrangement of criss-crossed bamboo poles. Inside, I saw a dark, green stone wall cascading with water. There was a organic, but modern feel to the design. But all of it still managed to still feel warm and inviting. This, by the way, seemed a bizarre contrast to the La Salsa next door to it, which is also crisply designed with a post-modern, minimalist look, but with its metal chairs and stark colors, looked a bit less cozy than Tomikawa.
The price of the food at Tomikawa is on par with Taiko, which is just a block down the street, but in my opinion, a lot better. The dinner specials, which come with miso soup and a salad bowl of iceberg, tomatoes, and ponzu, go for about $14. You get a choice of three items for this price. We chose the teriyaki salmon, scallop dynamite, and white fish tempura. The teriyaki salmon was nicely glazed with sauce, and the skin was crisp. The white fish tempura was a little limp and lacked the crunch you'd expect, but we were given a generous portion, so no complaints there. The scallop dynamite, which was served in a giant scallop shell, was rich and savory. It had bits of onion, mushroom and small pieces of scallop. More scallops would have been appreciated, but it was a good dish nonetheless. The dynamite sauce, which is mayo-based went very well with a bowl of steamed rice.
We also ordered the chef's special of steamed clams in broth (about $8). There were about 6 clams in the bowl of clear broth. The clams were fresh, but the broth was the star of this dish. Clear, simple and aromatic, with slivers of spicy ginger and scallions floating in it.
An appetizer of soft shell crab was also ordered (about $9). This dish composed of a few tempura battered fingers of soft shell, laid on top of a towering mound of salad greens dressed in a sour soy and vinegar based dressing. It was one of the hits of our meal.
The total bill came out to about $40 with tip.
Tomikawa Sushi Bar Restaurant
Address: 14191 Jeffrey Rd, Irvine, CA 92620
Phone: (949) 786-9888