Ok, it's been awhile since I've posted in here. I'm on another site a lot more often these days. But it is nice to see that CH finally changed their UI so it's somewhat useable and readable now (yeah it's been that long).
I think I first read about this mysterious restaurant here. But then I started seeing some reviews over on another site which got my interest up. Unfortunately, I asked around but nobody in my circle of friends and acquaintances could get me into this restaurant. A few times, I made a quick post over at a social networking site along the lines of "Anyone have a contact that can get me into Totoraku? If you don't know what I'm talking about, move along...." but I guess everyone would just move along.
I did get a few requests from friends along the lines of "if you get in, take me!"
There are 2 types of people in this world...those who have dined at Totoraku and those who wish they can dine at Totoraku. Until Friday night, I was of the latter...but after Friday night, I am now of the former!
The food was fairly similar to the course laid out by the others in the reviews here. We started with a plate of assorted appetizers. We then had some raw beef and beef tataki plates. The binchotan grill came out and we then grilled tongue, filet mignon, inside/outside rib eye, kalbi, skirt steak, etc. We also had the awesome tomato salad, vegetables, etc. We got there at 7:30 and stumbled out the door at around 11:30.
A few things that I'd like to point out though.
1) I love Japanese people. They are so cute in how they act and talk. It's such a pleasure and I love it. They remind me of hello kitty, kerropi, and the rest of the sanrio characters. Chef Kaz Oyama-san and his wife and workers all exemplified the great Japanese culture of being absolutely polite, humble, and just so freaking cutesy. Love it!
2) I shared a glass of my French wine with both chef Oyama-san and one of the waitresses and they both loved it with a "oishii desu!" Totally made my day that they liked my wine. It wasn't one of the crazy expensive wines that were on the wall but it was a fairly respectable (at least for me), Baron Rothschild 2003. It needed some decanting but we didn't have one so it wasn't as good as it could have been, 2003 wasn't so great of a year, etc. but oh well.
3) I have had a lot of beef in my day and this experience was awesome. There are individual slices of meat at various places around LA and the world that come close (e.g. unmarinated short ribs at Park's, special JB at mapo in Gardena, wagyu kobe beef at Cut, kkot deung shim at moo deung san in Seoul, Korea) but to have it all in one place is awesome!
I had some great company and the 7 of us (including a couple of girls who didn't drink much) polished off a tremendous amount of wine including champagne, reisling, rose, merlot, cab sauv, bordeaux, and finally...a port.
Sure the price is a little high but you're really getting top quality meat here. I believe chef Oyama-san simply throws out a lot of meat that he deems unworthy. I also don't think he necessarily makes a lot of money here so treat this as the awesome experience that it is and give them a proper "itadakimasu" when you start your mean because you are humbly receiving...
And in the end? I GOT HIS CARD! I'm in.
So who wants to go??? I can take you...:)
10610 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064