Location: 652 Cabrillo Ave, Torrance, CA 90501. (310) 787-0227
Date: August 24, 2018
Rating: Really awesome place with many great hearty dishes
Foodie Club key member Fred is moving to Florida. Cry 🙁 So we’ve been doing a lot of dinners in preparation of his departure.
This was almost a baller white dinner which instead happened the following week, but instead was just Fred, Erick, and I having an awesome time in Torrance. Fred suggested this Japanese place specializing in Katsu (pork cutlet).
Cool wooden interior with semi-private rooms. All their waitresses are pretty young Japanese girls too — for what it’s worth for you single guys.
We don’t know which year of older Krug Rose Fred brought, but it was awesome. NV Krug Champagne Brut Rosé. BH 94. Medium rosé hue. A cool, restrained and highly complex nose that is not especially fruity displays a moderate yeast character along with slightly exotic aromas of mandarin orange and Asian tea, all wrapped in an enveloping array of beguiling rose petal scents. There is very good richness with a relatively firm supporting mousse that adds to the impression of richness to the superbly complex and highly textured flavors, indeed one could aptly describe this as more wine that Champagne. As such this is indeed a sumptuous Krug rosé that is difficult to resist already though it should reward extended keeping if desired. As I noted in the original 750 ml review, that while I am not always wowed by the Krug Rosé, this latest incarnation in magnum is strikingly good.
From my cellar: 2004 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet. BH 95. This is almost as backward as the Bienvenues though supremely elegant white flower and subtle spice aromas peek through the moderate reduction yet the piercingly mineral flavors display a beguiling sweetness on the crystalline and incredibly precise finish that seems to have no end. This will be a great wine in time as it’s clear that there is another dimension here compared to all of the previous wines.
Erick brought: 1999 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet. BH 94. Almost always my favorite wine chez Leflaive and so it is again in ’99. Tight, reserved and impressively detailed nose of citrus and wet stones followed by vivid, palate staining flavors of limestone, pear and spicy oak. This has a curiously silky yet surprisingly powerful and muscular palate impression and a racy intensity that just oozes class topped off by a finish that goes on and on. Drop dead gorgeous and fans of this wine will not want to miss it. Tasted four times, consistent notes.
Fred also brought: 2007 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Bâtard-Montrachet. VM 96. Pale yellow. Very sexy aromas of orange blossom, oily peach, pineapple and smoky lees. At once thick and bracing, with outstanding concentration and layered texture. This huge wine shows strong vanillin oak and outstanding sucrosite that no doubt had a lot to do with the fact that it only finished fermenting its sugars in December of 2008. The parcel is in Chassagne-Montrachet, but at the border with Puligny. Incidentally, Colin sealed his 2007s with soft wax capsules in an attempt to give his bottles additional protection against oxidation.
Monkfish liver with caviar. Nice prep with the ponzu jelly and the caviar.
Dashimaki Tamago. Pan-fried egg with special fish broth and soy sauce. Really awesome fried tofu with a nice chewy texture and great flavor.
Asari Kama-meshi. Rice cooked and served in an individual sized pot with clam, kombu seaweed and with our special soy sauce flavor. Nice!
Kani Kama-meshi. Rice cooked and served in an individual sized pot with snow crab and with our special soy sauce flavor. Even better as it was lots of fresh crab! I’m a carb fiend, what can I say?
Double rice! (and we ordered more later).
Grilled pork. Very succulent and full of pork flavor.
Gobo snack. Fried burdock roots. Crunchy and addictive.
Uni pasta. So good we had to get the uni pasta AND the uni risotto (below). This had nice texture with the al dente noodles and the bits of nori. Light and creamy with that briny flavor.
Uni risotto. Even better with a super soft thick texture and tons of uni/cream goodness. Not so far off from a more briny “Risotto in Crema di Gamberi.”
Gindara Saikoyoyaki Gozen. Grilled black cod marinated in saikyo miso sauce. The classic popularized at Matsuhisa in the day. This was a nice flakey version.
Cha Soba. Cold green tea flavor soba noodle served with fish broth soy sauce soup. So good we got 2 orders — and this dinner was only 3 guys! Nice macha flavor plus the cold slippery noodles are delicious in the broth.
Noodle porn closeup.
Millefeuille Shiso Cheese Katsu Gozen. Deep fried multi-layered sliced black pork loin cutlet with shiso leaf and cheese.
Fred was a little skeptical about the cheese version but it was gooey and delicious. Really moist and rich.
Premium Loin Katsu Gozen. Deep fried premium black pork loin cutlet. A more solid version emphasizing the “pure” (except fried) pork meat. Delicious with the strong mustard.
Spicy pork noodles. Basically a Japanese dan dan mein with noodles, green onions, scallions, spicy pork, egg, and lots of garlic.
You stir up and it was a gorgeous and harmonious balance of goodness. Every bit as good as a really good dan dan, but a bit different and more Japanese. Decent amount of heat too.
Two flavors of gelato brought by me:
Coffee Toffee Bourbon Butterscotch – the base made with a homemade coffee toffe and Knob Creek bourbon and then striped with homemade butterscotch (which is insane) — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato
Very Cherry – a super intense amarena cherry gelato topped with candied amarena cherries — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato
We had a lot and so shared with the staff.
Roasted brown tea.
I always enjoy solid Japanese restaurants, but I was fairly blown away by Kagura. Not only did they have a wide variety of flavorful (and slightly less typical) dishes, but everything was really well executed. Lots of carbs. Lots of fat. But scrumptious. And very good pairings with our superlative wines. These small Foodie Club events are some of the best. We will miss Fred while he sweats it on in Florida with only Cubano sandwiches to keep him company.
For my catalog of Chinese restaurant reviews in China, click here.