Location: 1569 Fairway Dr, Walnut, CA 91789. (909) 598-8299
Date: May 5, 2018
Cuisine: Japanese Sushi (with slight nod to China)
Rating: Ends of the earth, but very good
Chef Kaz of Totoraku, an occasional hedonist, sent us far east to this Sushi restaurant last year and it was such a fun time that we had to return again for a fourth visit.
And by far east I mean REALLY REALLY far east — to Walnut California. 40+ miles from my house. 20 miles past Alhambra (which most people consider to far to drive for food). It took an hour and twenty minutes on a Saturday night!
The slick looking location is in the heart of the affluent Chinese American San Gabriel Valley. But yes, it’s Japan, if perhaps catering to Chinese taste. This photo was shot at about 10pm after everyone else had left.
Ron brought: 2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne. VM 97.5. The 2006 Comtes de Champagne is striking, especially in the way it brings together elements of ripeness and freshness in a hypothetical blend of the 2002 and 2004. Smooth and creamy on the palate, the 2006 is all about texture. There is a real feeling of density and weight in the 2006, qualities I expect to see grow with time in the bottle. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. The 2006 has been nothing short of magnificent both times I have tasted it. Comtes de Champagne remains the single best value (in relative terms) in tête de cuvée Champagne. I suggest buying a case and following it over the next 20-30 years, which is exactly what I intend to do. There is little doubt the 2006 Comtes de Champagne is a magical Champagne in the making.
From my cellar: 2004 Pol Roger Champagne Brut Rosé. VM 93. Light, bright orange. Intense, spice-accented aromas of candied orange, redcurrant and fresh flowers, with sneaky mineral and leesy notes. Supple and expansive, offering vibrant citrus fruit and red berry flavors with complicating notes of cinnamon and pear skin. Finishes silky and long, with resonating spiciness and excellent clarity.
2010 Kapcsándy Family Winery Grand Vin Rosé State Lane Vineyard. VM 90. The 2010 Grand Vin Rose is all about texture. A refined, expressive wine, the 2010 stands out for its depth and pure volume. Tobacco, licorice, crushed flowers and spices are some of the many notes that flesh out on the inviting finish. The 2010 is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.
1998 Jean Boillot & Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières. VM 89-92. Pungent, bright aromas of lime, apple, nut skin and minerals. Spicy and penetrating; more withdrawn than, and not as rich as, the Clos de la Mouchere and Pucelles but still offers terrific sweetness and fat for the cru. Solidly structured and quite fine.
2014 Domaine Dublère Chablis Grand Cru Bougros. BH 90-93. This too possesses ample Chablis character with its array of green fruit, tidal pool, citrus and wet stone notes. There is more size, weight and power to the big-bodied flavors that deliver excellent depth and length on the saline-inflected finale. This delicious effort is muscular but stops short of actually being rustic.
2007 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne. BH 93. A toasty, expressive and highly complex nose of pain grillé, green fruit and dried rose petal leads to rich, full, well-muscled and impressively intense full-bodied flavors that possess plenty of dry extract that really coats the mouth on the long and serious finish. This is very Corton-Charlemagne in character and one that should reward mid-term cellaring.
1994 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl Vendange Tardive. 94 points. Excellent VT. Some bottle variation so far, depending on the bottle I would rate this anywhere from 89-94 out of the 4 tried so far, with 93 being a fair mean. Rich gold color, not too sweet, lots of lychee and nectarine on both nose and palate. Weaker bottles have a short finish, but better bottles have full finish. Popular even with those who aren’t familiar with Alsatian VT wines.
Yamakase-style mashup of toro, avocado, uni, and black truffle.
And fried prawn head.
2003 Sine Qua Non Chardonnay Mr. K The Noble Man. VM 95-96. Medium gold. Knockout nose offers pure botrytis aromas oforange oil, apricot, clove, marzipan, chocolate and mocha. Extraordinarily thick and honeyed but with bracing acids leavening the flavors of marzipan, coconut, brown sugar andorange rind. Higher-toned than the gewurztraminer, with a spirity suggestion of Gran Marnier. Krankl was about to bottle this. I have rarely tasted such thoroughly botrytized chardonnay. This was picked in three passes in late November. Check out these numbers: 321 grams per liter of sugar, 10.25 grams of acidity, and 10.1% alcohol.
Ron also had an open bottle of 1931 Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Selección — keeps forever and is always amazing.
Overall, OOToro — while always good — showed for the second time that the private room is really the way to go. This was a great meal and much more subtle and sophisticated than some of the previous fare. Really great stuff — although we should have gotten the larger omakase as we were “corralled” into a smaller one and then ended up adding more stuff. The larger one (which I think we had the previous time) would have been more interesting.
It’s great fun up here, but that drive! It was so far that most of the party slept at the Marriot and turned it into a bunch of meals, massages, and other decadences. I drove home to my lovely wife.