Location: 1569 Fairway Dr, Walnut, CA 91789. (909) 598-8299
Date: April 1, 2023
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 in 2016 and it was such a fun time that we had to return again for a sixth visit — it’s now become a twice a year thing. This is my second return since the pandemic — although some in the group went once in the middle for a meal that was supposedly not quite up to snuff. Because a bunch of us have engaged in a special Sushi Series this fall (tasting all the best LA sushi places) I figured I’d include OOToro in the mix.
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.
We ordered the $250 Omakase.
First course of various little morsels.
Marinated Baby Squid. Soft and juicy!
Baby Japanese Sea Snail. Quite tasty.
Shirako (aka cod sperm sac) with a bit of soy/ponzu. Awesome.
Steamed Abalone. Very tender, but not the strongest (or most intense) abalone I’ve had.
Fried Potato Wrapped Shrimp “Tempura.”
Sashimi course. OToro in the back (super soft). Needlefish in the middle. Squid with bad caviar in front with Uni blobi and Half a Live Octopus sucker with sour plum sauce (great).
Special house-made soy sauce that was actually incredible. I kept it all evening. It was so good it made me eat all the garnish and seaweed (with the soy). Even the shiso flower!
Live shrimp in front with wasabi and oyster with uni and ikura. They took head away for later.
Cooked belt fish.
Parfait of Uni, terrible truffle caviar, some kind of jelly, and crab salad. Once the bad caviar with its truffle oil taste was gone the jelly and crab salad was wonderful.
From the side.
Aji (Spanish Mackerel) Tataki. Lovely!
We went out and looked at the wine cabinet and low and behold there were some Leroys. Turns out they were cheaper than retail!
Duo of whitefish sushi, snapper specifically. The left was Red Snapper and the right Goldeneye Snapper.
The “money plate” with OToro on the right and Kama Toro (collar) on the left. So good!
Skipjack Tuna with garlic and numbing chili crisp! The chili crisp was a new twist and actually kinda delicious.
Uni Toast! So good.
Turns out they had a whole tuna collar “in stock” tonight (the kama part) and we were able to order it.
An hour or so later out came the awesome “BBQ Kama Toro” plate. It’s like ducky tuna and fishy smoked duck and is incredibly rich and delicious. Great with that special soy too.
Yarom flintstones the bone.
Flaming Sea Snail with mushrooms. Creature alert!
Chawanmushi (egg custard) with shrimp, ikura (salmon roe), and hairy crab. This was wonderful and it was also presented with a leg of hairy crab.
The beef dish came out in these cute covered cooking boxes.
Inside was A5 Wagyu they cook tableside.
A5 Wagyu. Super tender and melt in your mouth.
The return of the heads.
Shrimp head miso.
Fried shrimp head for brain sucking fun.
Pure and Concentrated Evil — Kentucky Mud Pie Gelato — Expresso Knob Creek Bourbon Custard Gelato base with layers of house-made Crushed Oreo Valrhona Fudge Ganache, and house-made Vanilla Coconut Cream Cheese Icing — The Plaid Mode of Gelati and includes a hefty Caffeine kick — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #coconut #valrhona #chocolate #ganache #expresso #bourbon #custard #oreos #icing
Two of us grabbed these Leroys.
Overall, this was one of the best OOToro’s ever. Every dish was great — only exception being that gross caviar, but it didn’t ruin any dishes — and the preparation (hard to say cooking) was very on point. The collar as always really took it up a notch. Plus we had a great group with some first timers and a lot of very good wines.
The epic wine lineup.
After dinner we returned to the always fun valley view parking lot. Big plus over that miserable hotel across the street from Ootoro. Only problem was that it was cold and that on the way home an accident had the 60 closed for over an hour — so I got home almost at 1am.