Sunday, May 10, 2009

Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood

You would never expect to find some of the best sushi in Alhambra, but Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood has become one of our favorites since our first visit last year.

Located towards the end of downtown Alhambra on Main Street, Toros is a small and lively restaurant. To get the maximum experience, sit at the sushi bar, where the charismatic chefs will dazzle you with their sushi knowledge and preparation techniques.

We entered the restaurant 15 minutes before closing because we thought it closed at 11 pm on the Friday night (according to Yelp). It actually closes at 10 pm on Fridays. The waiter and sushi chefs, however, still insisted that we stay and seated us at the bar.

We kicked our dinner off with a bang by ordering some O Toro Sushi ($15.95) , which as always, melted in our mouths. Evelina loves to take small bites of the toro and savor this amazing part of the tuna. The chef added some wasabi--the real stuff, he informed us--and a drizzle of a light sweet soy sauce. All the flavors blended perfectly together to live up to the restaurant's name--Toros.

While the toro melted in our mouths, the chef prepared the Hamachi (Yellow Tail) sashimi ($15.95). Served in a bowl of ice topped with the shredded radish and green leaves for garnish, the hamachi's white and pink colors popped. As we took our first bite of the yellow tail, we immediately noted that it had a more solid composition. It wasn't silky and it didn't melt in our mouths. Wesley liked the yellow tail, but Evelina wasn't a big fan of the firm bites.

Wesley then ordered some salmon sushi for himself. The salmon tasted really fresh still even though it was the end of the night. A definite must-have at any sushi restaurant, the salmon sushi was soft and smooth.

The couple next to us decided to treat us to some Madai (Red Snapper) sushi ($6.50), which was a first for us. The chef presented this to us insisting that it was perfectly seasoned and no additional sauce was needed. Visually the fish looked stunning with some skin left on for both taste and presentation. Again the chef topped the sushi with wasabi. The perfect mixture of rice, red snapper, and wasabi left a lasting impression with its silky texture and slightly sweet flavor.

--Pause for a round of saki with the couple next to us. A thank you to them for treating us to some red snapper.--

Next for us was the Unagi (fresh water eel) sushi ($4.25). This was actually the second item ordered but it took some time to prepare because it was cooked. A common problem we have with Unagi sushi is the imbalance of fish and rice but here at Toros' the ratio is perfect. The Unagi and rice are held together by a strip of seaweed which added extra flavor. The sauce over the Unagi wasn't overly sweet and allowed the natural flavor of the eel to resonate in our mouths.

We then had the Aji (Spanish Mackerel) sashimi ($15.95). This is a must-have for Wesley ever since he tried it during his first visit. When the chef handed us the dish, the fish looked like it was still alive! It was flying off the bowl! Though it looked intimidating and fishy to Evelina, it tasted nothing like that. The slightly firmed textured Aji was accompanied by a special dipping sauce of soy sauce, scallions, chili, and miso paste. When we finished the sashimi pieces, we asked the chef to fried the bones and head--an additional request that the restaurant does for free.

After taking a quick glance at what the sushi chef handed the couple next to us, we decided to order the same - Dai Hotate (Jumbo Scallop) sushi ($6.50). This was another first for us. The scallop was topped off with a chili paste and scallions. The flavor was unexpected and it turned out to be silky smooth with a soothing sweet flavor and when combined with the chili paste, it added a welcomed kick.

Based on the chefs recommendation, we had Sake Toro (Salmon Torro) sushi ($11.90). The two pieces were served with a lighter, sweeter soy sauce. This went down a lot smoother and carried a nicer fattier flavor than the regular salmon sushi.

Lastly, the chef ordered us Taro Ice Cream on the house! The ice cream was accompanied by two fried taro strips. The ice cream was nice creamy and captured the wonderful flavor of Taro.

We've been told that the chefs at Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood wake up early in the morning to pick the freshest fishes from the market. Though we haven't heard it from the chefs' mouths, yet, we definitely believe this story from our multiple positive experiences at Toros. Yes, the sushi prices are on the higher side, but for the quality and freshness, we always fit Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood into our budget.

Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood
500 West Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801

Toros Japanese Fusion Seafood. on Urbanspoon

Toros Japanese Restaurant in Los Angeles

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  1. Welcome to the blogosphere!

    Very nice review. I've been to Toros a few times and enjoyed it greatly as well.

  2. You've convinced me, Toros will be my next sushi stop!

  3. The itamae thanks you for your recommendation.

    I went there tonight and had Sanma and Hamachi toro for the first time. It was a bit pricey but the itamaes were a hoot and I've never seen such beautifully crafted sushi before. Thanks for the tip!

    I may go again, the toro looks very seductive.

  4. Smokeydoke,

    I'm glad you gave it a try. Toros remains one of our favorite sushi joints.