Yesterday my son went into NYC to for lunch at Toriko NY, a restaurant that has recently launched new lunch menu items. It was an opportunity for us to head to Greenwich Village on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and I used my time well, heading to the Guggenheim after lunch for a dose of modern art.
Toriko is known as one of the top Japanese yakitori and wine concepts from Tokyo Restaurants Factory, helmed by Chef de Cuisine Manabu Asanuma previously of MIFUNE New York. As Japanese food lovers, we welcomed the opportunity to try out their new (rather reasonable!) lunch options. We looked forward to it.
After managing to park my car a half-block away, we made our way to the restaurant. The dining room itself is small, making the experience feel rather exclusive. It has a modern, Zen feel with wooden counter and walls. The chef stood in front of us the whole time, as we sat at the counter, and he made an effort to introduce us to the food we were served. We appreciated both the attention and explanations as the experience was a first for both of us.
We started out with an organic green salad for me; Toriko Mazesoba, a salty chicken broth (you can tell which one of us doesn’t eat meat!). The salad was fresh, and I loved the homemade ginger dressing. Then my son happily munched on a plate of six different chicken skewers. All free-range and hormone-free, the chicken comes from a local upstate farm and has lovely flavored toppings such as wasabi and other Japanese salts and spices such as fresh ginger. He especially liked the juice chicken hearts, and I was impressed that he ate them so whole-heartedly.
We topped off our meal with a plate of salmon and avocado rolls, which were presented beautifully. The fish was super fresh, the rice was soft and delicious, and the avocado was served mashed on top. It was a unique take on a dish we love. It was also fun sitting at the counter and watching our dishes get created rather skillfully.
Toriko also specializes in ramen, which I’ve promised my son we will sample on our next visit. For lunch, they are offering two soupless noodle bowls with the Toriko Mazesoba made with spicy minced chicken soboro, egg, garlic, leek, bamboo shoots, seaweed, bonit powder, onion, and scallions; as well as the Vegetable Mazesoba with seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, seaweed onion, spinach and scallions. These are featured along with their Toriko Wonton Shio Ramen and Black Garlic Paitan Ramen. Additionally, they now have two new Don Rice Bowls including the King Solmon Don with mushroom, ginger, seaweed and egg over rice, topped with salmon roe; and the Shirashi Don, five kinds of sashimi over sushi rice.
Hungry? So am I. This was a find for us, and I hope it will be one for you, too. Check out Toriko here and make a reservation to try it out. They are located at 76 Carmine Street, and their phone number is 646-596-8198.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary tasting to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.