Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Yakiniku Toraji Diamondhead

A few weeks ago I read about Toraji on anytimegrinds’ forums and coincidentally, later that day, I read about it in the Honolulu Advertiser. That same night I was to go out with my sister to dinner so we decided to go to Toraji. Another coincidence occurred while looking for parking, we ran into three of my friends and thus we decided to have dinner together. We arrived at about 8 PM and we were able to get a table for 5 right away even though we had no reservations. Not bad considering the place recently opened up.

One of the first things that struck us as odd about this place was when my friend asked for tea. They brought her out a tea pot and one of those generic Chinese restaurant clear plastic cups. It’s kind of hard to drink hot tea while your hand is burning?!

After ordering some drinks we ordered the following:

The assorted vegetables were a “service” item.

Niku Sashi (肉刺し; Raw Beef Sashimi with Wasabi Sauce). Although the menu states that it comes with wasabi sauce it actually came with a balsamic sauce, garlic ponzu sauce and the wasabi shoyu sauce. The beef that they served us was very tough and not the grade that should be served as sashimi.

Tan 3 Kyoudai (タン3兄弟 (タン, タンスジ, 上タン); Tongue, Mini Tongue, Special Tongue for 2 People). This was good. We ordered it one more time that night, but then again I have never had bad tongue.

Ebi Shio (エビ塩; Big Shrimp with Salt). Cooked shrimp…MEH. Fyi I am not a big cooked shrimp fan. I love shrimp but I rather have it raw, unless you’re talking about shrimp tempura or breaded shrimp, etc.

Harami Tare (ハラミタレ; Beef Outside Skirt Meat with Original Sauce). This was very good. We also ordered this again that night.

Tri Tip Sirloin Shio (トライチップサーロイン塩; Beef Tri Tip Sirloin with Salt). This was also meh.

Chicken Tare (チキンタレ; Chicken with Original Sauce). My friend ordered this as she doesn’t eat much beef. I didn’t have any of this.

Hotate Shio (ホタテ塩; Scallop with Salt). My sister liked this but I thought it was just large frozen scallops. I have had fresh jumbo scallops from Hokkaido before so I guess I am spoiled. It was ordered again that night, but the funny thing is that the second time around they didn't want to give us the red pepper. Aww boo...it made it sooo purty.

Honeyama Tare (ホネヤマタレ; Beef Rib Finger with Original Sauce). This was also pretty good. Their original sauce went well with these juicy cubes of meat.

Toku Kalbi (特カルビ; Premium “Kobe” Kalbi ½ Pound). Ok now this was very disappointing. For $24.75 this was an utter insult. The meat wasn’t marbleized and it was very tough. Not “Kobe” at all. I have had real Kobe, Matsuzaka, Hayama, etc. in Japan so no fooling me here.

Kuro Miso Harami (黒味噌ハラミ; Japanese Dark Miso with Beef Outside Skirt Meat). This was very good. I liked this even more than the harami tare. I guess you can’t go wrong with harami.

Overall this place was so so. I didn’t care for the atmosphere of the main room. Our table was overlooking the beautiful cars driving by on Kapahulu Ave. Also it seemed a bit cramped, although the booths in the back seemed a bit roomier. Also their menu is a bit confusing, not so well organized. I don’t think I can wholeheartedly recommend this place, contrary to Helen Wu’s review of the place. I would say if you want to try Japanese style Korean yakiniku in Hawaii visit Gyu Kaku.


At Friday, April 29, 2005 at 12:29:00 AM GMT-10, Blogger Reid said...

Hi Jup,

I don't read Helen Wu's reviews. Most of the time, I don't find them to be accurate at all....sometimes, I really wonder if she's eating at all of these places.

I was planning on going to Yakiniku Toraji this weekend, but just scratched it off the list due to your review here. Thanks for helping me out! I'll pass on bad yakiniku anytime.

As for Gyu-Kaku, I find most of their selections to be good, and the prices are quite reasonable.


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