Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

10610 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Dining date: 7/9/11

I first went to Totoraku last August but had yet to return. The “secret beef restaurant,” reservations can only be made by those who have gotten a business card from the chef. I am not one of those people. However, I had the privilege of taking part in someone else’s party of six.

exterior1 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

There is no menu; rather, the food just comes out of the kitchen unprompted. The meal tends to follow a basic progression: appetizers, raw beef, cooked beef, soup and ice cream.


appetizers 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

apps2 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

apps3 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Unfortunately, I didn’t capture what any of these were. Totoraku’s appetizers are very different from the rest of the meal, providing light amuse-bouche type bites as a precursor to the plates of rich beef to follow.

Top Sirloin Cap Carpaccio

carpaccio 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

The first few beef dishes were all raw. Here was a carpaccio, heightened by some onions and garlic. There was a slight sweetness too, but the beef was definitely at center.

Beef Throat Sashimi and Seared Ribeye

ribeye and throat 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

The ribeye was solid but rather ordinary; the throat was a big highlight. I don’t think I’ve eaten throat anywhere but here, and it makes me wonder if most cow throats go straight to animal feed (or hot dogs?). Slightly chewy and very beefy, it was really delicious.

Steak Tartare

tartare 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

The last raw dish was this one, meant to be stirred. Sesame oil added a slight nuttiness, while the quail egg added an oozy richness. A tasty tartare, for sure.

The tableside grills signaled the next stage of the meal.

grill 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Beef Tongue

tongue1 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

tongue2 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

tongue3 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Mmm beef tongue. Slightly chewy and tender, really fatty and rich. The marbling was incredible. Seriously good.

Filet Mignon

filet 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Surprisingly juicy and full of flavor, this was one of the best variations of the tenderloin I’ve had in a while.

Some raw vegetables and tomatoes were brought out next to help balance out the richness of the beef.

Daikon, Cucumber, Carrots

vegetables 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Momotaru Tomatoes

momotaru 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Super sweet; some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had.

Outside Ribeye

outside ribeye 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

One of my favorite cuts of the cow is this outside part of the ribeye, much fattier than the inside. As expected, the meat was really juicy, tender and beefy.

Inside Ribeye

inside ribeye 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Although I prefer the outside of the ribeye, the inside is no slouch. Totaoraku’s meats are all very well-marbled; this inside ribeye was exceedingly tender and really held its own.

Short Rib

short rib1 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

short rib2 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

When I saw the marbling on this meat, I knew it would be good. Amazing. The texture was melt-in-mouth with a sweetness from the marinade.

Skirt Steak

skirt 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Excessively marbled as well, this was another delicious cut.

We opted for seconds on a couple of cuts, including the tongue.

Beef Tongue

second tongue 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Inside Ribeye

second inside ribeye 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Both as good as before.

We had the option of two soups, a vegetable-based one and a king crab udon. The choice was easy.

King Crab Udon Soup

king crab udon 1 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

king crab udon 2 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

Whoa. The soup came out in impressive fashion – a large bowl (must’ve been about 16 inches across) filled to the brim with udon and king crab. Surprisingly, the udon maintained a nice chew, while the crab was sweet. A delicious seafood broth really elevated the dish. Now, if only I could find this in Little Tokyo…

White Chocolate with Raspberry, Espresso and Pistachio Ice Creams; Lychee and Blueberry Sorbets

ice cream 500x335 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

We sampled each of the 5 ice creams/sorbets on offer for dessert. Simple – just something sweet to end the meal with. My favorites were the espresso and pistachio.

Lastly, the wines – the six of us each brought one for the meal.

wine6 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)wine5 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)wine2 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)wine1 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)wine4 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)wine3 300x201 Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA)

This visit to Totoraku was better than my last. I’m not totally sure why since the menu was substantially the same (except the soup). Maybe it was because I barely ate anything during the day. Or maybe because I felt more comfortable around the grill this time.  Either way, it was delicious. I don’t hesitate in saying Totoraku serves the best beef I’ve had in LA, in both quality and (especially) in variety. At around $200, it’s quite a splurge. However, I think it’s a worthwhile experience, particularly for the beef lover.


Totoraku (Los Angeles, CA) — 2 Comments

Leave a Reply!