Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Leptologists Eat at Tora

Paul: You can't say those groupons don't work.
Candice: They got us here, but uh...I didn't actually buy the groupon.
Paul: Right.  Here is Tora, a Japanese restaurant in Gahanna.
Candice: It looks an awful lot like Nicola from the outside.  I wonder if the strip mall was made by the same developer.
Paul: Yup.  Same corner lot on the same strip mall, opposite side of town.
Candice: The inside is decidedly different, though.

Dining Area
Paul: Tora is in Gahanna at 1330 North Hamilton Road. It's a trek from downtown, located outside the outer belt.
Candice: It was a 20 minute drive, not too bad if the occasion is special enough and the food is good enough. Let's see about that.
Paul: The decor seems very elegant.
Candice: Yes, it's sophisticated: an art deco look with just a touch of Asian accents. I like the orange brocade on the cushion backs.  And, the chandeliers are gorgeous.  The lighting is very well done.
Paul: The appetizer plates are rather stylish.
Candice: Indeed. The music isn't too loud so there's a nice sense of seclusion. I detect only a slight whiff of detergent.
Paul: I didn't even notice.
Candice: Sushi restaurants have to clean often - raw fish. Ah, my tea has arrived.
Paul: None for me, thanks.
Candice: Oh, this is good. The green tea is fresh and crisp and the perfect temperature to drink right from the pot. It's perking me right up.
Paul: Good. You needed the perk.
Candice: Says who? I order the Monkfish Pate as an appetizer, assorted sushi rolls and sashimi.  Oh, and the Spicy Negi Ramen Soup.  Why?  Because I am an eater.  Eating is what I do. I am very good at eating.
Paul: Not that anyone could tell, you wee lass.  I order the Chino Sampler and the Beef Teriaki.
Candice: The Chino Sampler has gyoza. I love a good potsticker.
Paul: We both do. We should definitely continue our original quest to eat every potsticker in town so we can dub one King.  The sampler includes pork gyoza and seafood dumplings, spicy shrimp, calamari, and shumai.
Candice: The Monkfish and Chino Sampler arrive!

Paul: The calamari is not chewy at all.  I do not often find calamari like this.  The sweet teriaki sauce is awesome.
Candice: The monkfish pate is savory. The taste is a combination of fish and liver together.
Paul: Let me try. Oh, yuck. It's too... fishy!
Candice: I like it. But I've always liked liver.
Paul: The gyoza is a disappointment. It's too salty.
Candice: And the shell is crunchy. I hate that. But these seafood dumplings are a tasty mouth explosion.
Paul: Wow. Very good. I like the spicy shrimp in the sweet and sour sauce. It's a good contrast.
Candice: The shumai look like little vegetable rolls cut diagonally in half and they're good.
Paul: I agree. Here's your sushi and sashimi.

Sushi and Sashimi
Candice: The sashimi is tuna and salmon. The sushi is a beef carpaccio roll, avocado roll, and tekka maki (tuna roll).
Paul: I'm not a big sushi fan, but I like the carpaccio roll.
Candice: The tuna is fresh and clean. Very good.
Paul: Yeah, that is good. I like that. Let me try the salmon.... uh....
Candice: It's supposedly fresh today, but you're right. I don't even want to eat the last piece.
Paul: That stuff is yucky.
Candice: The sashimi at Sogo was much better. The carpaccio roll is pleasant. I like the rice flavor, but not the texture. The sushi overall is not bad, but I've had better.  Odds are I have eaten better simply because I eat a lot of sushi.  See? Eater here.
Paul: What's with you and this eating label?  I think you've had enough caffeine. Here's your salad.
Candice: This is a good salad dressing, not too tart. The vegetables are cut julienne except for the lettuce. And I see too many lettuce ribs in here. Argh. This is a huge pet peeve for me.  Why ruin a lovely salad with a bitter rind flavor?  I often wonder if restaurants do that just to bulk up a salad.
Paul: My beef teriaki has arrived.

Beef Teriaki
Candice: The presentation is nice.
Paul: The beef is little dry. In fact, I'm disappointed.
Candice: The waiter didn't ask how you wanted it, did he?
Paul: No. But the beef is better near the center. Still, this beef is medium well. The teriaki sauce is very good. It gives the beef excellent flavor. I like the rice too. If it wasn't for the teriaki sauce, I wouldn't be able to finish this.
Candice: You love teriaki sauce no matter where you go.  Even at home, you cook with it.  My soup is yummy. The pork is tender. The noodles are springy. The broth is rich and deep, but light on the tongue. The nanami togarashi offered up with the soup added a nice spicy kick.

Spicy Ramen Soup
Paul: My broccoli is bland and tasteless. It's not fresh, or it's been over steamed. That's disappointing too.
Candice: Whoa! I only needed two shakes of the nanami togarashi, not three. That was a good kick. But the spiciness is so good, you don't care that it's hot.
Paul: Well, I think your lunch ended up better than mine. My beef was dry and overdone, but salvaged by the always awesome teriaki sauce. The broccoli was subpar. The gyoza was too salty, but the other appetizers were decent.
Candice: Yes, my soup was great and the sushi was good enough.  The experience marred only by the salmon, which was so off in flavor. My dog won't mind, though.
Paul: The drive was long, but the wait was short.
Candice: And the service was excellent. I think it was worth the price, worth the wait, and worth coming back.
Paul: We're split on this one. I think the price was high for the food. It was worth the wait, and I think it's worth coming back to, at least one more time. But I'll have something besides the beef teriaki.
Candice:  You?  Not eat teriaki?  Yup, you've definitely made your mind up about that particular dish.  Here's hoping we both get excellent meals at our next lunch.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Restaurant Tora on Urbanspoon

No comments:

Post a Comment