Monday, February 16, 2009

Waiting To Exhale @ Komatsu (Torrance)

I never knew what Omakase really meant until I went to a sushi restaurant and was taken care of personally by a detail oriented chef. For a price, the chef would give you as much as you needed until you are satisfied knowing he gave you what he thinks is the best.

Different spices in the tray

For a tempura bar, it would be interesting to see what they served considering you can only deep fried a few things like seafood and beef. Other than that, it was going to be a surprise.

Let's preface by saying that nothing get you more down than the fact that you were warned ahead of time that there were "BETTER" tempura places in South Bay than Komatsu restaurant. It was such a bummer to find out the warning to be true.

I came here on a weeknight evening to experience their OMAKASE (oma-ka-say, not OMA-saki) for their tempuras. I was in a smaller dining table joined by three companions. Everyone in our table ordered the pricing menu that is up to the chef. So it shouldn't take that long for the first order to come out.

Shrimp Tempura

Yet, we waited at least 50 minutes before the shrimp tempura came out. Why did it took that long for a simple order and miso soup to arrive to us? Apparently we found out, a Tatami room (traditional Japanese room with low table) full of 20 people have ALL ordered Omakase. Therefore the chef was going to give about 30 some odd people in four tables all the food at the same time.

Miso Soup

It was friggin' bummer to say the least.

Once the initial food came out, majority of the dishes start to fly out around the 80 minutes mark. By then, the service gotten better at clearing out the dishes and refilling the water. The first hour was a complete wash for me.

I was about to find out what you can deep fried when things are available left to the imagination. Such as:

First, we had the Deep Fried Onion Tempura. It felt like eating a supersized onion ring that is left in a big bulb. I think with ketchup, I would have really enjoyed it.

Deep Fried Onion Tempura

In a unforseen delight was the Stuffed Mushroom Tempura. In a weird thought, this could had worked out if the batter that accompany the mushroom was a little more flavored. Otherwise, I think this would have been a good appetizer anywhere else.

Stuffed Mushroom Tempura

Then came an interesting pair, the Salted Plum and Asparagus. This is a weird set as the salted plum in a bag can be purchased anywhere in an Asian market which would had been cool, but deep fried was a little foul for me. The Asparagus was actually done right. Both was salted, but the plum was a sweet and sour snack that usually was enjoyed when I was a kid, but not in a tempura batter.

Salted Plum and Aspharagus Tempura

Next up is the Sweet potato Tempura. This was the other interesting one we had as it was a baked sweet potato version of the tempura. Now that one was something I can enjoyed. With the skin peeled and smothered lightly with a tempura battered in a dipping sauce, I was amazed how delicious the sweet potato tempura really is. If there is a winner outside of the seafood or meat, the sweet potato would be great in a tempura.

Sweet Potato Tempura

We also have white fish, oyster, and sea eel, but they didn't come close to the imagination of the other fascinating tempura dishes.The service was slow in the beginning, but recovered when it was getting to closer for them to bring out the check. The big sticker shock was that the Omakase cost $44 per person. It was a lousy gamble because for the food we got, we didn't feel satisfied or fulfilled. I think for a tasting menu, this would have done great for a Japanese restaurant.

Oyster Tempura

Squid Tempura
White Fish Tempura

Just however a little let down because all around, it was only solid, but not spectacular on any of the dishes that we got. For the future, I hope they improve the efficiency of getting the orders in fashionable time and not making us wait. We got all of our items and enjoyed the dinner in about 2 hours and 45 min. I don't know if people have that much time to sit around and wondered when the food will come out.

Sea Eeel Tempura

Lychee Ice Cream

Like I pointed out above, solid for a tempura bar, but not spectacular.


Someone asked me if that was more like preset menu than an Omakase, I have to rethink about that because it does felt like they have a preset menu ready than an "on-the-whim" type setup for getting those order items to you. I'll still treat like an Omakase since they listed as such.

Komatsu Restaurant
1644 W Carson St Ste B
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 787-0787


Komatsu Tempura Bar on Urbanspoon


H. C. said...

Photos look great, sorry the service and the food were lackluster in comparison. And boy, I feel like I'm getting 'yeet hay' looking at those photos ;D

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey H.C.!

Thanks for the compliment about the photos. It was a lackluster evening and the omakase was okie dokie, but a tad expensive. I can only hope that a sushi joint don't screwed me over by making me wait too long to serve an omakase. *sigh*