Friday, April 23, 2010

Gonpachi - Torrance and the Miyako Hybrid Hotel

Upon pulling into the Miyako Hybrid Hotel parking lot I already loved the place: they have special parking spaces for Fuel Efficient Vehicles. Go Prius!

We were invited for a tasting of the Gonpachi Restaurant that opened as part of the Miyako Hybrid hotel. I remembered going to the Beverly Hills Gonpachi but that was so long ago before they changed their menu.

Unlike the very traditional decor at the Gonpachi Beverly Hills, the Gonpachi Torrance went for a more modern and "hip" look.

While waiting for the others to finish their hotel tour (coming from Pasadena, we couldn't make it to Torrance on time), I had a shoju-based cocktail at the bar.
We started with some Zensai (appetizers): tofu, shrimp shinjo, kinpira
The shrimp shinjo was paired with a sweet & sour fish sauce. The tofu seemed to be homemade and had a nicely rich texture.

Our meals were paired with the following sakes: Hakkaisan, Aiyama Nanbu-bijin (a floral sake), and Onikoroshi Daiginjo

Kobe Beef Carpaccio with ponzu and spicy miso sauce.
The kobe carpaccio had a seared edge and a smoky smell.

The most impressive item that night was definitely the Sashimi platter.
Abalone, salmon, squid, tuna, orange surf clams and more.

Here they serve Hokkaido "Bafun" uni, not your usual Santa Barbara, and it actually has a stronger, sweeter and more concentrated flavor, although it's actually not as creamy.

The sashimi was followed by Gindara (grilled miso marinated black cod)
Very tender, flaky and sweet. It pairs well with the onikoroshi. It's served atop rice with edamame and seaweed.

Sushi plate
I found that the fish, and especially the toro, to be of very good quality, but the rice was too dense.

Just like their Beverly Hills counterpart did, Gonpachi handmakes their soba in-house.
They do this in a small room with glass windows so patrons can actually watch it being made as you walk into the entrance.
We had the Zaru soba to semi-end the meal before the dessert.
The soba here is certainly better than store-bought dried soba (although it's no Ichimiann). Soba-yu is also served with it.

After cleansing with a cup of hojicha that had a lovely roasted aroma, for dessert we had the Pumpkin Zenzai (sweet red beans, mochi balls, vanilla ice cream in pumpkin soup, topped with almonds).
I've had this dessert before and have always enjoyed it very much. I'm happy to see it is served here also.

Torrance is a mecca of Japanese food in this area, but the "fine dining" and sushi restaurants are still lacking. With its ambiance and setting in this new LEED silver-certified hotel, Gonpachi is poised to fill this gap for the locals. After all, as much as we love Ichimiann and Otafuku, we can't very well hold a business meeting there.

Gonpachi - Torrance
21381 South Western Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 320-6700
Gonpachi - Torrance on Urbanspoon
Gonpachi - Torrance in Los Angeles on Fooddigger


Kung Food Panda

Good to hear Ichimiann is still #1 for soba!


The sashimi platter looks tremendous. Lucky!

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