BOMB sushi pizza. One bite and your taste buds will be blasted into a state of momentary nirvana. Savory, meaty, a tad crispy with a nori bottom but soft in the center, greasy with a lingering spicy kick. There’s a new restaurant called Tokyo Lobby in Alhambra that opened last week to the beat of Taiko drums and loud red carpet flare that’s worth checking out. I want to thank the restaurant for inviting me to the opening and sponsoring the dinner.
I’ve lived the ex-pat life in Japan for 3 years and this is the first time I’ve stumbled across sushi pizza or anything similar to it. When the server called their bomb sushi pizza a Tokyo Table original creation that was first popularized at their other Irvine location, I believed him.
On the fun theme of over-the-top menu names, “OMG roll” is right up there with “bomb sushi pizza.” It’s a meaningful name because Tokyo Lobby’s OMG roll is packed with complex flavor. It houses seared salmon, unagi sauce, green onions, crispy fried tempura batter, spicy mayo, and melted cream cheese. I enjoyed how the sweeter unagi sauce contrasted against the spicy mayo and creamier melted cream cheese.
Pictured above is ishiyaki pepper rice. In Japanese “ishi” means stone and “yaki” means grilled. Ishiyaki is the Japanese version of the traditional Korean stone-heated dish bibimbap. I’m a huge fan of ishiyaki pepper rice. I love the sizzling noise of beef searing and rice crackling in front of you. With their stone bowls heated to 500 degrees, Tokyo Lobby’s ishiyaki pepper rice does not disappoint. The soy butter makes the corn particularly poignant next to the peppery rice and tender slices of beef. Ishiyaki pepper rice along with sushi pizza were my two favorite dishes of the evening.
And that’s saying a lot. Because I was given the opportunity to enjoy some top quality beef wagyu from organic grass fed cows raised in Oregon. These cows were crossbred between angus cows and Kobe “Tajima” cows from Hyogo/Kobe Japan. Reputation preceding, the beef wagyu on skewers had the hallmark luxurious soft-tender, savory taste.
Last I tasted their takoyaki or octopus wrapped in fried batter with the eponymous takoyaki sauce (generally from bonita flakes, apples, dates, and tomatoes). I’m ordinarily not a huge fan of takoyaki. You won’t find me lining up at a takoyaki stall in Osaka where it’s wildly popular. I’ll be at an okonomiyaki shop nearby instead, the other of Osaka’s two culinary specialties. But these takoyaki balls are something else. Tokyo Lobby uses a great batter recipe. Between the takoyaki sauce and the batter, the octopus taste did not overpower dumpling which I often find to be the case with takoyaki. I’d recommend these takoyaki. Even if I were in Japan.
Exploring Tokyo Table’s menu was akin to taking a quick food journey through major destinations in Japan– from wagyu traditionally found in Kobe, to takokoyaki in Osaka and fresh sushi from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. And the fushion flavors from sushi pizza and OMG roll a hat tip to Japan’s experimental food culture with global influences. The food while somewhat experimental brought back nostalgic memories and left me wanting more.
100 E. Main Street, Suite 100, Alhambra CA 91801