Critic’s Notebook: Aburiya Toranoko, Los Angeles

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Photos courtesy of the restaurant

Because the restaurant’s name doesn’t just roll off the tongue or pop easily into mind, most people refer to Aburiya Toranoko simply as that new Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo from the guy who owns Lazy Ox, located next door. And while the name is easily forgotten, the food is not.

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Chef Hisaharu Kawabe, a longtime veteran of Matsuhisa, turns out great sushi and beautiful sashimi wrapped around baby greens. But more importantly, he churns exquisite tofu flavored and colored with sea urchin roe, and he’s introduced the city to beef tongue braised in miso. And one of my favorite dishes is the soboro gohan, a bowl of wonderfully musky ground chicken topped with a quail egg. 243 S. San Pedro St., L.A., 213.621.9500.

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