Toba Nagoya Cuisine 鳥羽名古屋料理


With Japanese restaurants, you will find that most of the good restaurants are ones who tend to specialize in one type of food like sushi or yakitori for example. Usually the restaurants who try to span across multiple types of food tend to flounder as it can be hard to excel on everything.  But Toba Nagoya seems to be an exception as they provide multiple types of Japanese food such as sushi, yakiniku, tempura, unagi, soba, and Nagoya specialties while excelling on many fronts!

The restaurant was big and spacious as it spans across 2 floors. Private rooms are provided with a minimum charge. The decor was rustic like an izakaya with a wall showcasing many different sake labels. As we had made a reservation, we were promptly seated and we placed orders as we ate. 

Fresh Raw Vegetables Salad ($140) - the raw vegetables salad consisted of fresh corn, tomato, asparagus, carrot, cucumber, and lettuce served on a bath of ice. All of the vegetables were fresh and crisp with sweet natural flavors. The miso sauce that served as a dip was subtle yet flavorful, and enhanced the taste of the vegetables in a delightful way. At $140, it was a bit pricey though but I guess you are paying for the quality of the ingredients.

Homemade Cold Tofu ($78) - never had tofu like this before! The tofu was soft like custard while the flavor was intense and raw. The raw taste of tofu was magnified by 10x of what you normally taste. It was like eating a sashimi grade tofu if you get what I mean. If you like tofu, you will love it, otherwise it may come across as a bit bland. 
Fried Bean Curd with Japanese Spa Egg ($68) - what a lovely dish! The bean curd was fried to a nice crispy state while housing the raw spa egg inside. The combination of the crispy texture of the bean curd and the liquid egg was scrumptious while the taste was simple yet rich. Very nicely executed!

Eel Egg Roll ($98) - the tamagoyaki is a rolled omelet with unagi in the center. The eggs were soft and sweet while the unagi was delicious with the sweetened sauce. A good dish but would have been better with more unagi. 

Hokkaido Uni ($170 for 2) - very fresh and great quality uni! I used to dislike uni because of the fishy scent but then I realized it was because I've never had good quality uni. The best uni can taste like ice cream from the sea. The uni here was really delicious but then again you are paying for it at $170 for 2 nigiri. 
Soft Spider Crab Roll with Avocado ($165) - the soft spider crab was crispy and rich while the avocado was plentiful and fresh. A solid roll but nothing extraordinary.  

Nagoya Deep Fried Chicken Wings ($148 for 9) - you can order 5, 9, or 12 wings in 3 flavors from sweet, middle spicy and big spicy. As we were ordering 9 wings, we got to choose 2 flavors and we ended up choosing sweet and middle spicy. Tebasaki are seasoned, deep fried chicken wings that are made without batter. I've never been to Nagoya before and I've never had tebasaki, but I found the wings a bit dry and lean for my taste. The only different between the sweet and middle spicy was that the middle spicy wings had a coat of what tasted like white pepper powder on it. Not my cup of tea.

Beef Tongue ($52) - the grilled dishes here are very good as well! The beef tongue was succulent and juicy while the texture was bouncy. The outside was seared perfectly. The seasoning was done well as there was just enough to bring out the taste of the beef but not overwhelm it. Yum!
Tsukune ($42) - so very tiny compared to what you get at Yardbird for around the same price. However, all is forgiven when I realized that chicken cartilage had been mixed into the meat. What a nice suprise! The chicken cartilage provided a fun crunchy texture while the meat was soft and tender. The marinade was sweet and rich while the yolk enhanced the flavor. Only wished it was bigger!

Fried Oysters ($98) - the batter were nice and crispy while a bit too thick. The oysters were fresh and flavorful though. Mayo and tonkatsu sauce were provided as dipping sauce. I preferred the tangy flavor of the tonkatsu sauce with the fried oysters. 

Nagoya Eel Rice ($238) - my favorite dish of the night! Hitsumabushi is a food specialty of Nagoya. It is similar to your regular unagi donburi but the way you eat it is different. Our chopped grilled eel arrived on a bed of rice in a large wooden container with a cover. Condiments like pickled vegetables, seaweed strips, and wasabi were provided as well as a bowl of soup and a pot of dashi.

You can eat the unagi in 3 way: 1) eat as is, 2) add in the seasoning like the seaweed and wasabi, and 3) add in the same seasoning and pour in the dashi stock. First of all, the eel was very scrumptious! It was grilled perfectly with a crispy surface while the sauce was rich and flavorful. Eating the unagi with the rice by itself was pretty good as the tasty sauce had seeped into the rice already. Adding the wasabi provided another kick in flavor which was rather interesting. My favorite way to eat it had to be with the wasabi and dashi together! The dashi was hot and slightly sweet which was comforting to eat with the eel and rice. One of the best unagi that I've had!

Verdict - the service was prompt and adequate, plus it helped that we got free desserts! We picked the green tea ice cream, hokkaido milk chocolate pudding, and lychee konjac jelly, and while they were good, the food we had at dinner was much better in terms of taste and quality! Toba Nagoya is the perfect restaurant for those who want to eat Japanese food but don't know exactly what type of cuisine to eat. You can try a bit of everything here and basically can't go wrong with any choices!

Toba Nagoya Cuisine
20-21/F, L' hart, 489 Lockhart Road,Causeway Bay 
2891 7188

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