Torotorotoro! | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Wasabi wastes a veteran's skills

To respond to David - my frustration is the attack that we are trying to "defraud" our customers. We are not serving Prosecco and calling it champagne. We are serving the highest grade of Wagyu beef available to America that IS raised to very high standards - as I said, the quality stands. For Rob to say that our beef is "sinewy" is ludicrous and a flat out LIE. As far as "too sweet" - it's not "too" sweet, but it is sweetened in the Kobe style that the Kobe-born owner knows and is proud to present.
So if you want to know who the real fraud is here, come try our Syou Tonkotsu ramen and you will find out.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Torotorotoro! on 03/10/2011 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Wasabi wastes a veteran's skills

It is hard to know where to even begin a response given the repulsion at the ignorance and obvious sensationalism of this "piece" on our restaurant. When I say "our" restaurant I am writing as a waitress who has been with Wasabi since opening, and I write with great pride that I work for such an amazing risk-taking restaurant in Logan Square and I know that the other 2 waitresses - all of us having Years in experience at sushi restaurants, one of us even having lived in Japan, have my back on the comments I will now make, which will simply respond to each pathetic and misguided attempt to slam our wonderful gift to Logan Square.

Before anything, I want to personally stress that NONE of our smiles are "forced" and this tacky, subjective comment is revolting because everyone who works here is Proud to work here because we are so lucky to be amongst so much delicious creativity. All of us who work here are genuinely pleased and grateful to be part of such brilliant cuisine and our genuine smiles reflect that. Reviewers in Yelp have called me "giddy" because of how excited I am about the specials we offer each night.

First of all - we specialize in EVERYTHING on the menu as great thought was put into each offering. We have a kitchen and a sushi bar who both take great pride in what they put out, with a dedicated chef for each of our three main specialities: ramen, yakitori and sushi. The notion that because we have options we do not concern ourselves with quality is absolutely ridiculous - should we ONLY serve sushi in order to please you? Should we ONLY serve soup? You would surely slam us at whim for that.

The personal attacks against our sushi chef are the most upsetting part of this ignorant tirade. I hardly have words to express how below the belt and tacky what you've said about him is Rob. It's just terrible. Also, you're really reaching with the whole "wan look" bit. Right, because every real Japanese restaurant you've been to the sushi chefs are really cheery and friendly right? They all shout as you as you walk in the door like at BobSan? (Oh wait, that's Korean-run... like most Chicago sushi restaurants.) Yes, traditional Japanese chefs are focused on their work, they don't kowtow they let their cuisine speak for itself. C'mon, its like you've never been out before. He is a distinguished chef and yes, he will glance at you and nod and then he will throw the *!* down and make some of the most exquisite displays that you will clearly never experience since you didn't order any of the EXTREMELY fresh sashimi we offer.

Yeah let me speak to that point. You know we had a special tonight of orange clam. There they sat in the bucket of water when I came in. Us waitresses giggled at the sight of them, I touched my finger to one of them, taunting, "are you sticking your tongue out at me?" it withdrew itself and closed up, and sprayed streams of water at me! We all laughed and screamed, "it spit at you!" Because yeah, it "wasn't unfresh" - NICE DOUBLE NEGATIVE - yes, you are correct - the fish IS FRESH. The owners consistently throw out food that I plead I would still eat. We put up with customers being sad that we are "out of oysters" or uni, or what have you, even though we have ones that are just a few days old that I feel I'd still serve that my boss refuses to offer because her standards are so high. All of us servers are extremely honest with our customers, we will tell you what day we got each fish in, and we always push what has arrived that day - not what we "need to get rid of" like some places we've worked - and we are very proud that we are able and encouraged to do that. We work hard to be trustworthy and fresh and it is so disappointing that you felt the need to slam us just to be sensational.

Moving along with your unwarranted rant, it would almost be funny if it wasn't so libel, that you admit our sushi chef is "distinguished" and then you put down HIS tamago... which is positively delicious. You also put down the saba which he cured, yes, his 40+ years of presenting saba and you just contradicted yourself and pointed out your ignorance by not knowing that he makes it how it should taste. Saying that he should be downtown instead of in our wonderful neighborhood and then putting down his creations doesn't add up in the slightest.

And then you chose, of the dozen signature maki, the cooked ones with mayonnaise - you CHOSE the ones that you could call 'frittery mayo bombs', however those are far from the most popular. Our two most popular signature maki - by Far - are our Artmex - which has no mayo: it's yellowtail and salmon with cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, lime juice topped with tuna tartar, and our Pike Place - real king crab meat with fresh avocado, topped with salmon tartar, fresh mango, a light drizzle (see Your picture above) of ginger mayo (which we make fresh daily with freshly grated ginger - YUM) each piece topped with several ikura (salmon roe). Why didn't you mention those since if you'd asked the server we would encourage trying those.. it's like you clearly were SEEKING out what you could dis. Petty and manipulative. Also, its not as though we don't offer amazingly fresh hotate avocado maki and negi toro maki the customers rave about night after night.

And then you really go off the rails with the beef about our Kobe-style aburi nigiri. Being that our owner WAS BORN AND RAISED IN KOBE I'm pretty sure she knows what it tastes like better than you. Wagyu is the most expensive breed of cow in the world, that's why one small slice of it is a steal at $5, she doesn't put it on the specials to turn a profit, she puts it there to represent and because she loves it and it is probably the most popular and beloved special we have, with customers returning just to have more. It is real Wagyu, and it does not matter where the cow was born, it's still the same cow treated to the same standards. I mean, you recommend our Berkshire pork. Well you must really be trying to pull a fast one on all of us since it's not raised in England, it's raised here in America over in Iowa! So congratulations on splitting hairs over terminology when the quality stands.

Finally you're just straight crazy trying to complain about ramen. I mean, considering I've never had a complaint yet, and I often tell tables it's the "best soup this side of Japan" and talk it up so much that when people try it I'm always thrilled to find I can talk it up and up and still they will never be let down. Our noodles - which take 2 weeks to import from Japan, are always al dente, and we marinate our eggs for at least 24 hours to divine taste.. the stock is also a solid day's work, our syou tonkontsu broth is incredible made from the berkshire pork and you even got that flavoring with the added dimension (though I prefer it pure) of miso! Do you have a cold because we already have addicts who can't go three days without another bowl. Oh, and you think it's expensive? Well that Berkshire pork toro you admit you can't complain about, which is the very tender cheek of the pork, try pricing that out sometime.

As I said, our owner was born and raised in Japan, and is obsessive about her ramen - she presides over the making of most every bowl and I watch her nitpick over every step of the preparation. That ramen is made with love. So much love.

And I love our food, and our customers love our food. We did not open with a yawn by any means. We opened quietly. We paid for no press. We did not advertise. We simply made great food and opened our doors to excited, smiling faces. Now we are packed every weekend and busy all week with locals who say they are so happy to have us in the neighborhood.

"Mediocre" is the last term I would use to describe a restaurant who this weekend featured wagyu tartar with truffle oil, quail egg and pear; sea cucumber wakame su; orange clam avocado salad; shio anago; various toro; Pacific oysters on the half shell with fresh ginger/red onion vinaigrette; and a special "surf & turf" maki of lobster in soy butter with microgreens and avocado inside topped with wagyu tartar.

Oh, and not that you asked (about anything) but we've never once enforced the byo policy we have in our menu as folks often bring a variety of drinks to try all our foods, we simply have that on the menu as a safeguard considering we are responsible to our customers.

But yeah, thanks for playing "let's be sensational". We're excited for our reviews in two major magazines coming out this week that we hope you pay attention to... we understand they think we're pretty swell.

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Torotorotoro! on 02/27/2011 at 8:42 AM

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