toraya (arlington)

the ika (squid) tempura appetizer

So to take the beat back up after last night’s post (a bit of a downer I know, I’m sorry!) let’s talk about good sushi.  (I should have also mentioned in last night’s post that I have not been able to hear very well out of my left year for the past two weeks now, and I’m also quite sick with some sort of bug and the worst migraines …)

I’ve been wanting to check out Toraya, a little Japanese restaurant on Mass Ave in Arlington, for a long while now.   When I say little, I mean little!  They have a few tables along one side of the restaurant and sushi bar seating, but no room for much else.  I had read online that one of the biggest complaints about this place was their lack of a waiting space.  But seriously?  If that is all you have to complain about then let’s go!

We got there pretty early for a Saturday night at 5:30 pm.  (Yeah I know, depressing in a way isn’t it?  A sign we’re aging perhaps?!)  Neither of us had eaten since earlier that morning so we were quite hungry.  We managed to find a parking spot right in front of the restaurant and were seated right away at a table by the window.  It’s not an overly decorated restaurant by any means, quite plain and simple really, which made us realize that they were more focused on the more important thing: the food.

We shared the ika tempura appetizer over a bottle of Kirin and a small bottle of hot sake, and it was quite delicious.  The squid was very tender and flavorful, and the batter was nice and light and non-greasy.  They also gave us a piece of sweet potato, a really thick juicy shiitake mushroom, and broccoli.  I think we could’ve easily eaten our own whole orders of this dish, it was that good!


Then came our plate full of sushi.  We ordered a spicy tuna roll with tempura flakes (maki style), hamachi negahama (yellowtail with scallions), tuna with cucumber rolls, sake (salmon) nigiri style (with the fish on top of rice), hamachi (yellowtail) nigiri style, and my I-have-to-have-it-every-single-time-we-eat-sushi ikura salmon roe eggs.

At first, and about 1/3 of the way through the plate, I thought we would have to order something else because a) it has been a long time since I last had sushi and b) my eyes are always ten times bigger than my stomach.  (My mother and husband will attest to the fact that point b is very, very true.)  In the end it was enough sushi and we were quite full.  The restaurant had filled up by that time too and there was a line of people standing out the door waiting to be seated.  I think this will definitely be one of our new go-to sushi places in this area.  It seems to be full of regulars (one woman who supposedly goes there every week and orders the same thing – including a glass of wine – each time), and other Asian people which, let’s face it folks, is a sure sign that a restaurant knows what it’s doing right?  Stay tuned as I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about Toraya from us.

890 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02476


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