213 E. 45th Street at 3rd Ave
My cousin is in town from San Francisco and we had dinner here last night. I have been wanting to eat here since I've already tried Yakitori Totto and Soba Totto, which I love. It's very very unassuming outside and easy to walk past.
We ordered the set menu, which is 8 courses for $45. A steal. First course was the homemade tofu, which was silky and light. Paired with three different kinds of salt - citrus, wasabi and seaweed. Nice mix of flavors from such a simple condiment. I liked the citrus salt the best.
Next came a sashimi course: red snapper, salmon and a third white fish I couldn't identify that was slightly buttery and salty.
The third course was tsukune, which was basically a giant chicken meatball. We chose teriyaki sauce, and this came with a poached egg for dipping in. This is probably my favorite item from the grill at all the Totto restaurants. Very moist and flavorful.
Next came broiled cod in soy sauce, which was slightly fatty and delicious.
The tempura course included a shiitake mushroom, jalapeno peppers and sea eel. No accompaniment except for a bit of flavored salt. Again, simple and delicious.
Next came the intermission, which was a small portion of very thinly sliced duck, cooked in vinegar.
The last course before dessert was onigiri, for which you can choose your filling (spicy mentaiko), and miso soup.
For dessert, green tea and red bean mochi.
It was a lot of courses but I didn't feel too stuffed when I left. There's something balanced and somewhat "correct" about Japanese cooking and this is why I love it so much. Each ingredient is highlighted, but without the use of fancy sauces or condiments. Love-love.
Would love to come back and try ordering from the regular menu.