By Jason Yassine
If you’re looking for quality Japanese cuisine then it’s worth trying out Tokyo Wako (Paseo Colorado, 330 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena). This restaurant brings Japanese food to life with vibrant chefs who will put on a show for their customers. With their first restaurant originating in Arcadia, Tokyo Wako has now expanded into Ontario, Long Beach, Monterey Park and of course, Pasadena.
When first approaching Tokyo Wako, I instantly noticed the Japanese themed architecture. Everything from the style of the entrance doors to the windows were very ethnic. As I entered the building the theme continued. I noticed a wall on the left hand side filled with celebrities who have eaten at this location. On the right was a hostess behind a counter who helped get me seated. I was seated in an area with tall chairs and a large metal grill in the center of the table. The waitress brought me the menu and promptly took my order. I decided to go with the Hibachi Salmon which is served with fried rice and mixed vegetables. In addition, the meal also comes with a complimentary salad and soup.
Several minutes after my order was placed, the soup and salad arrived. Visually, the salad looked very fresh and crisp. An assortment of lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and tomato filled the small bowl. The vegetables were glazed with a carrot ginger dressing that visually made it look very colorful. The taste of the salad was quite exceptional and the dressing gave it a tangy kick. Along with the salad came a bowl of Miso soup. The waitress informed me that the soup was cooked with fish stock, so I was skeptical that it would taste fishy. When I was ready to taste it, I blew into the steaming soup and gave it a small sip. Surprisingly, the soup didn’t taste fishy as I anticipated because of the combined ingredients of tofu, seaweed, and spices.
Right after I finished eating the soup and salad the chef arrived. He pleasantly greeted me and confirmed my order before cooking on the large grill. The chef began by spinning his cooking utensils in the air. Then he proceeded to do tricks with the ingredients. He spun eggs, threw the shells in his hat, and even created an onion volcano! He definitely put on a show!
After the meal was fully cooked, I thanked the chef and was ready to dig into a visually stunning dish. The salmon was cooked seamlessly with a slight char to its pink color. The fried rice looked very wholesome with vegetables and soy sauce mixed into it. The vegetables (zucchini, onion, and mushroom) were grilled to perfection and came with dipping sauce. The fish was juicy, tender, and flavorful. When paired with the grilled vegetables and fried rice it enhanced the entire dish and made it quite enjoyable.
Overall, I was pleased with this meal. Not only was the food delicious, but I got a free show as well. The service was solid and everyone was friendly. In terms of price, this place will cost you a little more than expected. Regardless, if you’re looking to try quality Japanese Cuisine then give Tokyo Wako a shot.