It was a rainy December night on the North Shore. Flash and I parked on the outskirts of Coolidge Park then walked up the wet iron steps that led to the shops and restaurants on Frazier Avenue. The light-up snowflakes on Walnut Street Bridge blinked golden in the rain. This area is always so romantic this time of year.
On tonight’s date night, Flash and I dined at Totto Sushi and Grill for a change from our regular sushi place, Sushi Nabe, located behind Totto by Coolidge Park.
The hostess at Totto Sushi and Grill led us through the main dining room, past the sushi bar and wine bar, to the dimly-lit back room where an ornate red kimono decorated the wall. She sat us at an intimate two-top then explained the main menu, which consists of grilled classics like hibachi steak ($15) and chicken teriyaki ($13). Then she delved into the first sushi menu that includes sashimi for appetizers (up to $11.95) and the standard sushi rolls like eel, volcano, and rainbow, going for up to $9.95 a roll.
The hostess then showed us the special sushi roll menu that contains chef specialties such as The North Shore Roll, rolled with spicy crab, cucumber, avocado, and fried shrimp; topped with spicy tuna, fried eel, spicy mayo, and eel sauce ($13.50).
Once the hostess left, the waiter appeared to tell us tonight (Wednesday) was half-price wine night for all wines except those that did not come by the glass. I ordered a glass of the house chardonnay, which is usually $6.95. The wine was an unoaked chardonnay and a little too sweet for me. Good thing it was only half-price.
After bringing out our drinks the waiter asked if we would like to order an appetizer. Flash and I took him up on his recommendation for the Jalapeno Bomb: carved-out jalapenos filled with cream cheese and spicy tuna, deep-fried and topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce ($6).
I ate with my eyes first when the Jalapeno Bomb came out. It looked like a beautiful firework exploding from the white plate. And, if it were not for the spicy jalapeno dominating the combination of flavors, it would have tasted as good as it looked. It was also a very filling appetizer with the rich sauces and deep-fried crunch. I had two slices before making myself stop; otherwise I would not have had room for dinner.
The main course arrived shortly after the appetizer. Flash ordered the Chicken Bento Box, a sampler platter of grilled chicken and vegetables, four California rolls, two fried beef dumplings, and tempura vegetables; served with white rice, soup, and salad ($15). I stuck with sushi, choosing the Chef’s Special Roll: crab, cucumber, fried shrimp, and avocado on the inside; an assortment of tuna, salmon, cooked shrimp, yellow tail, red snapper, and avocado on top; and drizzled with koma sauce and eel sauce ($13.50).
Again, the presentation for both dinners was colorful, artistic, and pleasing to the eye. Other than Flash saying his chicken was a little dry, he said he would order the Bento Box again. The sushi was fresh and rich and came with plenty of rolls for the price. Neither Flash nor I could finish our meals and had to ask for to-go boxes.
“Or, To-tto boxes,” Flash tried to make a pun.
Our bill came to $46.91 before tip for the half-price glass of wine, appetizer, and two entrees. Flash and I agreed we would go back to Totto. The dim and calming atmosphere worked well for date night, and the creative menu made it fun to try a variety of things. Though, Flash and I also agreed we were not completely converted from Sushi Nabe. When we feel like going out for Japanese, we will simply have to split our time between the two.
Location: 330 Frazier Ave Suite 124
Sun Lunch closed
Dinner Mon-Thurs 5:00p-10:00p
Fri & Sat 5:00p-11:00p