You may have read Lori Fredrichâ€™s story last week on the new restaurant Tochi, which opened last week in Shorewood with Chef Gregg Des Rosier at the helm. Tochi, formerly Anaba Tea Room, specializes in ramen.
A group of girlfriends and I couldnâ€™t wait to try out this new dining spot, so the four of us made plans to grab dinner there during the first week of operation. And Iâ€™m really glad we didnâ€™t wait!
From the moment we descended the stairs to Tochi (which is downstairs from The Garden Room) the lusty smell of bacon was thick in the air. The place was filled to the brim with customers enjoying their steaming bowls of ramen.
While we waited for our table, which took maybe 15 minutes, we grabbed a seat at the sleek bar â€“ which seats around 10 â€“ and enjoyed some drinks. The drink menu included a large variety of wine, beer, saketinis, sake bombs and sake. The restaurant also continues to offer an extensive tea list â€“ which was appealing since it was freezing outside â€“ but I opted to warm up with a glass of red wine instead.
After we were seated in the new zen-like space, we began our meal with a couple starters. The pork steam buns ($5.95), which featured a curried slaw, were delicious. And the shishitos ($5.95) were a pleasant surprise. Most of us had never tried shishito peppers before, but these were delicious â€“ slightly charred and tossed in fish sauce, pork fat and sesame. You had me at the pork fat, but I really loved the slight hotness of these peppers, too.
With eight different ramens to choose from, we were able to try and share about half of them, along with a bowl of congee. TOCHI ramen ($11.95), which is a pork-based broth with Singapore noodles, came with pork belly, Welsh onions and a spicy miso deviled egg. The broth was delicious, and the bowl came packed with plenty of noodles and toppings.
One of us ordered the mushroom and smoked tofu ramen ($9.95), which had a bourbon barrel fermented soy sauce shoyu-style broth. The flavor of the sauce itself was fantastic, but we all agreed the overpowering flavor of the smoke in the tofu was a bit much and would love another texture on the tofu dish.
The other two main dishes we ordered were of the mazeman type, which is more of a brothless noodle dish. The Wisconsin grass-fed beef mazeman ($11.95) was delicious, with pickled shitake mushrooms, a fried egg and smoked bone marrow butter. But, we also tried the bacon apple and cilantro lime goat cheese mazeman ($8.95), which was by far the crowd favorite. We added a poached egg to this one for $1 and it added another layer to this already fantastic melding of flavors.
I mentioned we tried the congee, which is a type of porridge popular in Asian cultures. The pork belly congee ($7.95) had green onions, egg, cilantro lime paste and a chili oil. I was torn on this dish, as I found the porridge comforting, but some of the flavors in the dish didnâ€™t appeal. That said, the pork salted up the congee perfectly for me, and Iâ€™m likely to order this again when Iâ€™m craving a dish with that Malt-O-Meal feel.
Dessert? Well, first off, 99.9 percent of the time I MUST have some. Thankfully, my friends fully support this habit. We shared both of the desserts on the menu last night, which included black walnut cheesecake with a salted miso whip cream and burnt miso butterscotch bread pudding. Both were gone within minutes, and surely will be ordered again. Neither of the desserts seemed overtly Asian in nature, but both had touches of the culture.
The verdict? Weâ€™ll be back to Tochi again soon, especially since weâ€™ve already found a number of favorites on the menu. For four of us, with multiple alcoholic beverages including a bottle of wine, the bill came to $37 per person before tip. Considering the amount of food and drink we consumed, Tochi cost less than I thought it would, which is always a pleasant surprise. See you soon, Tochi.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Carolynn Buser
Published Aug. 21, 2016
The outdoor music season in Milwaukee has hit with full force but is coming to an end sooner than we'd like. Whether you head to Jazz in the Park, Chill on the Hill, Tosa Tonight or somewhere else, we have you covered!
Published Aug. 15, 2016
As I was sitting in church Sunday morning, a text popped up from my friend Michelle Malicki: "I'm really sad about what happened in Milwaukee last night. Want to go help with cleanup?"
Published Aug. 2, 2016
Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood continues to grow every day into a full-fledged community with an eclectic dining and bar scene, antique shops, salons and more. One piece that wasn't quite there yet is slowly trickling in and that is the retail market.
Published July 13, 2016
Downtown Milwaukee may not have a ton of ice cream options but you can order frozen treats on demand with #UberIceCream this Friday.
Published July 1, 2016
Mr. Worldwide kicked off his new tour, Pitbull: Bad Man Tour, to a relatively full Marcus Amphitheater crowd on the second day of Summerfest. The Grammy-winning artist is touring with Latin star Prince Royce and special guest Farruko.
Published June 30, 2016
If Selena Gomez aims to shed that baby face and Disney image, her "Revival" tour is certainly doing just that. The black bodysuits, whipping hair and sultry scowl all make it clear this is a woman moving on from her past, and that sweet innocent girl isn't coming back.
Published June 26, 2016
Whitefish Bay just got a little bit sweeter with the opening of Honeycomb Salon. The new organic lifestyle-friendly salon, owned by Cheane Sartler, features six stylists ready to make you the best you can be.
Published May 23, 2016
Downtown Milwaukee will soon have a new brunch and breakfast spot. "brunch" will open later this month in the former Agave Southwest Bar & Grill space.
Published May 20, 2016
Join in the fun at MAM After Dark: MKE Icons Friday night. We'll be there, as a proud sponsor, with coloring pages, fun LocaMoji's, temporary tattoos and more!
Published May 9, 2016
Summer camp may be just a fond, faded memory in your head -- nostalgic and missed. But a new camp aims to bring that fantastic feeling back just for you -- as an adult!