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 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 June 19, 2016
The outdoor music season in Milwaukee has hit with full force. Whether you head to Jazz in the Park, Chill on the Hill, Tosa Tonight or somewhere else, we have you covered!
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!
Published April 28, 2016
Curtis James Jackson III, otherwise known as 50 Cent, visits Milwaukee's Plum Lounge tonight. So, you really could possibly party like a rockstar. Or rap star. So get in da club!
Published April 26, 2016
Milwaukee: a great city by the beach? YES! Outdoor Magazine kicked off voting for their "America's Best Town" 2016 yesterday and Milwaukee is nominated.
Published April 17, 2016
With more and more new Downtown lodging options built every day, how is the Marriott - albeit a new one - worthy of your hard-earned dollars? By simply doing all the right things right.
Published April 6, 2016
Summer is almost upon us! Mashable even came up with a so-called handy-dandy chart to help you pick which music festival you should attend this summer, another sign it's closer. However ... where in the hell is Summerfest?
Published March 18, 2016
The eclectic Riverwest neighborhood just west of the Milwaukee River is one of the most diverse areas in the city. Now, it was just ranked one of the top neighborhoods in the country for living well.