(photo credit: PR)
An avid sushi enthusiast, I was glad to accept the invitation to try out the Japanese menu at Ramat Aviv's Asian restaurant Torii. Well acquainted with many of the sushi options in central Tel Aviv, I was eager to find out if this upscale neighborhood of the city had something different to offer.
The restaurant also serves as a wine bar, which is immediately apparent by the cork-filled vases that line the walls by way of decoration. The decor of the restaurant is modern, stylish and inviting, with simple but elegant wooden chairs, tables and bar stools. Customers can either pull up a stool at the bar or opt for a more intimate table. We chose the latter and were immediately served warm cider and Japanese pickles. The atmosphere was warm and relaxed, with dim lighting and large windows.
We began with drinks so that we could peruse the extensive Asian menu at our leisure. I opted for a glass of sumptuous red Trio wine (NIS 41), and my dining partner selected half a pint of Weihnstephan (NIS 29). After consulting with our friendly waitress, we ordered a few starters and a selection of the special sushi rolls.
First came the Yaki Torii (NIS 38) – two skewers of tender, succulent salmon with spring onion, herbs, drizzled with teriyaki sauce. The dish was simply delicious. Delighted with our first choice, we eagerly dug into the rest of our food, which had arrived speedily and was presented beautifully. One of our favorite dishes was the salmon tartare (NIS 38) – a gorgeous mix of cubes of raw salmon, avocado and bits of crunchy red pepper, dressed with Dijon mustard and whipped wasabi. The portion was generous, and the mouthfuls of creamy avocado and fresh salmon heaped into a martini glass felt truly decadent.
We also ordered a sashimi salad (NIS 39) to accompany our sushi rolls, which comprised pieces of raw salmon, carrot, cucumber, pepper and papaya (replaced with mango according to season), coriander peanuts and cold rice noodles. The salad was light and refreshing with an interesting combination of flavors and textures, which was a joy to munch on in between mouthfuls of sushi.
Our large platter of varied and creative sushi rolls tasted as good as it looked. The Torii roll (NIS 45) was composed of surimi, avocado and cucumber, with each of the six pieces wrapped in red tuna, denis, salmon or yellowtail. The panko roll (NIS 38), a variation of a roll that is featured on most sushi menus, was made with sweet potato, avocado and kanpyo, wrapped with baked panko-coated salmon, topped with sweet potato shavings. As panko rolls always are, this was a heavier roll than the others. My favorite was the Tom roll (NIS 42), which was filled with salmon, avocado and cucumber with spicy mayonnaise, and topped with red tuna and thin slices of lemon – the citrus twist proved to be an excellent addition. The candy cubes roll (NIS 42) was also unique: a giant roll with a thick layer of sticky rice on the outside, filled with pankocoated salmon, salmon skin, avocado and sweet potato in sweet honey and pineapple flavored teriyaki.
The sushi was of high quality, fresh, superbly presented and delicious.
We were too full to sample any of the sweets, so we rounded off the meal with mint tea (NIS 11) and espresso (NIS 9), fully satisfied with our dining experience and the excellent service.
I certainly will be returning to Torii, having added it to my list of favorite sushi places. It proved to be worth venturing the extra few miles out of central Tel Aviv.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Torii Not kosher 13 Oppenheimer St., Ramat Aviv Tel: (03) 620-4777