Strathcona—(June 23, 2015) From the popular Le Tigre food truck, chefs/owners Clement Chan and Steven Kuan have finally opened up the hotly anticipated Torafuku ("lucky tiger" in Japanese), a modern Asian eatery, located between Campagnolo and Electric Owl on Main Street near Chinatown.
As the name suggests, the Le Tigre team is aiming for something different with Torafuku while remaining true to the same flavour inspirations. Diners at the 48-seat location can expect a blend of seasonal tastes from Japanese to Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese in an izakaya dining experience with tapas style dishes ideal for sharing.
To start, the Me Like Papaya salad (with green papaya, julienne carrots, tomato, red cabbage, green beans, chilli, peanuts, and naam jim) was full of fresh flavours with a nice bite to it. The This is Not Tortellini (with pork, shiso, ginger, garlic, scallion, and angry tiger sauce) was fine but needs another revisit.
The Kick-Ass Rice 2.0 (Aburi style torched pork belly with rice pressed in a box) was solid and flavourful but needs a little work staying assembled. I found the elaborately named Dr. Octopus vs. Mr. Tuna (octopus salad with tomato, jalapeños, scallions, crispy nori, tuna crudo, and romesco sauce) understated but scrumptious and immaculately presented.
Everyone seemed pretty psyched for the Vegetarians Only dish (with crispy mochi, seasonal veggetables, mozza, and torched mayo) and it did not disappoint with a unique, deliciously creamy fried texture. It's dangerous but was easily a highlight.
The cocktails from bartender Max Borrowman were also fairly on point, particularly the Shogun 75 (a take on the French 75 with vodka, green tea syrup, yuzu, kaffir lime, basil, smoked pear bitters, and sparkling wine). It was very citrusy and refreshing.
The Dirty Birdy fried rice (with chicken liver, prawns, tofu, chilli, egg, and brown rice) lived up to its name as a messy but satisfying rice bowl with plenty of fixings. The Rye So Messy chicken wings (with rye and gochujang marinade, mango glaze, ramen crumble, and KFC sauce) were dynamite and mighty tasty (challenging Phnom Penh and Pidgin's wings) thanks to that ramen crumble.
Torafuku already has an eclectic, diverse menu of tasty items for any mood. The space will also serve as Le Tigre's permanent nighttime location and commissary for the food truck.
It's already definitely worth a try for its twists on modern Asian dishes and an overall pleasant dining experience from inside and out in a lovely space.