Monday, January 4, 2010

Two of Tengu's Best

My two favorite sushi rolls have to be none other than the Zen Crunch and the Lobster Roll. I normally don’t tend to favor rolls that are entirely tempura-fried (meaning the whole roll literally wears a crunchy crust of hot batter by the time it gets sliced and plated), since most places tend to overdo it with the eel sauce; but the Zen Crunch breaks that habit with its dressing of ginger vinaigrette, sweet onions and three different colors of bell peppers. (This sauce-and-garnish medley is remarkably similar to that of the Inazuma Roll at Umai of Santa Monica.) The Zen Crunch is stuffed with nothing but loads of spicy albacore, which gets cooked in the hot oil in which the roll is fried. At still only $10, it’s a crunch-lover’s delight as well as an unconventional Japanese dish.

One of the reasons I love the Lobster Roll is because another stereotype gets broken: This restaurant uses real, chunky, meaty lobster, and none of the langostino baby-lobster variety some of the slackers roll with. Another reason is the ingredients…golden flying fish eggs, asparagus, avocado, and a torch-roasted miso-mayonnaise which forms the base of the plate. The only reason not to like this one? The $19 price!

Tengu boasts a lounge-like, Zen-inspired atmosphere. The place is dimly lit, which makes it seem seductively inviting and intimate, but at the same time it’s rowdy, with its energetic club soundtrack and trendy crowd.

10853 Lindbrook Drive, Westwood

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