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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Toko V

Saturday night we went to Toko V. In the old Village Marquee spot (and Marquee Grill before that) in Highland Park Village. They split the place into 2 restaurants... downstairs is Village Kitchen still headed up by Village Marquee's Chef Andre Natera. Upstairs is now the Asian fusion place, Toko V.

Toko V
33 Highland Park Village
Dallas, Texas 75205
(214) 522-6035
Price: $$$

I've been wanting to try both places but Toko V a little bit more since the menu seemed more interesting. A friend of mine talked to them Saturday around noon to see if we can make a reservation. He was told that they would take walk-ins not reservations. So our plan was to go check in around 7pm and hang out at the bar until we got a table.

The layout of the place was pretty much the same but the decor inside had been updated. The bar area is still really cool with a nice patio area above the theater. Our semi big group of 8 had turned into 12 by the time we arrived. haha. I was worried that we wouldn't be able to get a table. A few of my friends had arrived earlier and was talking to the hostess. Initially it was sounding like bad news, but by the time we got there, they were prepping a table for us! Apparently a large group cancelled and we took their table. Sweet! Although walking in, I saw plenty of open tables... which they said were reserved. But they told my friend we couldn't reserve? Weird...

Doesn't matter. We got a table! Time to look at the menu. :) I already knew what I wanted tho. hehe

A friend ordered Pork Potstickers (seared pork dumplings with champagne Tozsu sauce) $10~ 
Nice presentation in the steam basket but really? $10 for 4 small dumplings? And he said it was so-so. He'd rather go to Jeng Chi where it's cheaper and better.

Another guy got Fried Beets with Mayo (smoked and fried with Togarashi and Yuzu Wasabi Kewpie mayo) $8~ 
Interesting. Can't say I've ever had fried beets before. I liked the color. And the texture was pretty good too. But it completely lacked seasoning. And there wasn't enough mayo to help it out. :(

Pork Buns (char su braised pork, sriracha aioli, Asian slaw) $14~ It came 3 to an order. They looked pretty good. I didn't get to try it. But my friends didn't seem impressed.

Tuna Tartare (diced tuna, cilantro lychee sauce) $16~ 
My bf and I got this to start. It came with 4 pieces of shrimp chips to eat with. It was very good. The tuna was fresh and the sauce was refreshing. Slightly sweet and tangy. And the shrimp chips added a nice crunch. I also liked the strips of seaweed on top.

One friend got the Snapper Ceviche (crispy amaranth, compressed tomatillo, pickled peppers, chili threads) $16~ 
The portions here aren't very big if you haven't noticed... For the price anyways. The snapper was also very fresh and had great texture. I loved the crispy amaranth with the tender fish. The flavors were light but good. I think she got this as her main dish and it definitely wasn't enough!

Green Curry Bowl (coconut broth, ramen noodles, cilantro, Thai basil) $12~ Add Roasted Pork +$5~ 
This was my main dish. I knew I wanted to try this the moment Toko V opened. I love green curry. And I love ramen, so I'm hoping this would be good! And it was! The portion was pretty good. The roasted pork was super tender. The curry had good flavor, with a slight kick. There were cherry or grape tomatoes in there.. but they were kind of out of place. They didn't soak up any of the broth flavor so it was just like random tomato flavor. haha. Not sure if it was meant to be like that. The ramen was slightly overcooked, but still decent. But it was very rich... a friend of mine ordered it too and it was too creamy and heavy for her to finish. I finished mine though. haha. I really enjoyed it. Although thinking of the final price... $17. I'm not sure it was worth it.

My bf got the Lemon Grass Shortrib (braised short rib, steamed rice, fried egg, soy maple syrup) $17~ 
So did 2 other people at the table. The meat was a good size. But it was slightly dry. The roast pork in my curry was wayyyy better. But eaten as a whole (with the egg and rice and sauce), it was still very good. The sauce was the kicker. It was pretty sweet, just like maple syrup, but it worked! You need to mix everything together for the dish to work. I had my first bite without the sauce and it was just ok. My bf and another friend LOVED the sauce.... they scraped up every last bit. My other friend, though, said her rice was undercooked.

Miso Salmon (mustard Mirin glaze, steamed rice, grilled bok choy) $19~ 
This was a nice big piece of salmon and it was cooked well. I liked the glaze as well. But rice was seriously undercooked. I normally kinda like undercooked rice (for the texture) but this was still gritty. Eh...

One guy ordered the Steak with Wafu Sauce (charred marinated strip steak, Wafu sauce, watercress slaw) $28~ 
He had asked the waiter what would fill him up the most and this was the recommendation. It was tiny! I don't think it should be called "steak" since it was actually small cubes of beef. For $28??!? He was very disappointed. They did throw in a free bowl of rice, but he inhaled it so fast.. and was still hungry after. I'd say skip on this one!

Yellowtail & Super White Tuna Roll (diced spicy yellowtail, tempura flakes, topped with super white tuna, cilantro and sriracha) $13~ Sorry the picture turned out so blurry!!! :( My friend said it was pretty good. But the rolls were really small and it wasn't very filling.

Aside from the terrible steak recommendation, our waiter was great. He was very attentive and accommodating. The water glasses stayed filled and he was friendly the entire night even after I had all these questions and requests. :P

One of my friends wanted to try the Donut Croissants (with Mexican hot chocolate sauce) $8~ "Cronuts"!
They were technically a dessert at Village Kitchen which was downstairs, but the waiter asked and was able to get him an order of it. So he took it to go, and we all went next door for some gelato at Paciugo! haha!

Wasn't the best meal. Very expensive and not too satisfying. Most of my friends left hungry. Although I think me and my bf's choices were the best out of the bunch, so we still enjoyed it. I wouldn't recommend it and I won't be going back. I still wanna try Village Kitchen though. One of my friends went and said it was really good.

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