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Guest blogger Craig Martin reviews Toro Japanese & Chinese Cuisine in Carmel

Guest blogger Craig Martin reviews Toro Japanese & Chinese Cuisine in Carmel

There’s something about a good piece of sushi that just hits the spot. Instead of heading over to Gaetano’s, my friends and I were craving some sushi, so we headed to chow down at Toro of Carmel.

Toro is located across from Lake Gleneida, just a quick drive south of the intersection between Routes 6 and 52. With its lakeside view, the restaurant offers a pleasant atmosphere if you want to enjoy dinner and drink hot sake while watching the sunset.

There are roughly 20 tables and booths in the main dining area. At the front entrance, you can also stop by the sushi bar where you can watch the chefs slice and dice the fish. It’s a small bar area, but a cozy spot to enjoy a quick bite and a beer on the commute from work.

When I eat at Toro, it’s usually for sushi and sashimi. Occasionally, I’ll have a Tsing Tao or a Sapporo instead of hot sake or a soda.

The menu has a variety of house specialties – primarily Chinese takeout food – as well as a mix of Japanese and Chinese dishes, such as Peking duck, miso soup, California rolls and a variety of sushi platters. You can view the full menu online.

On this visit, I wanted to try the wonton soup and I was pleasantly surprised. The wontons appear more like pork dumplings with a translucent wrapper rather than the stereotypical yellow-shelled wontons from takeout restaurants. I forgot to take a picture – the soup was incredibly tasty and I couldn’t put it down.

Along with the hot sake, I decided to try one of the popular sushi dishes, the Red Tiger Roll. I also ordered one of my favorites: octopus.

Red Tiger Roll at Toro

Red Tiger Roll at Toro

Wow.. the light syrup on top just complements the flavor of the octopus and makes this sushi so delicious; my buddy tried it a year ago and now orders octopus every time!

The Red Tiger rolls are a mix of spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, so it hits your taste buds with the mix of different textures and flavors. Although I’m not fond of the drizzle on top – which tasted a lot like Thousand Island dressing – the thin layers of salmon, tuna and avocado were delicious, plus the tempura pieces added a nice crunchy element to each bite.

So when you get the craving for sake, wonton soup or Peking duck, take a drive on Route 6 and look out for Toro in Carmel. And if you haven’t had it before, try the octopus sushi.. you’ll be glad that you did.

Craig Martin is an experienced journalist, a freelance writer, a pizza connoisseur and can make really good mac n’ cheese without using powdered orange stuff. You can find him onTwitter @CMBizWriting on Google+.

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