You've may have hot pots before. Orange County has a menagerie of them, from nearly every country in Asia you can name. But have you had the one from Japan that feeds its sumo wrestlers? It's called chanko nabe, and it's essentially a stew of sorts, filled with all manner of lean protein and fistfuls of vegetables, all roiling and sputtering over a lit stove set up at the table.
Torizo—a barely-there slip of a restaurant that opened about a month ago in Fountain Valley—does the dish as its specialty and does it so well, it would stand out even if the county was full of other chanko nabe specialists. Its soup is pure, unadulterated chicken broth; the vegetable plentiful; but oh, those proteins! There are chunks of chicken and pork, sliced, black pork sausage, shumai, shrimp, scallop, octopus, kuzukiri, and the best of them all: two kinds of homemade chicken meatball called tsukune, one of which has the refreshing citrusy flavor of yuzu that made me wish I could have either a whole entire pot of it with nothing else, or the recipe.
And once you've fished out all the goodies from the pot, the exceedingly friendly owner—who bows when you enter and holds the door open when you leave—will offer either ramen or a grilled onigiri rice ball to cap off your meal.
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As of this writing, the chanko at Torizo is $26.99, but one order is usually enough for two normal humans...or one medium-sized wrestler.
17900 Magnolia Street #A, Fountain Valley, (714)377-0300
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