Tokyo Table: Stumbling Out the Gate

— by Caroline on Crack

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The other night we had a birthday dinner for Dre at Tokyo Table, a new “casual dining” Japanese restaurant and bar that just opened up last month on Restaurant Row in the old Tony Roma’s space on La Cienega. At first I was intimidated that it would be priced beyond my comfort level since I always assumed restaurants in that area were. The sleek and sophisticated decor inside did nothing to assuage those worries. But it wasn’t until I sat down with our birthday group of six at one of the back tables and looked over the menu that I breathed a sigh of relief. There were items on there that were under $10! Woo!

I wasn’t interested in splitting sushi dishes with the others, being the greedy bastard that I am, so I ordered my own plate of Crispy Chicken with Spicy Soy Sauce ($9.95). At first everything seemed promising. It’s a gorgeous restaurant and there seemed to be a lot of servers for our one table; about four buzzed around us. Our very friendly waitress, Liberty, a spunky Filipina (yay to my peeps!) ran hot and cold with her attentiveness and seemed overly friendly like she was trying to give the best customer service

ever for fear of being killed. “She’s really nice but seems kinda spacey,” my friend Bette said as Liberty mixed up drink orders, repeatedly came back to clarify our orders and then would disappear for long periods of time.

Over the course of our dinner we encountered many problems, all small and annoying, with this new restaurant, which we realize is still trying to find its groove being new and everything, but I’ll list them here anyway:

The Diet Coke used in someone’s Captain and Diet tasted funky for some reason. In all fairness, when this was brought to Liberty’s attention she replaced the offending cocktail with a new one and repeatedly thanked us for telling her about how bad the drink was. “Thanks for bringing it to our attention….” she said three times.

My order of Crispy Chicken took about 15 minutes to arrive after everyone at our table already got their orders. My friends all sat and wouldn’t eat until my dinner came. We asked Liberty if she knew what was going on with it so she said she’d check but then she disappeared for awhile. When she finally returned we asked her again and she said, “They didn’t bring your plate out yet?” and then went to the kitchen to check it out. She immediately returned with hot plate in hand.

Unfortunately it wasn’t worth the wait. Although the spicy soy sauce is part of its name, the dish only came with mere decorative spatters around the pile of crispy chicken chunks. Just as well since I wasn’t crazy about that sauce anyway. The chicken itself was hard to eat with just chopsticks because they weren’t bite-size or easy to bite into and since Liberty wasn’t around when I wanted to request a knife and fork, Bette let me have hers.

One of our diners never got the rice he ordered.

My tasty-sweet Rum Brule cocktail which consisted of dark rum and Godiva liqueur ($9) was supposed to come dressed with espresso sugar on its rim but instead I got a naked rim. (Liberty ended up comping this for me since I had to wait so long to get my dinner.)

A couple of the guys at our table ordered steak which was served on a hot plate with the butter splattering and meat sizzling. But since they wouldn’t start eating until my order arrived, their steaks ended up getting overcooked.

Our checks took forever and a day to get. We sat and waited around at a nearly cleared table twiddling our thumbs and passing the time away filling out the customer survey Liberty kept asking us to do. For mine I just wrote, “Go to for review.”

And although the lot in the back says $4.50 to park, I didn’t know until I drove up to the gate to pay that I could have validated my ticket and saved $2. No one in the restaurant told me I could validate my ticket. Bah!

I wouldn’t exactly call Tokyo Table one of the Places I’ll Never Show My Face in Again since it’s still so new. It’s so Tokyo metro purty inside with hardwood surfaces and paper lanterned chandeliers, and I do like the prices as well as the variety of cocktails (ooh! vodka sodas) on its menu. Love them specialty cocktails. It would be a nice place to grab some drinks with friends if you’re in Beverly Hills or are in the mood for a cocktail with Nippon flair. I’d come back for that full bar alone. But I suggest checking back with them in a couple of months to see if they took all those negative customer surveys to heart.

50 N. La Cienega Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90211
(310) 657-9500