South Bay: Tanto

One of my favorite...no, let me start over.  My current favorite Japanese restaurant is Tanto in Sunnyvale:


For a recent discovery, I've been back 3 times already in the last few months.  Since I'm so ridiculously behind in my posts (I'm still in October 2012, uuuuugh...shoot me), I'm going to lump all my Tanto visits into 1 post instead of doing 3 separate ones.

The first time we went to Tanto was to celebrate my ahyi's birthday.  We didn't have reservations, so we arrived right as they opened to avoid possibly having to wait:


I pulled a fast one on my ahyi when I slipped my credit card to the hostess on my way to the bathroom.  Confident in my victory, I was unafraid to order whatever we wanted to eat.  The menu was a little scary to wade through, but our server was kind enough to give us some recommendations.

As I've said before, my mom is a noodle maniac, so it's no surprise that she was interested in trying the yaki udon or stir fried udon:


Kinda meh, but that may be because I was too dazzled by some of the other dishes.

The sashimi salad was recommended by our server:


Love the salad dressing, whatever it was.  Also love how they don't skimp on the sashimi.

Tanto is well known for it yagi onigiri or roasted rice balls:


The rice balls are stuffed with spicy rod roe:


Those are some crack rice balls.  I can't get enough of them.  Every person needs their own.  NO SHARING.  Trust me.

The agedashi tofu was kind of lackluster:


Skip it for more exciting dishes such as the asari butter yaki or stir fried clams with butter:


I would love to bottle that soup and drink it every day.

The beinasu miso cheese yaki or eggplant cooked with cheese and miso was a complete miss:


The concept was appealing, but the actual dish was swimming in oil.  Not cool.

The ebi shinjo or deep fried shrimp balls was recommended by our server, but it wasn't my favorite:


The garlic steak on the other hand, was brilliant:


Just look at that red center.  Yum.

My mom wasn't satisfied with just 1 noodle dish, so we added the fried noodles:



It was good, but I wouldn't order it a second time.  I can get fried noodles at just about any Chinese restaurant, no need to take up precious stomach space with it at Tanto.

To end the meal, we got the yaki banana or baked banana with vanilla ice cream as dessert:


Though the meal was amazing (with a few minor misses), the best part was seeing the shock on my ahyi's face when she realized that I won.  MUAHAHA!!

Ahyi wanted revenge, so the two of us went back again.  This time, we sat in a small one-sided booth that reminded me of a confessional.  Not that I've ever been in one, but you know what I mean.

We got the yagi onigiri again (how could we resist?), but for everything else, we wanted to try something new.  Like the ika maruyaki or salt broiled squid:


And the gindara nitsuke or black cod simmered in soy sauce broth:


Wow.  Just wow.

The tako potato or deep fried potato balls filled with octopus were amazing too:



The gyu ishiyaki or beef in a hot stone bowl probably would've been better if we didn't leave it until last:


By the time we got to it, the beef was well done.  Sigh.

We finished off with the hiyashi shiratama zenzai or ice cream with red bean paste and rice cakes:


I wish there were more rice cakes.

Ahyi got the bill that time, but I conceded graciously.

The third time I went to Tanto was to celebrate my dad's birthday.  My sister was back for Thanksgiving, so I was able to introduce her to Tanto too.

We ordered a lot of repeats so that my dad and my sister could try all the good stuff, such as the yagi onigiri and the butter clams.

Since nobody else liked uni, the hotate butter uni nose was split between my sister and I:


The scallops were cooked in butter and topped with sea urchin and roe.  The juices from the uni and scallops made the bed of rice super fragrant and delicious.  I could have eaten one by myself.

The anago tamagotoji or eel simmered with egg was another new dish:


My dad enjoyed it so much that he tried to recreate it at home.

I wanted to capture the tai yakimeshi or fried rice cooked with red snapper in all its glory, but before I could snap a photo, the server started mashing everything up:


He did, however,  place the snapper head aside first:



The fried rice came with a teapot of snapper broth that you're supposed to pour over the rice:


Why is it so goooooood?

I'm in love.  Almost everything I've had at Tanto so far has been pretty damn fantastic.  But Tanto has a crazy extensive menu and I've barely made a dent in it.  I'm not sure it's even possible to try everything after a dozen visits.

...

Challenged accepted.

...

Wait...did I just challenge myself and accept my own challenge?

Yes, yes I did.


Tanto
1063 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
(408) 244-7311

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