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my mind to work out when I could visit Tomodachi in Westlake Village.
It was last Saturday and I agreed to hang out with my nephew, who will now be known on Woo!Food as The Original "P". I picked him up from his house in Temple City and we started driving to Westlake Village at 1800. I didn't tell him where we were going and it wasn't until Tarzana that he asked me where I was taking him. Hehehheh.
About one and a half hours after we left his house, "P" and I arrived at Tomodachi. Walking into the restaurant, it was thriving, which made me happy. We connected with "TH" and he sat us at a two-top in a secluded corner.
The interior of Tomodachi was decorated tastefully. Behind the sushi bar there was a school of sardines made of something like hammered metal. They were all headed in the same direction except for a trio on the left - intriguing to say the least.
Although "TH" brought us menus, "P" and I decided to let him bring us whatever he thought was good, so we ended up experiencing a kind of omakase this evening.
What I ate:
"P" and I started our meal with complimentary steamed edamame. Then we shared the following ...
1. Crispy Fried Calamari (9 USD): Calamari lightly deep-fried with lemon juice. The calamari were ethereally battered and seasoned to perfection. Unfortunately, they were overcooked, which resulted in a rubbery texture. In spite of the error, I still enjoyed this dish.
2. Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño (18 USD): Yellowtail sashimi with thin sliced jalapeño and cilantro with Japanese yuzu sauce. "TH" said this was a popular appetizer at the restaurant. I enjoyed it, yet I thought that the spiciness of the jalapeño and the other elements on the plate - sauce and cilantro - tended to dominate the fish.
3. Albacore Delight (13.50 USD): Albacore with snow crab meat inside & albacore outside, served with garlic ponzu sauce. This was my favorite sushi of the night. I found the flavors to be well balanced: the chef deftly restrained the garlic. If I were forced to criticize this dish, I would say that it was a touch too salty for me. (I think you can see in the photo that our female server might have spilled some sauce from the plate.)
4. Tomodachi Roll (15 USD): Shrimp tempura and snow crab meat inside & spicy tuna with avocado outside, served with sesame flavored sauce. I love tempura in makizushi so this roll could pretty much do no wrong. I thought the spicy tuna was a superior preparation. The tuna retained its integrity and it left a pleasant, lingering heat in my mouth.
5. Miso Soup (2 USD). My nephew "P" needs miso soup whenever he eats sushi.
6. Alaskan Roll (14.50 USD): Spicy tuna, shrimp, cucumber, and avocado inside & salmon outside, served with sesame flavored sauce. I thought the salmon on the outside of the roll was top-notch - nicely oily. By the time I dug in on this plate, I was so full!
7. Fried Green Tea Ice Cream: Green tea ice cream and cake dipped in tempura batter, deep-fried, and served with chocolate sauce drizzled over the top. Wow, I totally did not expect this from "TH": he went above and beyond for "P" and I. This dessert was a guilty pleasure, analogous to eating battered & deep-fried chocolate-covered bacon. I could've done without the doily on the plate, however. Once everything melted, it was dfficult to avoid chewing on paper as I scooped up every last bit of ice cream.
I was impressed by the quality of the ingredients at Tomodachi. The foundation of great cuisine is based in the kind of ingredients you can procure - always strive for the best. I believe Tomodachi understands this tenet.
Service was good. "TH" took care of "P" and I really well, even though he was quite busy. We also interacted with the two other servers working the room: they were friendly and pleasant. For most of our meal, the servers didn't know that I was "TH"s guest; therefore, their demeanor must have been unaffected. I liked that the servers matched in nice attire - dress shirts and ties. It contributed to making a classy atmosphere.
Next time, I must try the nigiri.
Parking: Tomodachi is located on the south side of the Westlake Plaza and Center, facing Agoura Road. In addition to plentiful parking your vehicle will be in good company - Ferraris and the like.
The Bill: 75.78 USD. My friend "TH" graciously comped us 25.78 USD on the bill and comped our miso soup and dessert, so "P" and I only had to pay 50 USD. Thanks "TH" and family for a superb experience :)
My Rating: out of four stars (good to very good). Open for lunch and dinner every day. Monday through Thursday, lunch is from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and dinner is from 5 PM to 9:30 PM. On Friday, lunch is from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and dinner is from 5 PM to 10 PM. On Saturday, the restaurant is open from 11:30 AM to 10 PM. On Sunday, the hours are 11:30 AM to 9 PM. Credit cards accepted. www.sushi-tomodachi.com
Last Word: Going on a daytrip out towards Ventura? Sitting around at home, doing nothing? In either case, go ahead and enjoy a friendly meal at Tomodachi :)
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