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Weekend Eats (Toraya, Burlington Mall Food Court Review)


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Located outside of Arlington Center, Toraya is a very, very small sushi restaurant that apparently caters to a huge Japanese clientele. Or so says all the reviews online I could find. My GPS unit took us through Arlington Central and there was no parking to be found. Thinking it'd be the same in front of Toraya, I took the first parking spot available .3 miles away. This was a mistake. Not only was there plenty of parking in front of Toraya, but apparently there's parking in the back too. This will be good to know for next time.

Like I said earlier, Toraya is very small. 3 4-seaters and 3 2-seaters along with 6 or so seats at the sushi bar. We were next in line behind a family of 4 and we stood in the doorway and tried to stay out of the way. After a 20 or so minutes, we were seated slightly before the family because a 2-seater opened up.

While we were waiting I noticed one of the specials was tempura soft shelled crab for only $8.50. That took care of my appetizer. I wasn't really feeling sushi that night, so I went with the Udon noodles, sans chicken because it is still lent. Abby went for the Maki deluxe special as well as some edamame and an extra order of Philly Maki.

My tempura soft shelled crab came out with Abby's edamame and miso soup. The crab was one of the best things I've eaten in a long time. The tempura batter was light (like all tempura batter) and covered the crab just enough to not over power the wonderful delicate meat. Abby devoured her edamame in no time but neither of us really touched the miso soup. (I'm not the biggest fan of miso in general, so it wasn't like the soup was nasty or anything like that.)

My udon noodles were came out and had a very strong mushroom flavor. Inside the soup was a whole egg. I broke the yolk up and mixed it all around. The flavor the yolk gave to the soup was very nice. The noodles were typical udon noodles, thick and lacking of any real flavor other than the broth they laid in. The tempura shrimp were just like like my soft shell crab earlier, perfectly fried in just the right amount of batter. A very good noodle soup.

Abby's sushi came out and they looked great. She thought they were fantastic and just the way she liked it. I tried one of each type and thought the sushi was good to better than good, but nothing ground breaking. My main problem was that the other ingredients took away from the fish. For example the avocado was such big pieces that all I couldn't get over the buttery creamy taste to get the flavor of the eel at all. This could just be me though, because Abby loved every single bite.

Overall, Toraya is a very nice little sushi restaurant. You could do a lot worse. The chef/owner, Mr Toraya, was behind the sushi counter carefully taking his time to slice every piece of fish correctly. He seemed like the type of sushi chef that would gladly trade shots of sake with customers at the bar. Maybe next time we come we can sit and the bar and find out. The prices were pretty good too. However I ordered a coke and when I got a refill I had a feeling that it wasn't free. Sure enough I got charged $1.75 twice for both drinks. I just wish I could have gotten the coke in a larger glass the first time so I wouldn't have needed the refill, but now I know. Toraya gets a 3 and 1/2 out of 5, good and better than average but not exactly great.

Toraya on Urbanspoon

Burlington Mall Food Court

A huge mall that was crazy packed on Saturday, we were in the area and wanted a snack so we decided to go to the mall. It took longer than it should to find parking and walking through the mall to the food court was an adventure all to itself. Once we got to the food court, there was a plethora of choices. I couldn't believe there was a Chick-fil-a! I'm so glad that it was Saturday instead of Sunday so I could get the greatest chicken sandwich ever to grace a mall. Being from Oklahoma, I took Chick-fil-a for granted since they were everywhere. This has to be the only one in New England. Abby, still skipping out on fried food because of lent, went for Appleseed, a healthy crepe joint that had quite a bit of customers waiting in front for their crepe.

While my chicken sandwich was not nearly as healthy as Abby's crepe, it was probably more amazing and fantastic. So crispy and so tender and juicy with just two pickles. God I love chick-fil-a for not changing their main sandwich to include lettuce or tomatoes. Sure you could add them, but why would you. And the waffle fries...if you don't get the polynesian sauce to dip the waffle fries in, then you aren't living life correctly. Sure my meal was probably 15000 calories, but who cares. I'm never in this mall (might have been the 2nd time I've been there in 5 years since moving to Boston) so I had to take advantage of the opportunity. Abby seemed to enjoy her crepe, saying it wasn't that healthy because of the salad dressing, but I know she was jealous of the fried chicken goodness that is Chick-fil-a.

As for the rest of the food court, I guess it's a good selection. No Taco Bell, but they had the typical Chinese and Japanese joints, as well as a Thai and Indian one. So pretty good selection. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Chick-Fil-a on Urbanspoon