Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gyutan Tsukasa - Mitsuwa Market Costa Mesa

It took me long enough but finally getting around sharing my meals had at Gyutan Tsukasa. Your grilled beef tongue specialist hailing from Sendai, now conveniently located (permanently) in the food court of your Mitsuwa Market, Costa Mesa as of this April.

The delay was first partly due to simply being behind on posts, but later because of an unexpected turn after a rare opportunity to directly speak to an insider about some of my thoughts. While yelp reviews kicked off favorably, I've felt otherwise and that the product wasn't quite to par with what was served during previous Mitsuwa events as a showcased visitor.

Long story short, these guys have been super receptive and the coolest. Basically they pretty much all but listened to everything I had to say and so my photos here reflect the recent 'better and improved' experiences at GT. So lets start!

First your basic Gyutan Set. $9.80 gets you a plate of juicy beef tongue swiftly grilled over binchotan charcoal, some lovely pickles, barley rice and bowl of gyutan soup broth. Grilled Gyutan OTR (On The Rice...) action shot.

Tsukasa is said to use the more desireable, rearward base portion of the beef tongue called the tan-moto (タンモト). Since my first visits during opening they have either changed "gyosha" suppliers or have instructed them on better quality control. Maybe both, but these were much more tender, juicy and marinated with good flavor than my early visits. A lot happier now, thanks guys.

The soup I think could still be a tad more concentrated but nice. I finished up combining them with dab of wasabi to make a Gyutan Chazuke, yum. :)

I never had a chance to try their donburi bowl which was quickly replaced by their Gyutan Curry early on. At $7.50 a pretty good deal I thought. For whatever it's worth the image shown below is the first to ever come out of their kitchen. As curry test pilot, I'm kinda nerdy proud of the fact, haha (being a huge fan of Japanese Curry).

Anyway, the good was that it was chock full of tender large gyutan pieces, but I thought the rue was much too standard off-the-shelf tasting and lacked depth. While I've never been a huge fan of Miyabi-tei's curry next door, I thought this really wouldn't make an impact to win those over.

So Tsukasa's curry rue since had been said to have made many improvements. I noticed a touch more fruity acidity and maybe an increase in umami from stewed onions (my guess).

Definitely better, though I think it could maybe be kicked up yet another notch. Starting with an even larger quantity of deeply dark, caramelized onions, then some spices to make the flavor still further unique. I don't mind spending an extra buck or even two on something made with more love and good old fashioned elbow grease.

Last is the Tsukasa Set. Priced the same as the Gyutan Set but in place of a few cuts of beef tongue you get instead a Gyutan Stew, Tororo grated mountain yam and small salad. Fyi, a little trivia, this was originally going to be called the 'Lady's Set' according.

The base of the stew is your dark Demi Glace style, something popular in Westernized Yoshoku restaurants in Japan. I enjoyed this as much as my first. Did wish the portion of the stew was a little more. :)

A boxed bento can also be purchased for $7.98 for takeout. It was nice to see the spicy Miso Nanban also available for sale. I could probably put down a few bowls of rice with only it!

There seem to be plans for further menu expansion. Looking forward to them.

Gyutan Tsukasa (inside food court of Mitsuwa Costa Mesa), 665 Paularino Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626


Junichi said...

Damn the beef tongue looks delicious. Wish I had one right now for lunch.

Dennis K. said...

Same here Junichi! If they can keep the quality it's definitely not a bad deal. But man the lighting in this food court is one of the worst for photos, haha.