The South Bay’s very own robatayaki restaurant, Iroriya, is tucked away in a corner of the Lawrence Station Shopping Center, discretely located next door to the ever-so-popular Orenchi Ramen. It’s no surprise that the two eateries share the same owner, with its carefully crafted and delicious dishes, it takes the Bay Area residents a step closer to authentic Japanese cuisine.
I made a dinner reservation to take my friend out for her birthday and boy were we in for a treat! The night of October 8th also happened to be Iroriya’s second anniversary and we had the best seats in the house to watch a quick taiko drum performance and two chefs filleting a whole bonito. The bonito was seared over the robata grill and served with thinly sliced onions, garlic, carrots and scallions drizzled in ponzu sauce. The different textures and flavors in every bite was amazing, along with its colorful presentation.
We ended up indulging ourselves in everything our stomachs desired including: sun-dried and grilled fish, grilled potato with butter and shiokara (fermented squid), assorted sashimi, miso marinated black cod, homemade tofu with wasabi, citrus and matcha salt, agedashi tofu, seasonal kamameshi (topped with grilled eel and roasted green tea broth) and soba pudding. There was nothing in our order that I wouldn’t try again, every dish was a flavorful adventure.
The staff at Iroriya were all very friendly, helpful and attentive, I felt so welcomed to be in the restaurant the overall dining experience was perfect. I know that many people complain about the size of their dish or the hefty price, but I’d like to add that Iroriya isn’t your average restaurant. Patrons come here to experience their seasonal menus with a purpose of appreciating each dish through their presentation and flavors. I am not exaggerating when I say that food is also an experience, not just fuel for your body.
To top off our whole experience, they turned off the lights in the building to bring out our soba pudding (trust me, it was gooood) hidden under a cone of caramelized sugar with a candle. We were so surprised by this sweet gesture, as we had briefly mentioned that we were there to celebrate a birthday earlier that evening.