When I walked into Ototo a couple weeks ago, I was hoping beyond hope to see egg in a jar on the menu. The decadent combination of truffle whipped potatoes, caviar, and poached egg was one of the hallmark dishes of the original Ototo, which quietly closed nearly four years ago. But I should have known that the appetizer wouldn’t reappear because although the restaurant has the same name and sits in the same location, Ototo 2.0 is a wholly new experience.
The menu, which runs from oysters and shumai to grilled short ribs and ramen, is extensive. But what owner Toshi Kizaki did differently this time is this: He made Ototo its own entity instead of an extension of Sushi Den or Izakaya Den. Yes, the restaurant serves Japanese food and the experience is designed around sharing, but aside from a sashimi platter, the crispy tuna, and a couple other dishes, there is little overlap. Diners will flock to Ototo because it’s Ototo.
I like the communal aspect of the space, the warm woods, the din of conversation, and the constant rotation of dishes as they arrive to the table full and leave empty. Of the many items I’ve tried, the ones that will bring me back soon are the grilled whole squid, ichiya-boshi (grilled seasonal dried fish; I had mackerel), and buta kimuchi (pork with kimchi)—all balanced out by the clean and unadulterated flavors of the sashimi platter.
1501 S. Pearl St., 303-733-2503