This post is a monumental milestone in the history of Extra Rice: it’s our first soft opening! Today, I was lucky enough to find Tori Box, a Japanese-themed “Cutlet Specialist” establishment, located on the second floor of the One Archer’s Building, right next to Manang’s Chicken. With a slick interior and a promising menu, I was excited to see what my first newborn establishment had in store for me 🙂
- Chips Trio – P65
- Karaage and Rice – P95
- Karaage and Fries – P75
- Rice – P20
As one of the newest buildings being raised in Taft Ave., One Archer’s has had the privilege of starting new with all of their eating establishments, who have all risen to the occasion and produced some wonderful restaurant designs. Tori Box is no different. Their quiet and cozy room contains about 8 four-top tables, providing seating for 30 people comfortably. Not surprisingly, the restaurant is spotless, and is given a relaxed ambience with a mix of chalkboard writings and glass or poster text on the walls. It is a metro design that feels like a modern Japanese restaurant. It is given an enlarged feeling with the intelligent use and placement of mirrors, and is just a comfortable place to be.
As it is a soft opening, Tori Box has a small menu that focuses on Chicken Karaage with a combination of side dishes. Among the choices were Mojos, Fries, Chips, and Rice. They also serve five different kinds of flavor powders with it, similar to Potato Corner’s style of flavoring fries. The flavor choices include BBQ, Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, Nori, and Italian Cheese. We went with all the sides and the Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, and Italian Cheese. Although I should say that Nori is a fascinating one, and I should be sure to try that one next time.
If you have ever had seasoned fries, imagine the deliciously salty satisfying experience that comes from the powder that is shaken and sprinkled on top. Now imagine that on crispy and juicy fried chicken nuggets. That’s about the best I can do to describe Tori Box’s flavored Karaage. It is a fantastically hedonistic experience that tops any Fun Shots or Hot Shots I’ve ever had.
Next to the awesome chicken is the sides, which range from potato to rice. That may not sound like a great start, but trust me, it gets better. The mojos are thick discs of deep fried potato that have a crispy exterior that masks a tender, sink-your-teeth-into potato heaven. The fries range in thickness, from the log-like cuts that seem like lengthwise mojos, to the money fries that are thin, crisp, and packed with flavor. Last of the potato sides are the chips, which are surprisingly well done for the homemade variety. All in all, the potatoes are packed, both with flavor and win. The rice, however, is probably the only downfall of Tori Box at this point. It is a minuscule serving of grains, and costs a whopping P20 to add another minuscule serving of grains. Still, it’s only one misstep in their journey of greatness, so I’ll let it slide.
On top of all of the flavor and fun, Tori Box also has a very creative way of presenting their food. They serve their non-rice meals in the most adorable paper bag with a long barbecue skewer, giving you quick food to go without having to get your hands messy. It is an extremely simple, yet ingenious design. How fitting for a Japanese restaurant.
All in all, I have literally nothing so far that I didn’t enjoy putting in my mouth at Tori Box, both in terms of flavor and texture. They are also fairly priced, with none of the meals going over P100 as of yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if I made this my regular hangout over the next few weeks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t hang out there anymore because so many other people have decided to do so as well. My advice: eat here early, and get it while it’s new 🙂
Restaurant: Very good. They have a knack for making 30 people comfortable in a small space, and take their limited size in stride, making it feel relaxed and pleasant rather than packing students in. I am very happy with the furniture, as everything seems to complement something else. Rating for the restaurant: 8.5/10.
Food: I can’t yet make a very informed decision, as the menu that was made available to me for this trip was quite limited. However, the taste that I was fortunate enough to get was a real eye-opener. It may not taste like the karaage that I’m used to in other Japanese restaurants, but the presentation and flavor range that Tori Box provides is outstanding. Rating for the food: 8/10.
Staff: I recently took out our staff rating because I felt that it was getting a bit stale to talk about the same experience over and over. Tori Box, however, tell a different story of their manpower. The staff are pleasant, well-mannered, and happy to work. Let’s hope they can keep it up for the foreseeable future. Rating for the staff: 8/10.
They may just have opened, but Tori Box certainly knows how to impress right off the bat. I assume this will be one of the hot spots to eat in Taft by the end of this week or the next, and on the lips of all those who want to be the first to brag about trying a great new eatery in La Salle. Even for a soft opening, I was greatly impressed with what Tori Box has shown, and I will certainly be back for another review, once their tonkatsu and other menu items are operating at full force. Also, since it is located right next to Manang’s in One Archer’s, it will be interesting to see how the two stack up.
For those who want deliciously flavored crunchy chicken and fried potatoes any which way, Tori Box is the place to be. When their menu expands, who knows? They may just become a new standard for fried deliciousness in DLSU Taft. They don’t have any website or Facebook exposure as of yet, but when you get there, tell them Extra Rice sent you!
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