Just like everywhere else in The usa, it is been tricky for places to eat massive and tiny in the Santa Clarita Valley to survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Newhall Refinery and King Kogy, at the time acclaimed as between the valley’s best locations to dine, equally shut in months of the initially statewide lockdown orders previous spring. Even supposedly invincible franchises like Round Desk Pizza, PizzaRev, and Coco’s in nearby Valencia and Canyon Region have shuttered, at to start with quickly, prior to quietly fading into oblivion. The famous Saugus Cafe, the oldest restaurant in LA and a beloved breakfast location that welcomed whistle-cease teach excursions from presidents a century ago, was compelled to set up a GoFundMe site just to continue being in its 135-calendar year property.
Inspite of all the disappointment, there has been home for some youth and innovation all-around the Santa Clarity Valley. One this kind of scrappy newcomer is Tento, a new outpost for Japanese-Korean road meals in the bustling Canyon Square Plaza, part of the sprawling Canyon State neighborhood in the SCV. Tento joins the latest arrivals like Teriyaki Rice Categorical in nearby Soledad Plaza and Waffle Adore SoCal, developed to serve dessert waffles from inside of a retrofitted previous poke store, as recent arrivals ready to make a neighborhood splash.
Tento, as it occurs, sits in the previous place of the Flame Broiler chain, identified for exceedingly sweet teriyaki hen and enormous rice bowls, although the food stuff now is considerably from mass marketing and advertising. Tento is massively extra aesthetically and flavorfully adventurous, with a sparkly, neon-lit Blade Runner vibe wrapping portions of the restaurant, and a menu that certainly doesn’t participate in it safe.
At just one end, tourist posters from Izumo, huge ukiyo-e wallpaper, and gleaming manga addresses dangle precariously, while the get and prep area in entrance sticks to deep red and searing yellow hues. Obviously, with social distancing polices and indoor eating prohibited for the foreseeable foreseeable future, the bombastic inside right here arrives 2nd to the shockingly clarity of the foodstuff, notably for the Santa Clarita Valley.
Huge, 40-pound luggage of Calrose Shirakiku rice — an critical staple in California’s rice field — and coloration-coded rows of yaki nori line the eating place. These make up a big aspect of Tento’s menu, which hovers practically exclusively in between nine unique types of snacky musubi rice balls and Korean-design and style corndogs. There’s one particular solution for takoyaki and a cooler of ice environmentally friendly tea and other soft drinks, but in any other case which is it. This is refined cafe simplicity, with a pared-down menu and consolation food stuff at the forefront, fantastic for 3rd-occasion apps and seamless shipping and delivery buying for the duration of the pandemic. Of class, it aids that the food items is amazing.
The musubi, each and every the sizing of a baseball, element nori loosely wrapped around fresh Tabasco-spritzed white rice, with scallions, cabbage, and a sweet tamago omelet for crunch. From there, a lineup of fillings includes beef bulgogi with lots of vinegar, or crispy pork cutlets as a spin on common tonkatsu. The typical Spam musubi, by natural means, is also a warm vendor.
Tento’s signature featuring (if these kinds of a thing can be said about a restaurant that only serves variations of two products) is the Korean corndog, which emerges from the kitchen area not as a stiff, bready American concoction but as a thing else completely. Listed here, the proprietary batter might arrive combined with potatoes or sprinkled with breadcrumbs, creating a crunchier and starchier different to the norm. And at $3.75 a pop, these dogs are big, filling, and just assorted ample to continue to be intriguing (trace: check out the exceedingly cheesy all mozzarella selection sometime).
Proprietor Chris Lee, who declined to be interviewed for this tale, is no stranger to crafting a basic menu to large outcome. Lee is also the proprietor of Newhall gem Deep Sea Poke, previously regarded as Poke to Me, a microchain with destinations in the Antelope Valley, Camarillo, and Midvale, Utah. However, the public aid for Tento in its three shorter months has been anything to behold, as term of these intriguing eats and their unseemly parts spread swiftly on social media, especially the local 15-thousand-member “Santa Clarita Foodies” Fb webpage, which holds an amazing volume of sway in the place. Now, throughout a regular lunch hour, traces frequently curl out the door and deep into Canyon Sq. Plaza, pandemic be damned.
Will Lee’s achievements with Tento continue on into the new yr, as outdoor eating commences to return to Southern California? Most likely, although it is well worth noting that this compact, low-cost upstart has however to meaningfully contend against the longtime names in Santa Clarita Valley eating. The accurate upcoming of Tento, like so many eating places, is mysterious, but for now, customers retain coming, delighted to queue up for exceptional corndogs in the usually sleepy Santa Clarita Valley.
Tento is now open at 18519 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91351, keeping several hours from midday to 9 p.m., Monday via Saturday.