Just like almost everywhere else in The united states, it is been difficult for dining establishments massive and smaller in the Santa Clarita Valley to endure the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Newhall Refinery and King Kogy, when acclaimed as amid the valley’s very best sites to dine, equally closed within months of the initially statewide lockdown orders last spring. Even supposedly invincible franchises like Spherical Table Pizza, PizzaRev, and Coco’s in close by Valencia and Canyon Place have shuttered, at very first temporarily, ahead of quietly fading into oblivion. The famous Saugus Cafe, the oldest cafe in LA and a beloved breakfast spot that welcomed whistle-halt teach excursions from presidents a century in the past, was forced to set up a GoFundMe page just to stay in its 135-12 months property.
Despite all the disappointment, there has been place for some youth and innovation close to the Santa Clarity Valley. One particular these kinds of scrappy newcomer is Tento, a new outpost for Japanese-Korean street foods in the bustling Canyon Sq. Plaza, portion of the sprawling Canyon State neighborhood in the SCV. Tento joins latest arrivals like Teriyaki Rice Categorical in nearby Soledad Plaza and Waffle Really like SoCal, crafted to provide dessert waffles from inside of a retrofitted previous poke shop, as modern arrivals prepared to make a local splash.
Tento, as it transpires, sits in the previous place of the Flame Broiler chain, recognised for exceedingly sweet teriyaki rooster and significant rice bowls, nevertheless the food items now is much from mass advertising. Tento is massively far more aesthetically and flavorfully adventurous, with a sparkly, neon-lit Blade Runner vibe wrapping portions of the restaurant, and a menu that undoubtedly doesn’t enjoy it safe.
At one particular conclusion, tourist posters from Izumo, substantial ukiyo-e wallpaper, and gleaming manga covers dangle precariously, although the order and prep space in front sticks to deep crimson and searing yellow hues. Naturally, with social distancing restrictions and indoor eating prohibited for the foreseeable foreseeable future, the bombastic interior right here arrives second to the incredibly clarity of the foodstuff, specifically for the Santa Clarita Valley.
Giant, 40-pound baggage of Calrose Shirakiku rice — an vital staple in California’s rice sector — and colour-coded rows of yaki nori line the dining region. These make up a huge component of Tento’s menu, which hovers almost solely in between nine distinct types of snacky musubi rice balls and Korean-fashion corndogs. There is one particular selection for takoyaki and a cooler of ice green tea and other delicate beverages, 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, excellent for 3rd-get together apps and seamless shipping and delivery buying through the pandemic. Of system, it can help that the food items is amazing.
The musubi, just about every the dimensions of a baseball, aspect nori loosely wrapped all over new Tabasco-spritzed white rice, with scallions, cabbage, and a sweet tamago omelet for crunch. From there, a lineup of fillings features beef bulgogi with plenty of vinegar, or crispy pork cutlets as a spin on classic tonkatsu. The traditional Spam musubi, in a natural way, is also a scorching seller.
Tento’s signature presenting (if this sort of a factor can be explained about a cafe that only serves variants of two products) is the Korean corndog, which emerges from the kitchen not as a stiff, bready American concoction but as some thing else solely. Right here, the proprietary batter could possibly occur mixed with potatoes or sprinkled with breadcrumbs, making a crunchier and starchier alternative to the norm. And at $3.75 a pop, these canine are huge, filling, and just assorted ample to keep interesting (trace: test the exceedingly cheesy all mozzarella alternative someday).
Operator Chris Lee, who declined to be interviewed for this tale, is no stranger to crafting a simple menu to massive result. Lee is also the owner of Newhall gem Deep Sea Poke, previously regarded as Poke to Me, a microchain with locations in the Antelope Valley, Camarillo, and Midvale, Utah. Nonetheless, the community aid for Tento in its a few quick months has been some thing to behold, as term of these intriguing eats and their unseemly portions spread quickly on social media, significantly the regional 15-thousand-member “Santa Clarita Foodies” Fb website page, which retains an amazing total of sway in the region. Now, during a usual lunch hour, traces commonly curl out the doorway and deep into Canyon Sq. Plaza, pandemic be damned.
Will Lee’s results with Tento carry on into the new calendar year, as outside dining commences to return to Southern California? Possibly, nevertheless it is worth noting that this smaller, reasonably priced upstart has nonetheless to meaningfully compete versus the longtime names in Santa Clarita Valley eating. The accurate future of Tento, like so numerous dining places, is mysterious, but for now, customers hold coming, pleased to queue up for exclusive corndogs in the frequently sleepy Santa Clarita Valley.
Tento is now open at 18519 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91351, trying to keep several hours from midday to 9 p.m., Monday by way of Saturday.