Just like everywhere else in The us, it’s been really hard for eating places huge and small in the Santa Clarita Valley to survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Newhall Refinery and King Kogy, after acclaimed as amongst the valley’s best spots to dine, both equally closed within months of the first statewide lockdown orders final spring. Even supposedly invincible franchises like Round Desk Pizza, PizzaRev, and Coco’s in nearby Valencia and Canyon Country have shuttered, at first quickly, before quietly fading into oblivion. The famous Saugus Cafe, the oldest restaurant in LA and a beloved breakfast spot that welcomed whistle-stop coach excursions from presidents a century back, was compelled to put up a GoFundMe website page just to continue to be in its 135-calendar year dwelling.
Despite all the unhappiness, there has been place for some youth and innovation about the Santa Clarity Valley. A single such scrappy newcomer is Tento, a new outpost for Japanese-Korean avenue food items in the bustling Canyon Sq. Plaza, element of the sprawling Canyon Region community in the SCV. Tento joins modern arrivals like Teriyaki Rice Specific in close by Soledad Plaza and Waffle Adore SoCal, developed to provide dessert waffles from within a retrofitted former poke store, as modern arrivals inclined to make a nearby splash.
Tento, as it comes about, sits in the previous area of the Flame Broiler chain, recognized for exceedingly sweet teriyaki rooster and significant rice bowls, even though the food stuff now is far from mass marketing and advertising. Tento is massively a lot more aesthetically and flavorfully adventurous, with a sparkly, neon-lit Blade Runner vibe wrapping parts of the restaurant, and a menu that definitely doesn’t perform it secure.
At a person conclusion, tourist posters from Izumo, huge ukiyo-e wallpaper, and gleaming manga covers dangle precariously, while the purchase and prep area in entrance sticks to deep pink and searing yellow hues. In a natural way, with social distancing polices and indoor eating prohibited for the foreseeable long term, the bombastic inside right here comes 2nd to the remarkably clarity of the food, notably for the Santa Clarita Valley.
Huge, 40-pound baggage of Calrose Shirakiku rice — an critical staple in California’s rice market — and shade-coded rows of yaki nori line the dining location. These make up a significant component of Tento’s menu, which hovers nearly solely amongst 9 diverse models of snacky musubi rice balls and Korean-design and style corndogs. There is a person possibility for takoyaki and a cooler of ice environmentally friendly tea and other smooth drinks, but usually which is it. This is refined restaurant simplicity, with a pared-down menu and ease and comfort food at the forefront, perfect for third-celebration apps and seamless shipping buying during the pandemic. Of program, it allows that the food items is superb.
The musubi, each and every the size of a baseball, element nori loosely wrapped all-around clean Tabasco-spritzed white rice, with scallions, cabbage, and a sweet tamago omelet for crunch. From there, a lineup of fillings features beef bulgogi with heaps of vinegar, or crispy pork cutlets as a spin on conventional tonkatsu. The classic Spam musubi, in a natural way, is also a incredibly hot vendor.
Tento’s signature providing (if this kind of a detail can be said about a restaurant that only serves variants of two things) is the Korean corndog, which emerges from the kitchen not as a stiff, bready American concoction but as a little something else completely. Below, the proprietary batter may well occur mixed with potatoes or sprinkled with breadcrumbs, producing a crunchier and starchier substitute to the norm. And at $3.75 a pop, these canines are large, filling, and just various adequate to stay attention-grabbing (hint: consider the exceedingly tacky all mozzarella option someday).
Proprietor Chris Lee, who declined to be interviewed for this story, is no stranger to crafting a basic menu to significant result. Lee is also the operator of Newhall gem Deep Sea Poke, previously identified as Poke to Me, a microchain with destinations in the Antelope Valley, Camarillo, and Midvale, Utah. Continue to, the public guidance for Tento in its a few quick months has been a little something to behold, as term of these intriguing eats and their unseemly portions spread speedily on social media, specifically the local 15-thousand-member “Santa Clarita Foodies” Facebook site, which holds an extraordinary quantity of sway in the place. Now, during a usual lunch hour, traces frequently curl out the doorway and deep into Canyon Sq. Plaza, pandemic be damned.
Will Lee’s results with Tento continue on into the new calendar year, as outside eating begins to return to Southern California? Probably, nevertheless it’s worthy of noting that this modest, reasonably priced upstart has nevertheless to meaningfully contend in opposition to the longtime names in Santa Clarita Valley dining. The genuine potential of Tento, like so quite a few places to eat, is unfamiliar, but for now, customers maintain coming, delighted to queue up for distinctive corndogs in the often sleepy Santa Clarita Valley.
Tento is now open up at 18519 Soledad Canyon Rd., Santa Clarita, CA 91351, maintaining several hours from midday to 9 p.m., Monday by means of Saturday.