This month our sushi group decided to go for something more authentic. We came to “Takumi Sushi” for their “Japanese fine dining”. With our eight person party we were able to try most of the menu, and even went back for doubles of what we liked the most.
The restaurant is simple inside and out. The black awning with its matching sandwich board didn’t have it standing out. No posters pinned, no menu pages taped on the windows, just their logo frosted on the front glass. But like its cuisine, it didn’t need the extras bells and whistles, they had delicious food that stood on its own. Their attentive staff didn’t hurt either. The manager even took care to present our dishes in the best light so that I could take the perfect photo. Everyone was very attentive and extremely accommodating. Exactly as I remembered the locals of Tokyo to be when I visited last February.
Stepping in, the room was fairly dim, each table was spot lit with its own hanging bulb. The focused light against the white tables made for ideal photographic food shots; so long as you go went at it from the right angle, to avoid your own shadow. The room was not over done. A green and white floral pattern dressed a few booth cushions. Evenly spaced out traditional Japanese paintings centred the right hand wall. Majority were of these white faces geishas, with dark black hair, and red ruby lips. And a set of antique wooden fishing poles crossed one another in fitting theme.
The drink bar at the front of the restaurant was left unused. Though I am sure most would prefer to sit by the sushi bar towards the back. There a chef dressed in traditional uniform stood at the ready. Surrounded by showcases of chilled and fresh ingredients he made dishes to order.
The following dishes are in order of when they were served, I am not bothering with the duplicated. We started with miso soup for some. The traditional bowls of miso came with chunks of tofu, seafood, and green onion. Their specialty miso was the “Nameko” miso soup. It’s name came from the miniature nameko mushrooms used.
When there are vegetarians in your party, “Agadashi tofu” is always a safe bet. Vegetarian or not, there is something delicious about these blocks with their well fried crispy coat. Their flavour mostly comes from the light sauce they sit in. So unanimously popular that we had three servings in total.
“Beef tongue robata”, slices of tongue grilled on the barbecue. Cut into halves, you couldn’t tell it was tongue meat if you didn’t already know. Sliced fairly thin, each portion was chewy and easy to eat. The delicious seasoning definitely helped you get over the fact that you were using your tongue to eat another tongue.
The “Tuna Tataki” was really fresh, I could have personally eaten two servings worth myself. Thinly sliced sheets of raw tuna served in a light sauce, and flavoured with garlic.
“Yaki-Nasu”. Fried Japanese eggplant served with ginger and topped with bonito flakes. Our server recommend us to dip each piece in soya sauce, and then enjoy it with a pinch of ground ginger. Japanese eggplant is a little less mushy than the regular variety, I found its texture similar to eating squash.
The “Fusion style tempura” made quite the entrance, being served in a martini glass. These were bites of shrimp, battered then coated with the chef’s special sauce. Being this creamy, I am sure mayo was present in the mix. Each bundle was a bite of cheesy and melty, sweet and tangy all in one. Another dish I would like more of.
This was their “Sushi a la carte” platter, assorted six kinds of nigiri. Here it was presented on the same plate as the extra tuna roll we ordered. Each piece was fresh. Our group of eight did our best to share the plate. It is quite the sight to observe someone attempting to split a nigiri in half with one chopstick. Especially as nigiri is meant to be taken in, in one bite.
“Yaki udon”, pan fried udon with pork and vegetable. Sadly, my shared portion had more large pieces of onion than vegetable or noodle. The noodles served as a good filler. Salty noodles that were fun to slurp.
A customized nigiri platter including two pieces of toro (tuna belly), two of Hamachi (yellow tail), two salmon (wild sockeye), two Saba (mackerel), and a Negi-toro roll. (Chopped toro and green onion roll).
Negi-toro roll, chopped toro and green onion.
I called this the customized unagi (fresh water eel) plate. “Unagi battera”, pressed sushi with fresh water eel, and “unagi nigiri”. The eel and the rice on both were seasoned the same, the presentation and the cuts was where they differed. Smokey barbecue eel slathered in a sweet sauce.
With a visual name like “Rainbow roll”, this roll did not disappoint. An avocado, cucumber, imitation crab, and mayo filled roll, wrapped with assorted seafood. You choose a colour and it adds a new flavour component.
The manager really sold us on this one so we got two order of the “Gyoza”. Their pan fried pork and vegetable dumplings were made in house, and you could tell. Severed piping hot. A chewy shell hiding moist bundles of meat.
I have never met a short rib I didn’t like. “Short rib” marinated rib sauce. Smokey from the grill, with a sweet honey-like flavour.
“Takumi house roll”. I expect a lot from a house roll, especially one that takes one the restaurant’s name. This had plenty, but as a stand out deserving of the brand, maybe not. Salmon, tuna, imitation crab, tamago (scrambled chicken egg), avocado, and mayo; with tobiko (fish eggs).
“Mackerel robata”. Another well grilled barbecue dish. Lightly seasoned, the emphasis was on the fish.
“Abalone nigiri” Not the most appealing looking, or the most filling, but certainly it was worth ordering for its one of a kind taste.
This one our sushi novice guest made up. A custom roll ordered because she likes salmon and likes things spicy. Normally chilli spices are reserved for raw tuna; however this spicy salmon roll, created on a whim, was surprisingly good. They mashed up salmon and seasoned it with their chilli sauce mixture. Then they deep fried the rice at the bottom, to give the sushi the crunch the top half, with salmon, lacked. Packed full of flavour, was like eating a well seasoned salmon on rice or a crisp cracker.
The manager over heard us contemplating dessert. Should we have some here or move the party else where? While we were still humming and ha-ing, as a surprise, they courteously brought us one of each of their three top best selling desserts. Each, simple in display, but all bold in their unique flavours. The “Coffee jelly” was my favourite. Even as a non coffee drinker, or one that doesn’t normally like the taste of coffee, I found this dessert delicious. It had the deep rich taste and aroma of coffee, but without its bitter accompaniment. And with the vanilla ice cream on top, it was like having your coffee with cream.
The “Custard pudding” was served warm. The scoop of vanilla ice cream and the cold berry compote on top quickly melted and melded with the freshly baked dessert. A smooth, lick your spoon kind of dessert.
“Black sesame ice cream” made in house. Despite it looking like wet cement, this was some of the best black sesame ice cream I have ever had. So fresh and fragrant, yet rich and bold. I would like to see it on top of a dessert or beside a complimentary cake.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
They closed at 9:30pm, but so concerned with our enjoyment, they allowed us to stay without pressure. We never once reminded us of the time, nor they did assumptiously present us with the bill. Heck, they presented us with complimentary desserts to have us staying a little after 10pm. The only questionable negative I had was the need to pay 75 cents for each cup of tea, where other like places don’t charge for tea. Something we were not aware of until after we got the bill. However, I made sure to get my money’s worth and drink every last drop out of my very last cup. Don’t deny your cravings.