One of the things I was looking forward to the most about our trip to Tokyo was meeting up with my Aunt Yuko’s brother, Tomo. The first and only time I had met Tomo previously was at my aunt and uncle’s wedding several years ago. When he and my aunt found out that Jenkins and I were going to Tokyo, they offered to treat us to dinner at their family friends’ restaurant, Daimon Takezushi. I was a bit nervous about my ability to write an objective review as a result but my aunt assured me I was free to write whatever I wanted. With that out of the way, I was really looking forward to our dinner with Tomo!
Daimon Takezushi is located in the Minato neighborhood of Tokyo, near Tokyo Tower.
When Jenkins and I arrived, Tomo wasn’t there yet but there were 3 spots reserved for us right at the sushi bar. We were presented with some warm towels to freshen up and some green tea.
Once Tomo arrived, we chatted for a bit and drank some sake before the food started arriving fast and furious. Our meal for the evening was omakase style, with our sushi chef, Chef Sawada, having personally selected all the ingredients that morning at Tsukiji. It’s really hard to get any fresher! Tomo acted as our interpreter and helped explain what some of the dishes were. First up was some fish liver, which Jenkins and I likened to a Japanese seafood version of fois gras. The flavour was mild and accented by the crunch of some flaky sea salt. It wasn’t fishy at all and I think this would have gone great with some crackers as well.
Next came some steamed mini crab, that was served in its shell. The crab meat was delicate and sweet. We drizzled some fresh lime on the crab as well as the crunchy crab roe. The roe wasn’t fishy at all and had a slightly salty flavour from the sea, which contrasted with the lime juice.
We also had some braised leeks which went really well with a small pile of shaved bonito flakes.
Then came a small assorted sashimi plate. The seafood was all very fresh and you could really taste it in each bite. As I mentioned in my Sushi Dai post, hamachi was in season and the hamachi sashimi we had at Takezushi was delicious. I also enjoyed the fresh needle fish (white fish on the left in the middle) which had a firm texture and went really well with a special dip of ginger, chives, and soy.
After we finished our sashimi, Chef Sawada gave us a grilled skewer with the skin from the needle fish wrapped around it.
Next came a gently grilled flatfish, which was cooked in what I thought was a light mirin and soy broth. I had never had flatfish before but I really liked the buttery, fatty fish which went really well with the slightly sweet sauce. Jenkins and I both remarked that this would have been fantastic with some Japanese rice.
After we were finished with our flatfish, the nigiri started coming. First up was some ika. It came sprinkled with some sea salt so we only dabbed a little bit of freshly grated wasabi and soy sauce. The ika was slightly sweet and not rubbery at all. As usual in our Tokyo trip, it came perched on some perfectly made sushi rice.
Then came the saba, which was perfectly cut and tasted delicious without a hint of fishiness at all. It tasted nothing like the saba we have had in North America and I think it was definitely in part due to its freshness.
The aji (horse mackerel) came with some grated ginger and chives, which balanced the fattiness of the fish. We were instructed by Chef Sawada not to use any soy in this one and it was an excellent recommendation. Compared to saba, I definitely prefer the aji variety of mackerel more.
The star of our dinner was definitely the kinme tai (golden eye snapper), which was lightly seared with a blowtorch before being served. Tomo exclaimed that it was delicious after eating it and Jenkins and I agreed with him…proclaiming it being oishi to Chef Sawada. It tasted completely different from the snapper in Vancouver and was very flavourful and fatty with a slight seared flavour. In fact, Chef Sawada saw that we all enjoyed the kinme tai so much that he offered us all another piece at the end of the meal, which we all gratefully accepted. Tomo explained to us that kinme tai comes from a special region of Japan, near Tokyo and is one of the rarer varieties of snapper but definitely one of the most delicious.
To cleanse our palates after the nigiri, we were presented with a hot bowl of clear clam soup. The clam itself was juicy and sweet, thereby nicely flavouring the broth. This was a simply made broth but done very well. Jenkins laughed at me when I said it tasted like the sea but I really think it did!
Finally, our meal was coming to a close and after we polished our last piece of kinme tai, we were presented with some fresh, sweet kumquats. It was a simple but perfect way to end our fantastic dinner.
Jenkins and I had a terrific time chatting with Tomo about our trip so far as well as our meal. He was also a great translator for us and Chef Sawada and his family. Although I was a bit nervous about the meal, I was really happy that I enjoyed the food so much and that I was able to write a positive review about my great experience! This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip and one of the best meals I’ve ever had, in part due to our unique dining experience. The next time I am in Tokyo, I will definitely make Daimon Takezushi a part of our itinerary. Note that since Tomo treated us, I’m not sure how much our meal cost but Daimon Takezushi offers a “party set” meal for ¥5000 and a deluxe nigiri set for ¥2500.
1-7-14 Shibakouen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Service: [rating:4] (but do note that we knew the owners)
Price: $$-$$$ (based on their website since we did not pay for our meal)