Takazawa in Tokyo
For Yoshiaki Takazawa creating a culinary experience for a select few each night allows magic to happen. Considered one of the 50 best chefs in Asia, Takazawa’s insistence on not expanding beyond a handful of tables — is as much about controlling the narrative as it is about insuring his guests receive the attention they deserve. After years spent working in top restaurants where showmanship and theatrics became more important than the food, Takazawa decided that he wanted to create food that soothes the soul.
TAKAZAWA is not listed in guide books, however word of mouth has foodies around the world jockeying to experience Takazawa’s ever evolving and daring menu. Reservations are secured online via email, but with only five tables you should book at least two months in advance. Once secured, you’ll be contacted by Takazawa’s lovely wife, Akiko and asked to select from several progressive tasting menus so that the chef can personalize your dining experience.
When you finally arrive at the nondescript building where Takazawa is located you ascend a staircase with the phrase “I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree”. Then you enter the teak and steel “workshop” where Takazawa’s stainless steel kitchen sits center stage. From there Akiko and Chef T’s attention to detail and impeccable service are matched only by the culinary experience of the senses that unfolds.
Our tasting menu began with several bite-size updates on Japanese street food followed by a series of dishes that highlighted the history of Takazawa. First was the oft photographed Ratatouille — a mosaic of 15 vegetables enhanced by a black bean and a pinch of volcanic salt. Next was a decadent brioche-like bread served with slow-cooked pork rillettes. The Vegetable Parfait was a creamy tomato gazpacho topped with mozzarella mousse, basil jelly and caviar. The salad course was yellowtail sashimi and daikon topped with a Powdery Dressing flavored with yuzu. The EZO Venison Tar Tar is freshly chopped and topped with sea urchin and white truffle. The White Truffle (Special) was a decadent addition coupled with the surprise of the night — a perfectly chilled glass of Sauternes topped with white truffle that the Chef T shaved table side. Each sip was a revelation!
The second wave of dishes started with the Candleholder that Chef T filled with foie gras creme brûlée and served with fruit compote and toast points. Next, a unique dish Bamboo Village with gold dust powder which allowed us to eat with our hands. Then Chef T began a series of new dishes like the umami-rich Rocks from Sea Base, the showcase of seasonal vegetables Autumn In A Forest, creamy pumpkin Halloween Soup and the unique textures of Everything About Sweet Potato. The meal ended simply with Floral Tea and a selection of Petit Fours.
It’s clear from our evening at TAKAZAWA that Chef T is in pursuit of culinary perfection, but more importantly, the true meaning of what it means to cook from the heart. It’s an admirable approach and we’re grateful to have experienced every mouthful of a menu filled with master strokes of genius.
Ratatouille (2005) Bread + Butter (2005)
Vegetable Parfait (2011)
Powdery Dressing (2006)
EZO Venison Tar Tar (2010)
EZO Venison Tar Tar revealed…Uni + White Truffle + Crispy Galette
Bamboo Village (NEW)
White Truffle (Special)
Sauternes + Freshly Shaved White Truffle
Candleholder revealed…Foie Gras Creme Brûlée + Toast Points
The Rocks From Sea Base (NEW)
Autumn Color In A Forest (NEW)
Halloween Soup (NEW)
Everything About Sweet Potato (NEW)
Floral + Herbal Tea
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