Takagaki no sushi
Dive deep into Japanese culture at Takagaki no Sushi to savor old-fashioned Edomae goodness. Pure and simple in a style of which very few sushi restaurants remain, this restaurant stands out in a sea of Tokyo sushi eateries for its combination of traditional flavors and charm.
From interior to technique, Takagaki no Sushi is a beacon of the Edomae style that attracts gourmands looking to devour sushi, pure and simple. Just around the corner from Suitengu Shrine in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo stands a Taisho-era home. Across sliding doors hangs a small draped noren marked with the restaurant’s name in calligraphy by the chef’s dear friend. Sitting on a tiny lane that barely a car can pass through, Chef Takagaki sought an old home like this and renovated the early 1900s space to transport guests to an earlier time when Edomae sushi first flourished. It is the realization of the chef’s goal to create a space and sushi that are both seriously good, and it earned him a Michelin star in 2020 in just the second year of business. The centerpiece of the stylish, old-school interior is a single plank of precious Kiso Valley hinoki cypress that forms the straight six-seat counter. The slightly elevated preparation counter is made of the same cypress, but it has depth and tone like it has been varnished because it is the stage on which the chef directly places sushi for guests to pick up and devour. Ten and twenty years from now, it will take on a tortoiseshell appearance, gaining character and depth like the expanding rings on a tree. Above the counter is another small curtain like the one that drew you in from the outside but with the design of lotus flowers. It depicts the chef’s desire to be a presence that emulates the lotus, which blooms beautifully even from within a muddy pond.
Enjoy simple Edomae style
Classic appetizers and nigiri sushi – Takagaki is faithful to Edomae sushi principles. In the five to six appetizer dishes, nothing is overdone; they are just simply tasty dishes like sashimi, soft cod roe in ponzu, squid dressed in squid innards, monkfish liver, and sake-simmered tilefish. The ten nigiri that follow move gradually from light to rich. Guests can enjoy the most exquisite parts of 180-kilogram line-caught Oma Pacific Bluefin tuna in the form of chutoro, otoro, and jabara – the rich, fatty portion from the fish’s underbelly.
Kohada gizzard shad from Saga Prefecture is full of tart flavor, having been marinated in vinegar for three days. So pervasive is the seasoning that the backbone completely falls apart. Succulent akagai blood clams come fresh from Watanoha, Miyagi Prefecture, and fleshy hamaguri clams from Kashima, Ibaraki, are simmered to perfection and served with a refreshing sansho leaf in a dish that showcases the chef’s Edomae skills. The broth from cooking anago sea eel is simmered for six hours and cooked down into a sweet reduction allowed to rest for a week. The result is melt-in-the-mouth pure deliciousness. The course moves to a close with simple broth, seaweed-wrapped maki bites, and then tamago egg. The latter is not made in the modern, involved, dessert-like fashion but is egg alone, cooked thin, just like the olden days.
While the chef injects no purposeful performance elements, his movements are graceful and mesmerizing. The punchy vinegared rice is made with a blend of two akazu red vinegar varieties, and the seafood toppings are of a generous size that leaves no doubt as to type and flavor. The chef’s sumptuous cuisine can be accompanied by an array of mellow alcoholic beverages, including sake, beer, shochu, and whisky. The sake on offer is not that of typical brands but longer-aged, rare varieties.
Takagaki makes the trip to Toyosu every day to visit the five or six wholesalers he deals with. They know his favorite types and seafood sizes because of the relationships he has established with them over time. Given the smaller catches in recent years, Takagaki asks the wholesalers to secure his supplies rather than waiting to choose them in-store. The key rice variety in the shari is Tsuyahime from Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, which has rested for one year from harvest. Typically a large-grain varietal, Takagaki has buyers specially select small-grain versions for their compatibility with nigiri sushi and then blends it with two to three other types. His salt is a combination of two natural, coarse salt varieties, and Takagaki blends multiple types of wasabi from Gotemba to balance strong viscosity, kick, and flavor.
The rice at Takagaki no Sushi is flavored with a blend of two akazu vinegars: one aged for six years and another for ten. The six-year vinegar is light and dry with a strong punch perfectly complemented by the umami-rich ten-year variety. The result is sushi rice with depth and yet a delicate, refreshing flavor, but the exact recipe for the blend changes each day based on weather conditions and temperature.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000