Toku-uchiyama is a Kaiseki restaurant located in the Higashi-Ginza neighbourhood . The main concept is derived from Ginza Uchiyama, a one-Michelin-starred Kaiseki restaurant where the head chef was trained.
The restaurant is quite small as most Japanese eateries in Japan, features a 8-seat counter, two tables for 8 guests in total, and a private room for 4. Toku-uchiyama is now one of the top Kaiseki places in Tokyo according to Tabelog. However, based on my researches, I didn't expected too much about this restaurant besides the signature Goma-tofu and Tai-Chazuke,
Toku-uchiyama opened for both lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday, the signature Tai-chazuke is the only item on their lunch menu. Dinner is recommended for a complete experience.
The meal started with a refreshing dish of crab with vinegar jelly. Followed by the signature goma-tofu. I love Goma-tofu (sesame tofu) and this is exactly what i came for. The texture was quite lovely, the crust was crunchy as i expected, and the entire bite was not oily at all. The center is still silky with a chewy hint - wonderful texture of crispy and soft. Unfortunately, the sesame flavor was underwhelming, and the sesame sauce on the bottom was too strong to reach a balanced taste.
The meal was continued with clam soup. I was really disappointed by the fishy and rather bland soup. Continued with grilled Kinmedai, my favorite dish of the meal. The Kinmedai was rarely touched on the skin, left a slightly cooked and burnt skin and raw fish underneath.
Another disappointing dish was the Nodoguro hot pot arrived pippling hot, underneath the fish was mushroom and turnip. The steam makes it looks drooling but i never expected the fish to be that dry and weak in flavor.
Another dish i expected a lot, hopefully the Tai chazuke was not too bad. It came in a set of steamed rice (they don't served rice crust at all), marinated Tai sashimi and pickles. Later a pot of hot tea was served.
How this rice dish was supposed to eat:
- Eat the steamed rice with Tai sashimi first
- After serving the tea, and you think you have enough rice with Tai Sashimi, then you put the sashimi on top of the rice, and pour the hot tea onto it.
Rice lovers must try this place because Toku-uchiyama serves unlimited Tai-chazuke, which means you can always top up your sashimi and rice without additional charge.
Although the rice was not perfect for my liking, the flavorful Tai sashimi made it up.
The staffs here can speak English well, and they can even serve menu in English as well as directions of how to eat Tai-chazuke. Chinese service is also available as well as UnionPay. Seems they had a lot of tourists guests but there was no non-Japanese during my visit, except me. The food didn't impressed me much, while 15000 for Kaiseki dinner in Ginza quite reasonable. Put this on your alternative list, in case you are craving for quality kaiseki but cannot access to better restaurants.
Date: March.25.2016 (Dinner)
Hours: Lunch 11:30~ (Chazuke only), Dinner 18:00~, Closed on Sundays and PH
Cost: Lunch 5000 / 8000, Dinner 15000 / 18000 / 21000