Tokyo | Toku-Uchiyama 徳うち山
Toku-uchiyama is a traditional Kaiseki restaurant located in a hidden neighbourhood in Hagashi-ginza. 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. Due to a slight change in my schedule, i arrived in Tokyo earlier than my original plan. I arrived in Narita Airport at 6pm and was thinking of having soup curry in Ginza as it is almost impossible to get a reservation at any good restaurants. Luckily my friend called Toku-uchiyama and found they got a last-minute cancellation. To be honest, besides their signature Goma-tofu and Tai-Chazuke, I didn't expected too much about this place.
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
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 recommned for a complete experience. I arrived around 9pm due to the heavy traffic from Narita Airport, thus had a lighter menu priced at 15000 JPY.
I love Goma-tofu (sesame tofu) and this is exactualy what i came for. Very few restaurants serves deep-fried goma-tofu, this one has a crunchy crust as i expected, it was not oily at all. The center is still silky with a little more chewines - wonderful texture of crispy and soft. Unfortunately, the sesame flavor of the tofu itself was underwhelming, and the sesame sauce on the bottom was too strong in comparison.
This is my favorite dish of the meal, the Kinmedai was rarely grilled, left a slightly cooked and burnt skin and raw fish underneath. It was pretty juicy and flavorful.
Another dish that disappointed me. Nodoguro came in a pippling hot small hot pot on a bed of mushroom and turnip, 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 to eat the rice:
- 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 alway 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 availble 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.