Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
Last night Mr. Wonderful and I ventured out amidst threats of tornadoes and the likes to satisfy a sushi craving.
And there’s no better place in Oklahoma City, in my warped and humble opinion than Tokyo Japanese Restaurant. Note the restaurant is not called Tokyo Sushi as is commonly mistaken, because Tokyo offers much more than sushi with its Bento type lunch boxes and Donburi (rice bowls), noodle dishes and much more.
But that will have to be another post.
Because this post baby, is all about sushi.
Tokyo’s doors have been open since 1987, and little has changed. You’ll hear about the outside of the building and how plain it looks. Any good sushi lover knows you don’t put all your weight on that alone. So Mr. Wonderful and I were in no way daunted by that factor. Some of the best places we ever eaten, have had little to with ambiance and more to do with great cuisine.
A word to the wise. When going to a great sushi place, sit at the bar. Not the “get sloshed” kind of bar, but the sushi bar.
This will typically be located somewhere at the side or back of the main dining room, but at Tokyo, the sushi bar is right directly in front of you when you walk in the door. The dining room is entirely separate and to sit there to me would a complete travesty, although if you’re out for romance, you may want to opt for a reservation and hang out there, especially if you’re on a date or with a larger group as you wouldn’t be able to talk to each other well.
From the vantage point of the sushi bar, you will be able to watch not only your personal order being created right in front of you, but you’ll also get to witness other things being made and you’ll find yourself mentally checking items away to try for your next visit. You can also observe the fresh fish they use in the window. Once you begin to know good fish from subpar fish, you’ll be able to instantly judge a sushi place by what is in that window.
And yes those are octopus tentacles. Many love these at the sushi bar. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Pay attention as well to who hosts behind your sushi bar. This guy is in command at Tokyo.
This is Sushi Chef Ishi San who has been been behind this counter for 26 years. He and General Manager Koji (at Tokyo for 14 years) are the only chefs allowed to cut the fish. For you see, sushi is serious business to those whose heritage is Japanese. Over in Japan, at a good sushi place, most employees have to learn the make the rice alone for years (up to 12) before they
To learn more about how great sushi is done, I love this clip from Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations Restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro where Master Sushi Chef Jiro Ono has spent over 70 years perfecting his trade and is considered to be one of the best in the world. Last year’s Jiro Dreams of Sushi movie was actually a filmed documentary about this legend’s life with sushi.
Anyway, I digress into my world traveling wish list…let’s get back to Tokyo!
We sat at the counter and watched the well oiled machine of Tokyo sushi chefs do their thing. While you wait two things will arrive.
A nice little individual dish of edamame.
Edamame are steamed soy beans for you virgin sushi people out there. They are steamed or boiled lightly, then served sprinkled with salt. You don’t eat the pods but use your teeth to scrape the beans inside out into your mouth.
You will also receive a little dish of this.
This is the Octopus or Squid Salad. Now don’t freak out, because if you like Calamari, you’re already eating squid. It’s a chewy little salad with the meat and also some julienned mushrooms in it that make up the texture, and it has a fantastic gingery, vinegared sweet dressing over it that we love.
We each ordered a bowl of Miso Soup which came out with a delicious dashi broth peppered with little bits of tofu and seaweed.
Now, all of this is fine and good, but it is really just to warm your palate up without making your belly too full for what’s coming next.
Mr. Wonderful and I decided on four rolls. Now when the two of us begin to browse a sushi menu, two things happen.
I (a speed reader), quickly scan the items and pick my two instantly, checking them off on the paper menu that sushi places present you with to place your order.
Mr. Wonderful gets overwhelmed with all the delicious offerings and can’t decide.
It’s a fantastic little game we play while our server usually keeps walking by to see if we’ve made up our cotton pickin minds.
But, after an hour or two, we finally decided on these.
Starting at the top left, we had the Pressed Sushi , then moving over to the right, we had the Double Crunchy Roll and down on the bottom left, the Spider Roll. If you’d like to view what was house in and on top of these, you can visit the Tokyo sushi menu here.
We also ordered this one – the Tokyo Roll.
All of these were fabulous, but I have to tell you I was a huge fan of the Pressed Sushi.
I watched Chef Ishi San make this in a square wooden box, where he layered sushi rice, smelt roe, and crunchy tempura batter in between rice layers then topped it with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, eel and avocado. Then he wraps the plastic wrap over top of it and puts his full weight on the wooden press on top of the box, lifting his feet right up off the floor. Next he flips it over, slices it into twelve pieces and drizzles it with eel sauce (a sweet and savory soy based sauce).
Oh my gosh was this delicious!
One thing you may not hear about at Tokyo due to everyone raving about the fish is that the rice is fantastic! I don’t know what all they do to it but it just almost seems to melt in your mouth. Sushi rice is an art and one I want to learn more about. Tokyo’s is wonderful.
While we didn’t order these, all of the sushi being made was delivered to a waiting station for the wait staff right next to us at the sushi bar, so I was able to snap several shot of the wonderful raw fish and non-raw fish offerings going out to diners.
Like the sashimi, or slices of raw fish.
I adore this stuff, but the Wonderful guy isn’t so crazy about it so we passed this time.
And the Nigiri, or molded rice oblong balls topped with the fresh fish, some raw, others not raw.
We kept seeing plate after plate go out of the window. And we kept drooling over it.
And then just when you think you can’t be surprised. They put this monster up on the top of the window.
It was so big, I had to change my camera lense to get a full view.
This is the Omakase Boat. Laughingly, I was told it is the smallest of the “group” offerings. This boat feeds 2-3 people and has a variety of sushi rolls, sashimi and nigiri housed inside of it along with 2-3 bowls of miso soup.
The chefs loaded it up assembly line style and it was whisked down the length of the glass case from one to the next who placed their own offerings inside.
Someone tell me they’ll go with me soon to get this…because it looks fantastic and while the Wonderful guy thought it was cool, he didn’t like most of the raw offerings inside of it.
If you’re a sushi fan, and you haven’t tried Tokyo yet, I highly recommend it. It will be tough for me to want to go elsewhere now after my experience.
And if you haven’t tried sushi yet, give it a try. If the raw stuff freaks you out, there are plenty of offerings out there that aren’t raw with tempura fried shrimp or crab inside. I just hate that you’re missing out on probably my favorite food of all time.
Go to Tokyo!
For those of you needing help, there is a map below!