Very exciting news from Tokyo for fans of chef Yoshihiro Narisawa. He is collaborating with a historic yōshoku restaurant, Toyoken, to bring it back, but with a modern take on yōshoku. The original restaurant, in Mita, opened in the Meiji period (1889) and closed about ten years ago. Many top chefs in Japan worked in the kitchen over the years. It is mentioned in this newspaper article dating to 1915.
For Chef Narisawa, considered one of the best chefs in Asia, it is a big contrast to the cuisine that he is known for at his eponymous restaurant. At Narisawa, the menu may include soup made from soil (a GREAT dish), and includes many ingredients harvested from the forest.
Yōshoku is Western dishes adapted for the Japanese palate. Classics include croquettes and beef stew. Narisawa’s menu is a healthful take on traditional yōshoku cuisine, by using olive oil in lieu of butter where he can. This evening, at a reception to introduce the restaurant to friends, we got a small taste of what is on the menu, like this menchi katsu, think hamburger that is breaded and deep-fried served with kaki furai, breaded and deep-fried oysters. A quick look at the menu and it’s evident that top-quality ingredients are used, so it will be an upscale, healthful version of yōshoku.
Tokyo Toyoken is in Akasaka, a business district in the heart of the city. The restaurant tonight was set up for a reception, but I imagine it will seat about forty diners, so not big. There is a private dining room in the back that seats ten.
The chef at Tokyo Toyoken is chef Takayuki Nakatsuka, who is coming from Narisawa restaurant. Narisawa is the executive chef who has worked with Toyoken to create these new dishes. Narisawa will stay at his namesake restaurant.
Tokyo Toyoken opens to the public on Wednesday, January 15th. A quick look at the menu and I remember the lunch course being 3,800 JPY and the dinner course 5,800 JPY. The link to the restaurant’s website is below, but the menu is not online, yet.
Minato-ku, Moto-Akasaka 1-2-7, Akasaka K Tower 1F
The sign leading to the restaurant. Love the font, most likely from the original restaurant.
The main dining room today was set up for a reception. Stark contrast to most yōshoku restaurant interiors which can be very rustic.
Private dining room. A hint at what the main dining room may look like?