The ika nigiri at Sushi Take in Ginza, Tokyo was one of the most surprising things I’ve eaten in a long time. Ika in all of its forms is high on my list of favorites at sushi restaurants, and so I have had many types and many preparations over the years, but here it was something truly special. It had the signature gentle crunch of ika and that subtle, sweet flavor, and yet it tasted like something new in a way I can’t define. Eating it, early on in the meal, was the moment my love for Sushi Take went to the next level. When my course ended, there were lots of things I asked for extra portions of, but top of the list was humble old ika. Isn’t that perfect?
The vibe in the restaurant is just the way I like it. It’s particular but not fancy, serious but not stuffy, relaxing but not ordinary. Sushi Take runs a staggered seating system rather than set times for the whole counter to start eating. This means things feel more personal and flexible than at some other sushi restaurants. Despite the top-level food, the restaurant feels more like a neighborhood joint than a sushi temple. The signboards behind the counter indicate today’s menu, but also a deeper connotation that this is place where it’s fine to ask for and discuss what you want to eat rather than simply leaving it to the chef, as at most other high-flying Tokyo sushi restaurants.
Chef Fumie Takeuchi is a delight to chat with. We chatted about various things—despite the language barrier with each of us trying our non-native tongues—and she and her sous chef gave me a couple of nice recommendations for bars and lunch spots. Delightfully, the restaurant shares its floor in an unassuming Ginza building with not one, not two, but three karaoke bars, and we shared some laughs at the… ambitious singing that occasionally made its way through the walls. See what I mean about a neighborhood vibe?
This is a restaurant that really suits me. The nigiri is really among my favorite in Tokyo. The taste of the food, the atmosphere, the personalities of the chef and her staff, and the feeling of intentionality and ethos behind the restaurant all combine to make this a place that I remember with the fondest memories.
Sushi Take (鮨竹) 7 Chome-6-5 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061
Last visited: Early summer, 2019