Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa develops his multi-course menus based on the season and a touch of sentimentality
There is no flashy sign outside the door, no vast dining room filled with waiters and tables and no Facebook page promoting the latest trendy dish. Instead, Takazawa restaurant in Tokyo is so off the radar both in location and advertising that it seems improbable that it has a wait list at all, let alone one up to six months long. Takazawa has steadily built a word-of-mouth reputation for spectacular food and flavors, impeccable attention to detail and warm, personalized service. It has also built a reputation for seating just ten people per night.
It is a business plan that seems to be working for Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa, who develops his multi-course menus based on the season and a touch of sentimentality. Presentation is equally as important as taste at the restaurant, which encourages diners to “enjoy their imaginations” during the meal. Past and current favorites include ratatouille with individually sautéed and prepared vegetables pressed in multicolored cubes, foie gras crème brûlée with mango and a modern take on curry rice with lamb. Dishes are prepared in a stainless steel kitchen affixed with a spotlight, turning the entire process into a bit of theatre. Dinners are served and explained by Takazawa’s English-speaking wife Akiko.
Takazawa originally opened as Aronia de Takazawa in September of 2005 in the Akasaka district of Japan’s capital city. It had just two tables tucked away in a nondescript building behind an unmarked door with the restaurant’s name engraved on the handle. Today it’s in the same place and just as hidden. However, in May of 2012, Takazawa decided to minimize the restaurant’s name and increase capacity to a maximum of ten seats. They were relatively small changes but ones made undoubtedly after much thought and consideration. That’s just how things seem to be done at Takazawa.