Taku, 35 Elgin St., Central, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Nearest Train:Sheung Wan
Opening Hours:daily 8-11pm, 2-7am
What? A Japanese restaurant has opened that actually looks like a bonafide neighborhood izakaya in old Kyoto, as opposed a “Japanese” restaurant on Elgin? Yes, an architect from Osaka did the décor—there’s even an old bicycle from the 20s parked outside its charming front door, and once you pass under the noren, you enter a dimly lit dimension of dark woods, with vintage Japanese bric-a-brac on its walls and around its sushi bar. On every table sits a pot of soy sauce, with a brush in it. It’s used to paint a thin layer of sauce on your sushi and sashimi (we can understand the trepidation of using the same brush that has touched someone else’s raw fish, but chefs in old sushi restaurants in Japan have been doing this for decades). Besides the fresh seafood, there’s a simple menu of grilled items, and the restaurant’s specialty is their house-made tofu. Those who only know of supermarket tofu will bitch ignorantly about the texture and lack of flavor, but yes, bean curd is subtle. The steamed silken tofu with crabmeat was delicately flavored, perfect with the fresh citrusy punctuation of myoga (a ginger-like bud) and yuzu. The grilled tofu was glazed with a sweet, savory soy sauce and firm enough to stay on its skewer, but also sleek and smooth when bitten into. One gripe, green tea was not served upon arrival, but had to be ordered and then paid for. And more soft jazz and less J-pop next time please.