Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai
It was very exciting during our last trip to Japan to get an invitation to a “tofu restaurant” located smack middle in Tokyo, right next to the famous Tokyo Tower – an area we hadn’t explored much in the past.
To be honest, I’ve never heard of such a thing before. I know restaurants specializing in sushi, ramen, and yakitori….but it was the first time I’ve heard of a restaurant where everything is made either with or from tofu.
The subway ride to Tofuya Ukai was a breeze. It was very easy to find, and the restaurant is just a short walk from the Akebane-bashi Station. For those planning to ride the subway there, we took the Oedo Line to get there.
The restaurant is located within a serene tree garden with Koi ponds. Whether the trees or the restaurant got there first, I’m not sure. But one can almost imagine it was places like this that existed during the Edo era of Japan. It’s very zen! On the sidenote, I hope they get subsidies from the government because if this was in a major US city, the property lease would kill any restaurant.
We were fortunate to be dining with a Japanese couple, so we weren’t totally nervous. However, be comforted in the fact that they do speak English very well at this restaurant. So don’t be intimidated by the classic and traditional appearance of the setting and staff. They are super accommodating!
Within the restaurant, you dine in a private room with an assigned hostess/waitress. Every room has a view of the garden, which I found so relaxing. And relax is what you want/need to do here. Don’t even think of coming here if you are trying to follow a strict travel itinerary. You want to take as much time as allowed, which at least stretches 2 hours. And you better be hungry….although each serving in the 8 course meal looks light, it will definitely fill you up.
I’m glad I took a photo of the menu, because although I clearly remember how tasty everything was, I don’t really remember what was in every dish. I’m the kind of person that “if it tastes good, I’ll enjoy it, no matter what it is”. I eat first and then ask questions. I’m pretty sure they change their fixed menu on a regular basis though, so you probably won’t be having everything we had. The biggest surprise and winner in taste was the desert. Who would have known that tofu could be such an amazing desert!? That black sesame sauce was unreal.
We highly recommend a visit here. Yes, it might be pricey, but so worth it considering the quality and the food and most of all, the service and ambience.