Archive for the 'Takao – Brentwood' Category

Takao

This is our neighborhood go-to sushi bar. We were the very first customers at Takao when it first opened and we have been going ever since. We just let Takao do “his thing.”

Taiko 1

From upper right corner – marinated jellyfish with cucumber, Abalone, Japanese tiny shrimp with caviar, Blue Crab with Spicy Mayo Sauce

Taiko - Spanish

Spanish Mackerel with scallions, ginger, carrot and daikon

Taikoo - truffle

Japanese fresh scallop, uni, shaved summer truffles, pink peppercorns

Taiko - mushroom wrapped

Dish presented

Taiko - mushroom open

Matsutake mushrooms, shrimp, Ginko, Pickled Ginger, Japanese lime

Taikko - tempura

Tempura of a Natto Roll, Tempura Green Onion

Taiko - whole fish

Grilled Yellowtail, chopped ginger, onion

Taiko - toro

Toro Sushi

Not pictured – Salmon Skin Hand Rolls

Taiko - uni squid roll

Uni Squid Hand  Roll

For the freshest fish, for the most interesting preparations – the is THE place to go.

Takao

At the last minute, we decided to have a quickie lunch at Takao. The best way to order is to just have the chef choose the freshest best fish of the day. Pictures were taken with an i-phone so picture quality is somewhat iffy.

Tuna sampler to be eaten from right to left – Blue Fin, Big Eye, Toro, “Light” tuna chopped topped with caviar

On the right Red Snapper, salt, yuzu paste and on the left Halibut, green onion, spicy daikon radish

Soft Shell Crab with green, yellow and red bell pepper, fried won ton strips

Kohada and Spanish Mackerel

Salmon Skin Roll

Salmon Eggs, quail egg and Uni, quail egg

This was a delicious last minute decision. A definite must if you are in the neighborhood.

Takao – Brentwood

It’s been a while that we have just let Takao orchestrate our meal as we have tended to just have some sushi for lunch. We decided to let Takao do a smaller version of his omakase.

The always smiling Takao – for the record we have been sitting in the same seats in front of Takao ever since he opened – we were the very first customers.

Beer for John

BYO Champagne for Takao and me

Miso Soup

Snow Crab, Sliced Cucumber, Radish, Vinegar saucing

Spanish Mackerel, Green Onion, Daikon, Carrot Shaving with a Dashi saucing

Wrapped in soy paper dotted with sesame seeds, blue crab, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tobiko served with a spicy miso sauce for dipping. This is listed on the menu as a blue crab salad roll – notice that there was no rice in the roll.

Toro Tataki wrapped in seaweed and topped with caviar

Fried Tofu that is grilled at the last minute – filled with Natto – the tofu is crispy and almost resembles a flaky pastry

Natto filling

Spicy Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crab, Yellow, Green and Red Pepper, Julienne Won Ton Skins Deep-Fried, Jalapeno, Chili Flakes and Chili Powder

This is a special tofu that Takao gets from a “mom and pop” place in Gardena. He served it cold surrounded by ice cubes with pea shoots, cherry tomatoes and cucumber. You were to dip the tofu in soy sauce using whatever combinations of the condiments provided below.

Condiments:

From left to right – bonito flakes, radish, green onion, ginger – Takao’s favorite additions were the ginger and green onion.

Now sushi

Halibut

Kanpachi

Giant Clam

Toro

Squid and Natto ( if you haven’t guessed Takao knows we are huge natto fans)

Tamago

Excellent quality and well-executed Japanese cuisine.

Takao

Takao for lunch is wonderful – we usually just let the chef choose the best fish and we split each order. The photos are not bad considering they were taken with an iphone.

Sushi Chefs at work

Our superb chef

Yebisu – my husband’s favorite sushi bar beer

Miso Soup

Yellowtail

Yellowtail Belly

Kanpachi with onion, cilantro, jalapeno and ponzu sauce

Red Snapper with seaweed salt, yuzu paste, yuzu juice and yuzu zest

Kodai (baby red snapper) – skin on, seared, ginger, green onion, tamari sauce

Sashimi of spot prawn tail topped with caviar, yuzu juice

Deep fried spot prawn head

On the left uni mixed with squid cut up into tiny strips. On the right toro tataki with green onion

A perfect, lovely lunch.

Takao – Brentwood

John and I were the very first customers when he opened Takao, approximately 10 years ago. I used to feel that Takao was able to fuse east and west with incredible finesse; his saucing was extraordinary. His ingredient quality was obviously not like Urasawa’s, but for a small Westside sushi bar it went way beyond the usual. During the last year there has been a definite slippage in the quality of the ingredients. Also, the cooked items don’t have the same care and attention they once had. It is with regret that I can no longer recommend Takao.

BYO Wine

BYO Wine

Smoked Salmon on a fried dumpling, radish sprouts, summer truffles, avocado, tomatoes, yuzu – this was the best dish of the night

Kumamoto oysters, scallions, ponzu – good, but not even close to the quality of oysters at Bouchon

Blue Fin Tuna Cubes, fresh Wasabi, soy sauce – just chunks of tuna with a wad of wasabi on top

Squid, caviar, green onion, radish, fish broth with sake – the dish fell apart as you ate it and you ended up with caviar floating in the broth – the soup bowl was not made for slurping.

Spanish Mackerel, scallions, white onion, carrot, ponzu

Teapot

Matsutake mushroom soup with shrimp, hamo (whitefish), ginko nuts, mitsuba leaf, light bonito broth

The bonito broth – Takao used to excel at stocks and broth – this was in a word weak.

King Crab, pickled ginger root, vinegar sauce – not a favorite of mine – personal preference

Green Tea noodle wrapped with flounder, soba soup – this was just not good, a mess with gluey green noodle “stuffing”

Close-up of the flounder

A couple of pieces of sushi – no photo

As this is the second “iffy” meal at Takao, I doubt we will return. This is just not like the Takao of past years.

Takao

Takao has been our neighborhood go-to sushi bar since the first day it opened. In fact, we were the very first customers. Takao has always excelled at clean presentations, well-executed cooked dishes and high quality fish. Unfortunately, Saturday night was not Takao’s finest hour.

Snow crab, fava beans, eggplant – the eggplant seemed out of place

Japanese Flounder – the accoutrements were to be added to the soy sauce – good

Blue fin tuna coated with wasabi sauce – the wasabi was so overpowering that we ended up scraping all of it off.

Spanish Mackerel, sesame seed, red onion, carrot, scallion, ginger – way too many ingredients that hid rather than highlighted the fish.

Cooked Octopus with spicy chili oil – the octopus was so tough and chewy, it was inedible.

Fresh water eel with egg and Sukiyaki (bonito-flavored soy) sauce sprinkled with Sansho – Takao is known for his finesse with cooked dishes – this was a mess – no internal integrity to the dish, just a jumble of ingredients.

Soft Shell Crab Tempura with fried onions, red, green and yellow pepper, ponzu sauce

Once the dish was deconstructed and the elements separated, the soft shell was excellent.

Tempura – asparagus, squid, uni

The best was the uni tempura

Chutoro

Shima aji

Kanpachi (amberjack)

Seared halibut

Takao usually gets first quality fish – this was second tier

Bottom line : a disappointing Takao meal and not up to his usual standards.

Takao – Brentwood

Takao is a perfect place to have an early dinner on a Sunday evening. We have Takao’s undivided attention and as we never look at a menu and have omakase (chef’s choice), we are lucky to get some extra special treats. One of the hallmark’s of a meal at Takao is the emphasis on seasonality plus cooked items not often found at other Japanese restaurants. We generally follow this pattern of “specials” and add in sushi, if we are still hungry. Tonight, it was just a salmon skin roll for John.

Starting at the bottom, Kegani Hairy Crab, Kegani Hairy Crab, tataki-style wrapped in cucumber, wild Scallop tartare topped with caviar, Miso with Japanese chili paired with Udo – a Japanese spring vegetable and deep-fried smelts in a vinegar sauce with peppers, pickled ginger and finely sliced pickled onions – excellent beginning with a huge nod to seasonality and different taste sensations and textures.

Halibut Carpaccio “stuffed” with black truffle sauce and topped by Japanese bottarga (the yellow) and diced chives – Takao has always been a master of saucing whether it be at room temperature or hot.

Toro and Maguro with fresh wasabi and pea shoots – The toro is not the equal of Urasawa, but it was excellent for a neighborhood sushi bar at a fraction of the cost.

Abalone and Uni on a bed of spinach and cooked with a sesame-based sauce – this was slightly reminiscent of a dynamite, using superior ingredients.

Deep-fried Lily Root Dumpling stuffed with Chicken topped with Gold Leaf sitting in Japanese fish broth – this is the first time I have ever tasted this preparation. The chicken filling had a mousse-like consistency with the fried lily root adding a crunchy texture. I am guessing that it had been encrusted with panko given its non-heavy breading feel.

Inside of the Dumpling

Takao holding an anchovy from southern Japan

The package of Southern Japanese anchovies

Tempura of Japanese anchovies with a Tempura of some type of Japanese vegetable that I couldn’t identify. It was somewhat similar to broccoli, but with a slightly bitter taste. I have said this before and I will say it again, Takao is a master at tempura.

Sauteed white shrimp in garlic/tomato oil with Maitake mushrooms and diced tomatoes – excellent

Salmon Skin Roll

A lovely early Sunday evening dinner.


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