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.
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
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.