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.


1 Response to “Takao – Brentwood”

  1. 1 sarah March 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    LOVE anchovies! didn’t know they had them…might have to make a stop in some time this weekend

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