Takumi Japanese Restaurant (East Towne)

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
thebookpolice
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Postby thebookpolice » Sun May 06, 2007 11:02 pm

cubanat wrote:I was expecting "stellar sushi of gods type of food" based on the previous posts


Yeah, the cumulative effect of everyone being really happy with this place has led to quite the gloriously-painted mental picture. But good food + no major disappointments + nice staff (even too nice, sure) = who's gonna argue?

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Postby Monzie » Mon May 07, 2007 9:55 am

Went back for the tempura bento lunch. $8.50 for soup or salad, an assortment of tempura veggies and your choice of meat (I had the shrimp), a California roll, a little bite of something that's apparently diffent each day (it was some sort of deep-fried potato/veggie cake the day I went....my friend told me she got shumai in her bento the previous week), a sliced orange, and a dish of rice. A ton of food and a lovely presentation but the tempura was a bit too greasy for my taste. I'm gonna stick with the two-roll sushi lunch special from now on.

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Postby mrak » Wed May 09, 2007 1:52 pm

A quick question for those of you who have been there:

If you were going for dinner on a weekend, would you make a reservation, or are you confident you could just show up?

thanks...

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Postby thebookpolice » Wed May 09, 2007 2:04 pm

mrak wrote:A quick question for those of you who have been there:

If you were going for dinner on a weekend, would you make a reservation, or are you confident you could just show up?

thanks...


I've never seen it chock-full. But I've also gone fairly early in the dinner hour, and on weeknights. Regardless, I think you'd be safe. For a small place that serves relatively fast food, there's still a good amount of seating.

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Postby Ducatista » Wed May 09, 2007 8:22 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Yet with all this in mind, there was a substantial communication breakdown when I tried to order two Sapporo for me and the SO. The girl seemed sure that I was saying "separate rolls." So we went without the beer. No big deal.

Next time, try Bi-ru, o kudasai. You can settle on the brand after that.

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Postby thebookpolice » Thu May 10, 2007 12:23 am

Ducatista wrote:
TheBookPolice wrote:Yet with all this in mind, there was a substantial communication breakdown when I tried to order two Sapporo for me and the SO. The girl seemed sure that I was saying "separate rolls." So we went without the beer. No big deal.

Next time, try Bi-ru, o kudasai. You can settle on the brand after that.


Yeah, I was thinking about the Romaji thing. I wasn't sure if I was making up the recollection of "biru," or if that was the actual word.

Thanks!

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Takumi, Takara, Edo

Postby kulgar » Thu May 10, 2007 10:41 am

After the above posts I had to continue my sushi quest and tried Takumi for lunch. I can explain the lack of communication on "biru". Like most "Japanese" restaurants in Madison, Takumi is owned and operated by Chinese and their understanding of Japanese is probably less than yours. They do have the traditional Japanese sushi bar restaurant greeting down well, but that may be the extent of their vocabulary. The two Edo's (which is grossly mispronounced by the owners considering it was the Shogun's capital and the name of a major period of Japanese history), the two Takara's and now Takumi are all Chinese creations. I know you don't have to be Italian to run an "Italian" restaurant but it does quite often explain the bizarre interpretations of Italain cuisine in Madison.

Takumi's owner came out of the Takara chain and while they vehementally disclaim any association, the menu looks suspiciously like the Takara one and several of the wait staff came from the State St. Takara. The sushi is a definite upgrade on Takara State St. but on a par with Edo on Monona in my single sample. The rice was just a bit off, the shrimp dry, the toro had been frozen (probably more than once), was mealy and pretty much tasteless (at a hefty price). The roll was typical student fair: lots of rice, a large proportion of vegetable matter and a smidgen of protein, in this case tuna. There was a lot of wait staff and several chefs in training but it took me a surprisingly long time to get the attention of anyone to take my check.

The buildout has a warm feeling Japanese kitschy look, the window table you have to climb into looks like fun, and the chairs are padded. But the raw ingredients left a bit to be desired which explains the low prices for sushi.

It's probably even more important for sushi and Japanese food to have some Japanese origins than other cuisines. You are paying for the finest ingredients and a master chef because you are eating (most of the) sushi raw. The chef sets up the ordering process, how to get the best, how much to order so it doesn't go bad, inspects the product to make sure it is not diseased, and then finds another use when the raw ingredients get old. A lot of sushi is raw and uncooked which can be a real health hazard in the wrong hands.

I am NOT saying there is a health risk from eating raw sushi at Takumi. It's a nice restaurant, nice feel, they are trying hard but it's not a top tier sushi restaurant, it's a Midwest college town Chinese version of sushi. If you like it, that's fine. It's generally good for you and convenient for the east side, just realize it's a Chinese interpretation of an American version of Japanese cuisine.

The easiest way to tell if the restaurant is Chinese owned and operated is by the chopsticks: Chinese generally use round, polished reuseable chopsticks while the Japanese use square (easier to eat with), shorter, rough disposable wooden chopsticks. Takumi's are disposable wood but kind of round.

For premium, Tokyo quality sushi, take your credit card, it's not cheap, and try Sushi Muramoto in Hilldale. I've eaten there twice and he serves world class nigiri sushi, it's as good as any you will find anywhere in the world.

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Re: Takumi, Takara, Edo

Postby cubanat » Thu May 10, 2007 12:35 pm

kulgar wrote:For premium, Tokyo quality sushi, take your credit card, it's not cheap, and try Sushi Muramoto in Hilldale. I've eaten there twice and he serves world class nigiri sushi, it's as good as any you will find anywhere in the world.


First of all Kulgar anyone with a sharp knife and a good source of fresh fish can "make" good tasting sushi. It doesn't matter what ethnicity. Second of all Sushi Muramoto is not always world class (I do love the food at both locations). The service at both Muramotos is really lackluster (it can be awful) and I have had some "college town level sushi" at his places also. On the otherhand I have had some really amazing fish at the Monona Edo (not all the time but never has it been bad). Is Takumi world class, no, BUT it is decent for Madison regardless of what we say. And I thought I was a prick about standards & levels of taste.

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Postby thebookpolice » Thu May 10, 2007 12:56 pm

Replace the K with a V, kulgar, and it's about right. Leave ethnicity and genuine-ness out of it. The "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" quotient in your post is making me dizzy.

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you get what you pay for

Postby kulgar » Thu May 10, 2007 5:48 pm

First, I answered the confusion about why they don't know what "biru" is at most "Japanese" restaurants. Second, I've witnessed a number a people asking Chinese wait staff what part of Japan they come from and would like to help those Madisonians not continue that line of questioning. It shows how unwordly most of us are.

If you think a knife and "fresh fish" makes sushi, you have to get out more. There are levels of quality in seafood, fresh is required but not the key factor. In sushi you generally get what you pay for. Be sure to look for those little spots that indicate parasitic eggs when buying "sashimi grade" sea food locally, that's why I pay for a chef to cut it up.

I lived in Japan for four years and love Restaurant Muramoto but it doesn't serve nigiri sushi except on rare occasions. They serve "Asian fusion tapas", the rolls are more "world" rolls. The mango/avocado/duck roll with a French duck reduction sauce is to die for.

I've eaten repeatedly at all the "Japanese" restaurants in Madison except Ginza East and the sushi is generally good, some times exceptional but quite often pedestrian by real Japanese standards. I had bad sushi in Japan too, it's difficult to pull off day after day, piece after piece, if you don't pay top yen for it. The department stores, like Sentry, serve a quesitonable product at times.

But the Madison college roll standard is rice, lots of veggies and medium quality seafood at a student price. It affects all of the "Japanese" restaurants and our perceptions of what "sushi" is.

The raw ingredients at Sushi Muramoto are world class, no frozen mealy toro, and some exotic items like foie gras sushi. The tuna selection is a selection, not just "maguro"; the bluefin is incredible. If you get a bad piece, tell the wait staff. The real genius is Shinji Muramoto who has turned himself into a world class chef, he didn't win the Dueling Chef competition two years running for lack of competition. Give Sushi Muramoto a try, like all start up restaurants give him two tries.

I've been to China five times and have Chinese friends, you can read bigotry into my previous post but that's your read, not what I wrote. I was simply pointing out that there's an upscale alternative to the level of sushi Madison has been experiencing.

Takumi, Edo and Takara all put out a decent product at a Madison market price, it's just not great sushi. Remember that Chili's was perfect Madison Mexican for so long.....

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Re: you get what you pay for

Postby thebookpolice » Thu May 10, 2007 6:20 pm

kulgar wrote:Second, I've witnessed a number a people asking Chinese wait staff what part of Japan they come from and would like to help those Madisonians not continue that line of questioning. It shows how unwordly most of us are.


Not you though.

I'm aware of the existence of national borders on the Asian continent, and equally aware of the (sometimes subtle) differences that can exist between members of those ethnic groups. I was fairly confident that the waitstaff with whom I was conversing were Japanese, not Chinese. You probably know better than I do, though, if the tenor of your posts is any indication.

kulgar wrote:Remember that Chili's was perfect Madison Mexican for so long.....


Of course, you're not saying that Takumi is just like Chili's, you're just saying....you know.

And when was this, again, and who said so?

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Re: you get what you pay for

Postby cubanat » Thu May 10, 2007 9:19 pm

[quote="kulgar"]The raw ingredients at Sushi Muramoto are world class, no frozen mealy toro, and some exotic items like foie gras sushi. The tuna selection is a selection, not just "maguro"; the bluefin is incredible. If you get a bad piece, tell the wait staff. The real genius is Shinji Muramoto who has turned himself into a world class chef, he didn't win the Dueling Chef competition two years running for lack of competition. Give Sushi Muramoto a try, like all start up restaurants give him two tries.
quote]

Dear Kilgore Trout XXXX I mean Kulgar, this screams of what's the term I 'm looking for fellow forons, spam, phishing??? You know what I mean? You make a great point, one that has been made & discussed over on the Sushi Muramoto thread. Most of us love both of the Muramoto restos but what we don't like is people that write/talk down to others. Yeah, I'm not Japanese. I don't speak Japanese. I don't care about anything other than good food (OK I like Japanese women but thats another thread). Takumi has tasty things as does Muramoto, Edo, and while we're at it La Concha, Gotham, Lombardinos, Tornado, Marigold, et.al.

Oh and one more thing the rice wrapped in sweet soy skins that are served at Sushi Muromoto (inari tofu?)pale in comparison to the ones served at Sentry Hilldale. Yeah I know they are not the most hi-brow adventurous things to order but I usually like them and they seem easy enough to execute. They actually sucked so stick that up your world class parasitic egg fearing ass.

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Postby TAsunder » Fri May 11, 2007 8:20 am

I'm going to have to try this place. As of now I have to agree with the newcomer... muramoto's items did seem fresher and the nigiri selection was really impressive.

Seems like if I go, an entree would be the thing to get. Is that right?

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national borders on the Asian continent....

Postby kulgar » Fri May 11, 2007 9:29 am

"I'm aware of the existence of national borders on the Asian continent, and equally aware of the (sometimes subtle) differences that can exist between members of those ethnic groups."

England is not physically part of Europe and the "sometimes subtle" differences have caused repeated wars for the last 1,000 years in that region. Spin the globe the other way and note that Japan is not physically part of Asia. For the most part Japanese consider themselves "western", not Asian. Like England (since 1066), Japan has not been invaded for over 2,000 years by outsiders because of the sea surrounding both countries. That physical, and from 1500 to 1853 the politically enforced, isolation has produced a different Japanese physical appearance, unique culture and language, and an incredible cuisine.

They don't speak French in England nor Chinese in Japan. You might as well go into Brocach and speak French to the waiters as to try and differentiate Japanese from Chinese wait staff if you have little experience with the culture and language. The languages sound completely different, the cultures are different and the people do not look much alike. The Japanese ethnic heritage is a mixture of Chinese, Korean and some Polynesian (with horny Portuguese Catholic priest genes thrown in for good measure.)

OK, maybe some people think speaking broken Japanese to a Chinese person is a way to break the ice and bond with the wait staff. Go ahead, keep trying and do order in French the next time you are in an Irish pub, they'll love it just as much.

Misread and misinterpret at your leisure...

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Re: national borders on the Asian continent....

Postby thebookpolice » Fri May 11, 2007 9:41 am

kulgar wrote:Misread and misinterpret at your leisure...


Well, I can read just fine, and my interpretation is that you're a dick. You, on the other hand, seem to have no understanding of what I'm trying to say. When I write "the (sometimes subtle) differences," that phrase is specifically constructed to indicate that 1) there are differences, and 2) they are sometimes subtle. Implied in that statement is that others are in no way subtle.

I read Shusako Endo's Silence and took a course on feudal Japanese history. You spent four years in Japan. Congratulations. Not everyone can do that, and I'm sure it was fun. But it sure didn't do any wonders for your personality. My experience at least allows me to have an awareness of all the shit you just posted, although I could have gotten it from Wikipedia too.


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