Chef Fumi Takeuchi-san, the owner and head chef of Sushi Take, trained at Shimbashi Shimizu (who is widely regarded as one of the very best and most influential sushi masters in Tokyo) and I have heard excellent things about her sushi from a number of reliable sources. The restaurant's high Tabelog score made a visit all the more enticing, so I was really looking forward to trying this restaurant on a recent business trip to Tokyo.
Takeuchi-san is the only woman that I know of who owns and operates her own high-end sushi shop in Tokyo, a remarkable accomplishment considering how male-dominated this occupation tends to be. The fact that she runs her own respected shop in Ginza and has maintained a high Tabelog score since opening four years ago speaks volume about her skills.
The shop is located on the 4th floor of a slightly dilapidated building, in a smaller street in Ginza's 7 Chome area. Some sushi shops are sort of hard to find, and some are REALLY hard to find. This one falls into the second category. If you plan on visiting, give yourself an extra few minutes to locate the place. On this particular night, the eight seat counter was nearly full: my party of three, along with four rather inebriated Japanese customers.
The food at Sushi Take is definitely reminiscent of Shimizu's excellent sushi: old school, big nigiri pieces, great shellfish and kohada, and faultless prep work and knife skills. Sadly, the shari (sushi rice) was not quite as good as I had hoped. It is seasoned with akasu (sake lees vinegar) but lacks in vinegar flavor, and hence has a slightly strange taste that can be best described as "nutty" or "almond-like". The neta, however, is of high quality (again, with the hikarimono and gai pieces being my favorites) and overall I found the sushi to be enjoyable.
Takeuchi-san and staff (one of whom I recognized as a former apprentice at Sushi Taichi) are quite friendly and the shop's atmosphere is relaxed and easy-going. Pricing is fairly reasonable; if I remember correctly the bill came to around ¥22,000 per person for full omakase (otsumami + nigiri) and plenty of very good nihonshu.
If the shari recipe was fine-tuned a bit, I could easily see Sushi Take becoming one of my favorite shops. As it stands, I think the sushi is good and worth a try. As an added bonus, the restaurant is fairly easy to book for now, making it a good choice for those looking for a last-minute sushi option in Ginza.
Below you will find photos of my favorite pieces, along with some additional comments.
The tender and sweet sumiika was wonderful.
The akami from Oma was delicious. I preferred it to the pieces of chu-toro and o-toro that followed it.
Just like at Shimizu, the kohada at Sushi Take stands out. This piece was my favorite of the night.
Very good piece of aji.
Take-san excels at hikarimono preparations. This piece of saba was fantastic.
Tamago (pictured above) was great as well, as was the final offering, a delicious kanpyo maki (pictured below).
7-6-5 Ginza Chuo Tokyo