Place to Experience Sake:
Ep. 2 Having Sake with Sushi at Take Zushi in Adachi Fish Market
– I Am Happy that I Am an Adult!

Written by Keita Okubo
Translated by Saki Kimura & Ken Ko

Today, I like to write about a sushi restaurant.

Just to let you know, I am not a sushi specialist. I have no idea what “hashiri” and “nagori” mean. To be honest, I am a complete beginner and don’t know much about the names of fish.

Nevertheless, I introduce this restaurant with confidence because I learned it from the expert who owns a popular restaurant and it satisfied me a lot.

Take Zushi

50, Senju Hashidocho, Adachi-Ku, Tokyo, 120-0038, Japan
5 min. from Senju Ohashi Station (Keisei Main Line)

Three Reasons Why I Want to Introduce Take Zushi

1. Owner of Otsuka Hanaoka Introduced It to Me
Otsuka Hanaoka is the pioneer of the restaurant that serves full course menu pairing with sake. Its owner Mr. Hanaoka told that Take Zushi is a great sushi restaurants where people in the restaurant business often visit.

2. Sushi Restaurant in the Fish Market
Take Zushi is located in Adachi Fish Market, another fish market in Tokyo other than Tsukiji and Toyosu. It means the freshness of their neta (sushi items) is guaranteed. It is a miracle that this place remains undiscovered by visitors and is not a sightseeing destination.

3. It Has a Great Selection of Sake!
Mr. Hanaoka introduced this restaurant as “The best place to enjoy sake.” He actually let me know it not as sushi place but as sake place.

Take Zushi is a wonderful place for me to experience the magic of pairing sushi with sake. This is a luxury that I can only try rarely. I have never compared to the other sushi restaurants though.

Reservation Needed, Book Lunch on Weekdays!

I visited Adachi Fish Market at lunch time. It looks empty maybe because fishermen have already finished today’s work. I found a few restaurants in the market – Oh, this diner looks good.

This is the exterior of Take Zushi. It might not look busy, but it is actually a very popular restaurant. Reservations are mandatory, and it is not recommended to try to walk in. All seats are typically taken up by advanced reservations on the weekends. 

My recommendation is that you visit during lunch hour on weekdays. This way, you can easily make every adult’s dream of “taking a day off to drink sake with sushi, during the daytime” come true here!

The Luxury of Nibbling at the Counter

Sake is served with a traditional style, mokkiri (filled in a glass in a wooden square cup). I admire the beauty of its surface tension.

Take Zushi always carries 20 different selections of sake, and their list rotates frequently. They don’t have a menu for sake: Taisho (the head chef) selects what you drink. My first sake was Hato Masamune Junmai Ginjo (Hato Masamune Brewery @Aomori Pref.).

I ordered shirako (soft roe) since the old couple advised that “This bar’s shirako is so delicious and never fishy.” It was too delicious, and paired extremely well with the sake. This almost moved me to tears of joy!

“Tsumami (nibbles for drinks) doesn’t have to be fancy if you drink sake. Today’s hokki (surf clam) mantle is best with sake,” a regular guy says. “Hey, don’t say that. It isn’t so expensive, but a lot of time and preparation went into it,” Taisho refutes.

Listening to their conversation, I decided to take hokki mantle: its favorable chewiness and medium rare juiciness are wonderful. Searing extracts additional flavors and enhances its natural salinity and aromas, making this the perfect sake nibbler

I’ve already been satisfied with just these.

Taisho’s Sake Lecture is Fun

As this sushi bar is popular for sake, you can enjoy the sake lecture by Taisho who loves it.

For my next sake, he served Suigei (Suigei Shuzo @Kochi Pref.). It has a dry flavor and a short finish, which is good to pair with food.

“Suigei is made in Kochi. This is related to Yodo Yamauchi, the head of the Tosa Domain in the Edo period. He was a heavy drinker. ”Related to this story, Taisho started talking about about Shinsengumi and Adachi area, the neighborhood of this bar.

A small plate of shiokara (salted squid) appeared before me, as a token of his appreciation for those enjoying sake with his food. Shiokara made by sushi chef is matches perfectly with sake.

Shimeharitsuru Jun (Miyao Sake Brewing @Niigata Pref.). It tastes like a behind-the-scenes supporter for food.

When you order sake, Taisho pauses a bit and asks “Have you ever tried XXX?” If you answer “No,” he serves the sake with a smile and starts telling its story.

I really enjoyed our exchange.

“You know, it is difficult to choose for customers because everyone has different taste. Also, it changes depending on how many kinds of sake the person have tried.”

Various conversations come flying out on the counter mainly with regular customers. You can feel his passion towards sushi and sake in each word he utters.

“We have only cold sake. I believe that good sake should be served as chilled.”
“This is the place where people who had already visited a lot of sushi restaurants come,”

Regulars are nodding and drinking sake cheerfully.
The atmosphere that Taisho and customers create makes the sushi and sake taste better.

Finish with Omakase Special Nigiri

Finally, enjoying the atmosphere of the sushi bar, I ordered nigiri.
I have neither sushi knowledge nor photo skill, I just show what I had quickly.

It melts in my mouth.

I can’t say anything but delicious. All neta are awesome. The unity of shari (rice) and neta tastes amazing. When I sip sake during after flavor still remains in my mouth, it enhances umami and sweetness, which creates different deliciousness.

The combination of sushi and sake is wonderful!
As Taisho said, cold sake is the best with sushi. It’s perfect.

When I went outside on a full stomach, I found out it’s still daytime. It’s also wonderful.

On my tippsy way home, I couldn’t stop appreciating for everything in the world, the sea and the earth because I was too satisfied with today’s experience.

I am happy that I could be an adult, and a middle aged guy who can visit such a place.

Gochiso-sama-deshita. I sincerely recommend Take Zushi to you.