This washoku eatery was at the very top of my list, and finally 3rd time’s a charm after being disappointed by previous attempts due to closure/owner’s ailing health at the time.
The full original name of the restaurant according to research, is Ankoya Takahashi. Ankoya referring to House of Monkfish, as the current owner’s father was famous for serving anko nabe (monkfish hotpot stew) during winter time, a fantastic seasonal delicacy. I think they might still offer that during the winter time.
Current owner Takahashi is 3rd generation, and learned his killer cooking skills from his grandfather, and his father. Salt grilled fresh fish, soy sauce braised fresh fish (nitsuke), sashimi, and apparently one of their other secret weapons, ichiyaboshi (salted/dried overnight, then grilled with ridiculous intensity). For a fee of about 500 yen, make it a set, which will include a kobachi (small plate), rice, and miso soup. After all, this is “breakfast food” of champions LOL.
You will likely not find any tourists here (not sure about Toyosu as I have not read up on their relocation and updates), as there is little to no English spoken here, and practically every customer is Japanese…although I have sat next to some tourists from Taiwan who were daring and loved the cooked stuff as much as I did.
To give you an idea how ridiculous this place is… go around 7:30 to 7:45 am. Supposedly doors open at 8 am.
Here the gate is down, but you see light inside. The line goes 3 people per row (maybe 4 at most). Whoever is seated, moves to a particular position and keeps the same sequence…like a letter Z progression for the first two rows.
8:00 am the gates rise…and it’s already a full house inside of diners about 1/3 to 1/2 through the meal. WTF??
I guess this is what happens when regulars and VIPs get to go first…
All counter seats and the spacing is just adequate once you sit down. If you have a backpack and an umbrella, getting to your seat and mounting them on the wall hooks can be a little fun and challenging
Let’s not mess around here. First, decide whether you want to start with just plain cold tea (included), beer (I believe four varieties in bottles, you specify big or small), or sake (it’s likely a Futsushu basically house sake) by Tentaka.
Then get your seafood! Some patrons like having sashimi, but c’mon every eatery has it!
Focus on their cooked fish. For nitsuke they have smaller seasonal fish that can rotate between the four kings of nitsuke fish as well as other seasonal varietals, and what they have will depends on your luck
I believe if you are lucky and depending on the season, you might find kinmedai and even buri for nitsuke
However, their most stunning offering is Kinki, direct from Nemuro, Hokkaido. Chef owner has a knack for sourcing supreme excellent quality fish, typically from the same sources that supply to high end Ginza restaurants, except you’re paying a fraction of the price. With that said, a whole kinki is not cheap, easily 4000 to 5000 yen. However if you are on vacation you need to #YOLO and live it up a little.
I did the 500 yen add on for kobachi, rice, and miso soup.
The kobachi has been consistent for two separate visits: rehydrated daikon (kiriboshi daikon) and satoimo nimono (simmered yam). This was a cold dish but was absolutely amazing
Their next signature is their simmered sea eel (ni anago). The eels are interestingly lean, and braised for quite a long time and are still super tender…to the point where soft bones feel almost non existent. bit of wasabi and this is heavenly as an appetizer. Or you can get ni anago donburi (with rice) which is a more affordable option.
And finally, the Tsukiji Fish Market verison of the Calvin Harris tune
KINKI, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR
An absolutely earth shattering delicious wild deep sea specimen that blows away the nice piece of rockfish you think you had at your upscale Cantonese seafood restaurant. It’s so good that it’s not funny.
So much hot pressure that cooked the fish perfectly, literally flesh falling off the bone, and notice the fish eyeballs flew out and landed in the sauce.
Oh the sauce, you don’t want to waste that…pour it carefully in your rice!! I dislike the fact this establishment doesn’t provide you a soup spoon, so you literally have to pour the plate of sauce carefully onto your rice
6000++ yen for a breakfast is a bit much, but at this hour after waiting patiently in line 45+ mins, this was so worth it that I went back again a week later. What was worse is that this was prior to the Toyosu market move, and they had limited operating days. You miss it, you lose it.
What’s even worse is that they are going omakase and reservations only when they move to Toyosu. And somewhere in the 10,000 range for a set. I am not certain if they will offer a la carte…So during my visit, regulars asked to put their name down for reservations slots in their black book, literally making reservations for a month ahead…
I’m so glad I got to try Takahashi before the move.
Easily one of the best meals within Tsukiji Fish Market ever.