To be honest, we were hesitant about making a reservation to Ninja Akasaka, a ninja themed restaurant that claims to recreate the “mysterious art of ninjas”. Most of the themed restaurant put effort into decor, branding (which was wonderfully done by this video production unit), atmosphere, and often times it comes on the expense of the food. After researching online and reading many posts and reviews, raving about the food, we decided to go for it.
Stepping into the restaurant gets you in the atmosphere right of the bat. After a short explanation about the place, waiter\ninja jumped(!) into the room and then led us via a secret passage way(!) which included obstacles, trap doors and hidden traps. We were led on to the dining area, which was modeled like a labyrinthine old Japanese village. As the 1997-esque website of the restaurant mentions “The complex structure of corridors that protects the home of ninjas from enemies brings fun and joy to diners”. Right.
The decor is really astounding, with waterfalls, sound effects and an eerie dark atmosphere. Our ninja\waitress added to the atmosphere by talking in a mysterious ninja voice, or maybe that was just her accent. We are not really sure. The menu comes in a scroll format and several set courses ranging from ¥5,700 ($49\190₪) up to ¥20,000 ($171\660₪). We picked the Tasting Course (¥5,700) and the Yamatodamashii (¥6,999). The first included 8 dishes and the latter 11.
We also ordered Asahi beer (¥880) and Cleopatra <Golden Brilliance> Cocktail (¥1,000) – frosty apricot, sweet liqueur stirred with soda and garnished with rich gold.
The first appetizer to arrive to our table was the Shuriken Star-Blades Grissini. Four star blades were hung on the branches of a plant and were served with star shaped foie gras. This was a fun and tasty opening.
Next, the “cold appetizer of the season” was a Tomato Based Gazpacho. Nothing to write home about.
Today’s special was a Turban Shell Bombs with Garlic Butter, a unique and tasty dish. My only complaint is that I didn’t have more of it.
The fondest memory I have of the Chicken Fritter Ninja Style is how crunchy it was. I guess the ninja style evolves burying your chicken in panko. It’s not stealthy of mysterious but then again I’m no ninja.
When the mystery behind Mysterious dish was unveiled we found out it’s a mediocre croquette. It had a nice creamy texture, but ultimately wasn’t one of the best dishes this evening.
Next up was the Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse), which was a show in itself. The waitress came with the separated ingredients dicing and slicing them before our very own eyes. She then proceeded to place them with heated rocks into a wooden container and poured in the broth, to let it all boil. The resulting soup was simply delicious and flavorful.
Along with the previous dish came the Autumn vegetable cocktail topped with whipped Japanese stock. We originally thought that the dishes were connected and that we had to pour this one into the soup or something of sorts, a concept which made the waitress laugh. We glad we didn’t because taste-wise it didn’t stand out in any way and had very odd frothy texture.
The next 2 dishes were the Capellini with Japanese Tomato Flavor which was just okay, and Ninja-Style Cream Puff which was incredible both in presentation and in taste. Inside the black cream puff hid salmon tartare and avocado. This was one of my favorite dishes.
After all of this food, we’ve finally reached the main dishes. We got 2 different dishes: Salmon Grilled with Saikyo Miso in Rice Porridge Sauce and Lean Beef Steak with Potato Gratin. Both were well executed, soft and tender with tasty sides. The rice porridge sauce was an original addition to classic dish.
At this point another ninja approached us and performed some magic card tricks. I didn’t know card tricks were part of the ninja repertoire but the show was really good! Our ninja magician was not only skilled but also charming and funny, and made his performance feel genuine and personal. We definitely didn’t expect it but it served as a nice addition to our evening.
I really don’t know how we were able to eat so much food but everything on the Sushi of the Season plate disappeared after a few minutes. We had better sushi in Tokyo but it wasn’t at all bad. Once again presentation was spot on!
At last, we’ve reached the end of the meal and sealed it with 2 nice desserts. The kawaii Frog Shaped Cheesecake filled with berries was adorable, but the weirdest thing was that it had Parmesan cheese on top, which didn’t really fit in with the cheesecake flavor. The second dessert was very apple-y, but with so much food we don’t remember much about it.
Eating at Ninja Asakasa is definitely a unique experience. Their dedication to the theme was beyond anything we’ve ever experienced, and the food was well beyond our expectations as well. The dishes had good rhythm to them, and the meal flowed along nicely. If you’re in Tokyo and are looking for a different dining experience, something unique, sometimes bizarre and often quite quirky don’t miss out on this one (but be sure to reserve your table in advance).
Ninja Akasaka Online: