Restaurant Review: EaTokyo - A hugely enjoyable meal

By Leslie Williams

EaTokyo Noodles and Sushi Bar

51 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2; Tel: 01-5348576;

A FRIEND visited Sao Paolo in Brazil recently for the first time and has returned full of mouth-watering stories about fabulous quality sushi and excellent Italian food as well as a melting pot of ideas in many of the restaurants he visited.

Brazil has a huge Italian and Japanese population so this was not really a surprise, but it did make me lament our own immigration policies.

Dublin has finally gotten some good Italian restaurants in recent years, but sadly we have virtually no Japanese community from which to draw cooking talent.

We many not have many Japanese, but we are getting some Chinese and Korean chefs and Eatokyo is on Wellington Quay beside the Ha’penny Bridge is one happy result. Despite the name, I asked staff and was told that the kitchen was mainly Chinese but please don’t let this put you off as I think Eatokyo is an excellent addition to the city.

As is common in many Asian restaurants, the menu contains pictures of the dishes on offer — ‘Food Tinder!’ as one of my friends quipped. Pictures of food on the menu or in the window can be an indication that you are in a tourist restaurant or that quality will be low, but it is important to remember that such pictures are very common in Japan and other Asian countries.

We began with Yasai (Vegetable) Tempura — a selection of vegetables including bell peppers, courgette, aubergines and shiitaki mushrooms in ultra crisp tempura batter with a tempura dipping sauce. Too often Tempura in Dublin is over-cooked but this was about perfect with the crisp batter enhanced by the crispness of the vegetables.

Before we had a chance to demolish the tempura, the sushi arrived — eight pieces of Nigiri (raw fish on rice) and pieces of classic sushi roll plus the usual trimmings of ginger and wasabi. Sushi is all about the rice of course, and while this was clean and tasty with good fresh fish, the rice texture and seasoning could do with some work.

However, I don’t want to be over-critical, this sushi was better than most of what is available in Dublin, it is just not anywhere close to Miyazaki levels.

Masago Sushi roll (coated in tiny fish eggs) was better but still perhaps lacked some subtlety.

Gyoza dumplings are more a Chinese tradition (although the word is Japanese, the Chinese word is closer to Jiaozi) but they are commonly found in Japanese cuisine and our prawn, garlic, and chive gyoza (Ebi Gyoza) were excellent with the sweet garlicky prawn filling contrasting well with the dough and enlivened by the dipping sauce.

Beef Kushlyakl — skewers of grilled beef in teriyaki sauce and packed with rich umami flavours followed next and then perhaps my favourite dish — Schichimi Duck which was also the most expensive at €14.50. The duck had been de-boned and deep fried until crispy with sweet-sour flavours, and once again that welcome hit of umami. More umami complexity in the Yaki Udon (€13.90) a generous plate of thick wheat noodles stir-fried with chicken, prawns, and vegetables.

The wine list offers a couple of Sake choices and a plum wine if you want to go native plus a range of red and whites from €22 to €33 including the usual mix of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and Cabernet. The list is better than you would normally see in a noodle/sushi restaurant and also includes a good Argentinian Malbec and a Pinot Noir from the excellent Lawsons Hills in New Zealand. The restaurant also allows BYOB for a very fair charge of €8 which we took advantage of, and then added a bottle of the excellent d’Arenberg Stump Jump at the reasonable price of €25.

This was a hugely enjoyable meal and although I’ve been a little critical of the sushi it is still perfectly good — when visiting next time however I will be focusing more on the noodles and gyoza dishes as well as the duck and beef.

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