Takami: a culinary oasis for Edmonton sushi lovers
Raw fish fanatics will relish in these fresh, flavourful offerings
Takami is situated at the confluence of Allendale Road and 61st Avenue, between 104th and 106th Street, creating an island — fittingly — in a sea of business development on Edmonton's south side.
You'll find the usual raw suspects: salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, octopus, and shrimp, but it is the fresh fish arriving thrice weekly from Japan and New Zealand that makes a splash.
The cuts of Bluefin tuna are worth noting: akami (lean red), chutoro (medium fatty) and otoro (fatty belly), and while you could opt for the less expensive and more common Yellowtail, diving in to these cuts of Bluefin tuna will be an experience you won't soon forget.
'One bite and you'll be hooked'
Otoro, the fattiest of the three, is visibly marbled, pink in colour, and topped with a tiny gold flake; the flesh so rich it drapes under its own weight. Fair warning: one bite and you'll be hooked.
The kuro dai and madai, of the Sea Bream family, are in complete contrast to the fatty tuna. The kuro dai is mild and tender; the madai slightly sweet and lean.
Takami may be the only sushi restaurant in the city that prepares unagi (eel) from scratch. The freshwater eel, like the kuro dai and the madai, is part of Effing Seafoods' fresh-never-frozen inventory from New Zealand.
The eel is prepared in-house and is unlike the pre-packaged unagi typically seen on other sushi menus. This unagi is firm in texture, mild in flavour, and worth the price — that being double of the pre-packaged, overwhelmingly sweet, regular unagi.
Fish of such quality deserves to be presented with care, and the itamae (sushi chefs) at Takami excel in this department.
Expertly sliced pieces of colourful sashimi come set amidst flora, fauna and brightly coloured blocks of ice. It is as much an art piece as a serviceable platter on which to present the fare.
Takami falls short in the inside-out Chop Chop roll, the rice and nori too loosely formed, making it a challenge to have the portion arrive from plate to mouth in one piece.
The consensus on the beef tataki is that the tender beef could benefit from a zestier ponzu, and less of it.
'The finest raw fish'
Still, the presentation makes up for any annoyances: the red slivers of thinly sliced meat are dressed with dark green curls of seawood, scallion, and strips of red onion and radish.
The room is decidedly devoid of bamboo and other mass-made decorations typically found in sushi chains and mall kiosks. Takami offers a comfortable, modern space outfitted in high-end furniture and fixtures.
You may want to spend considerable time here, especially once the sake selection is ramped up to where it deserves.
For now, content yourself with a glass of chilled Takara plum wine, and feast on some of the finest raw fish offered in Edmonton.
You can hear Campbell's reviews on Edmonton AM every second Friday. You can also see more of her reviews on her blog, Weird Wild and Wonderful, and can follow her on Twitter at @wanderwoman10.