Nostalgia seems to ooze from the glass front of this bistro
in the classy Nishi-Azabu district.
Experience this subtle, rustic eatery run by a chef who
definitely knows a thing or two about cooking.
Just one street from the Nishi-Azabu intersection, up the road a little way, is a striking little restaurant with a big glass window. It seems almost hidden away, but it exudes a presence that is unique. This is Teikoku Shokudo. Visitors here get a sense of the owner's excellent taste the moment they see the antique door, which apparently came from a passenger boat.
It's difficult to guess from the name, but there is a genuine bistro feel here that lasts well into the night.
The word shokudo means "dining room" in Japanese, and the chef chose it to symbolize his goal of providing guests with an accessible French restaurant.
The simple, nostalgic interior offers guests a warm welcome and the well-cared-for antique lighting and book shelves play a big role in creating the retro atmosphere.
Chef Hirotake Yokota studied traditional French cuisine at cooking school, but after graduating he trained in both French and Italian cuisine. He has a great range of experience, having worked everywhere from Michelin-star restaurants to catering services and food trucks.
The menu is full of traditional bistro items, but these classics are made completely original in Yokota's skilled hands. He harnessed his rich experience to give life to flavours unique to Teikoku Shokudo.
Main dishes are primarily meat-based. The bistro's specialty, the hamburger steak, is made with one egg, a splash of milk and baguette crumbs for every kilogram of ground meat.
Each 200g patty is slathered in sauce, with its simple presentation adding depth to the dish, and the texture is out of this world.
The chef uses fond de veau to make the sauce, adding red wine and finely chopped pieces of butter. The pot is gently heated and turned periodically until the thick sauce is complete.
The richly aromatic, flavourful sauce blankets the hamburger steak, inducing memories of happy days. In this dish, the sauce is truly the star. Chef Yokota's food is both classic and revolutionary, and makes you want to keep coming back for more.