Farmed sourced food at Tsukada Nojo
An izakaya with a difference
As soon as you enter a Tsukada Nojo restaurant you feel like you have stepped back in time to old Tokyo. You are greeted by waitresses wearing yukata (a lightweight summer kimono) and are escorted to your table where the exceptional service begins. While you peruse the menu, which are also available in English, they bring you bring out cucumber & cabbage to dip in some moromi-miso spread for your otoshi. Otoshi is an obligatory appetizer to have with your drinks which is part of the cost of having a table at an izakaya (Japanese style pub), usually in lieu of a seating charge.
As you crunch on your cucumber you may glance around the rustic style walls and notice they are covered with photos of the farmers and the regional areas where Tsukada Nojo source their food from. The main focus is on dishes using free range chickens from the Miyazaki region in southern Japan. You can get fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken knuckles, chicken sashimi, chicken hearts....it is quite an extensive menu. Alongside some of the moist, succulent chicken dishes we also sampled cheese covered bacon wrapped pan fried onigiri, cucumber salad, fish cakes and foil wrapped mushrooms. However, my favorite dish at Tsukada Nojo has to be the tamagoyaki, a light, fluffy, cheesy, omelety explosion of amazingness. It is so good we usually have to order a second one!
Aside from the delicious food, what I also love about Tsukada Nojo are all the cute little extra touches. The sauces and other condiments arrive in the shapes of chickens or with welcome messages. You get smiley faces and love hearts on your beers and when you ask for your bill you get a thank you message in chocolate sauce with a cube of jelly for a touch of dessert. We have been back to Tsukada Nojo a few times now and these little touches never get old.
And to further encourage you to return, you each get a sample size tub of the moromi-miso spread to take home with you. Winner! I intend on going back to try the avocado sashimi and charcoal grilled pork belly, there just wasn't enough stomach space on our last visit. You also get a 'business card' and when you return you get promoted to the next level of 'management' which gives you extra discounts. As they announce a promotion the whole restaurant joins in the applause which adds to the lively atmosphere.
We have visited the Akihabara, Ginza and Ikebukuro branches, there are over 20 locations around Tokyo. To find the Akihabara branch, head to the AOKI department store, Tsukada Nojo is in the building to the right of AOKI on Level 8. It is a 5-minute walk from Akihabara Metro Atation on the Hibiya line and the Akihabara JR Station. Enjoy!
Photos coutesy of Moira Cotter