I came upon this Ninja Akasaka’s website while planning a trip to Japan with the Tofugu team; when I presented the idea of going there to the boys, they were excited, to say the least. Even when I started to have second thoughts and tried to talk them out of going, they wouldn’t hear of it. They pouted, they whined, they eventually won me over. Ok, so only Koichi pouted.
So it was, one chilly Tokyo winter night, we found ourselves in Akasaka (赤坂), anxiously awaiting our dinner. “I will be very disappointed if we come out of this restaurant alive,” said Viet.
Despite being run by ninjas, NA‘s main entrance is in plain sight. Maybe it’s a trick, I thought. It wasn’t (the trickiness doesn’t start until you’re inside, silly me). After entering and descending a flight of stairs, we were greeted by our very first ninja, standing in a small, cave-like room, dressed in black and standing behind one of those little hostess podiums. After ensuring that we had made reservations, the host ninja summoned one of his black-clad underlings—a cheery seating/serving ninja named Kuro who burst in with a cheer through a sliding door—to show us to our table.
Kuro led us through a winding, dimly-lit lava-tube like hallway which was, in some places, dangerously narrow and in others, only traversable via a “secret” bridge conjured by, uh, ninja magic I guess. At this point, I was kind of underwhelmed, but trying very earnestly to get into the shinobi spirit and fully enjoy the experience. Eventually we arrived at the “dining area” which is fashioned, I think, to look like a kind of dark and foreboding ninja hide-out, maybe? I guess that’s what the tunnel was for, you know, to keep out hungry intruders and whatnot.
Our table was in a tiny room meant to look like a dungeon (we were bad, bad restaurant patrons), complete with bug (drawings) on the wall and minimal levels of light. Kuro left us in there and said she would be back shortly. The three of us sat around for a while, wondering how we were going to eat our food without being able to see it. Luckily, our ninja saved us from the darkness by yelling something ninjacal outside, causing the lights to flicker on. Very clapper-no-jutsu. When she returned, Kuro presented us each with scrolls, which turned out to be our menus.
Although I wanted to order ala carte (the prices were a bit steep), Koichi and Viet were going with the set courses, so I figured I’d be a sheep and ordered the Surprise (びっくり) Course for ￥7,777, as well. As for how the boys enjoyed their food, I can’t really say, as I was too engrossed in my meal to notice them much. Some of the things were great (as well as showy) such as the vegetable and seafood soup cooked on hot stones and the escargot bombs, which were served with a bang. Some other things were not so great, like the lobster pudding and the foam that was served with so many of the dishes. Why chefs insist on using foam to season/accompany their dishes, I do not know. Maybe they think it makes them cool. Regardless of the reason, I absolutely abhor foam.
Luckily, just in time to take my mind off of the meal’s shortcomings, a ninja magician (English-speaking, because we’re 外人, right?) showed up to entertain and enthrall us. I didn’t think ninjas were required to know card tricks, but apparently I was wrong. While his tricks weren’t anything new, the fact that he did them right in front of us was really fun.
All in all, Ninja Akasaka wasn’t half bad. I would love to go again actually, except next time I would probably have a pre-dinner drink first, to help me loosen up a bit and enjoy the theme-y nature of the restaurant, haha. Also, I would order my items separately to save money, definitely. Oh, and they recently opened a Ninja Restaurant in NY, but I’ve never been, have any of you? How is it?
P.S. How do you guys like the flickr?
Hours: Mon-Sat, 17:00-26:00 and Mon-Sun, 17:00-23:00
Location: Akasaka Tokyu Plaza (1st Floor, on the street)