Kushi-Tei of Tokyo is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Düsseldorf. With recent closure of various restaurants as an outcome of the COVID-19 such as Kikaku, one of Düsseldorfs finest traditional Japanese restaurant, Kushi Tei now ranks a quickly shrinking list of outstanding options for traditional Japanese dining. Even though the restaurants interior is rather simplistic, it provided an authentic atmosphere for Japanese and international clientele. Especially with its reduced capacity due to the pandemic restrictions, it is usually fully booked, so reservations are in order for any visit.
The restaurant has a few seats at the sushi bar and a spacious seating area with many tables for small and large groups. Even though the capacity is now limited, the restaurants can cater to a larger audience than most other Japanese restaurants around. There is also an outside seating area that does not provide the same authentic feel as inside dining, but is a very nice alternative, especially during the summer when outside dining is the preferred option. For this visit, we opted for the outside option because it was pleasant and warm night. Also, the restrictions inside the restaurant felt a bit uninviting. So we were happy with our choice and in luck to get seats outside.
Sampling the Kushi-Tei of Tokyo Menu
We decided to go with a selection of the menu exclusives and ordered a moriawase style set to get things started. While we waited, we also had some nice starters. Even though not a typical item on a Japanese menu, we sampled the iwashi tempura (deep fried sardines), which resembled a somewhat Mediterranean experience. The vegetable gyoza were nice and were obviously self made. Another classic were the outstanding tako yaki (deep fried octopus balls) with teriyaki sauce. Even though it were heavy bytes for a hot summer night, it was a good start.
The main plate came with tamago (egg omelet), sake (salmon) gunkan (battleship sushi) with ikura (salmon roe) topping and 6 pieces of maguro (tuna back) maki (roll). The selection of nigiri pieces was composed of hotategai (scallop), unagi (freshwater eel), ebi (shrimp), hamachi (yellowtail), sake (salmon), otoro (fatty tuna belly) and chu toro (medium fatty tuna belly). Of course, they also served some gari (pickled ginger) and fresh wasabi. To say the least, the tuna cuts were outstanding and so delicious that I would come back anytime just for that. The melted in my mouth and had an amazing but subtle texture. The scallop was so amazing, it might very well be the best in town. Also the eel was great even though the chef was a bit shy with the topping. Even the salmon, that usually does not impress me much, was outstanding and delightful excitement. Encouraged by this plate, we decided to get seconds.
Browsing through the menu prompted us to pick some of our favourites from the moriawase dish and add some more specialties. We picked some more pieces of hotategai (scallop) and chu toro (medium fatty tuna belly), which definitely were the best of the night. Beyond that, we went for some karuma ebi (Japanese imperial prawn), hamachi toro (yellowtail belly cut) and aji (mackerel) nigiri pieces. I consider mackerel among my favourite fish and was pleasantly surprised. Most impressively, the yellowtail belly cut was also amazing and absolute joy. It is certainly a rare find even among the fierce competition of Japanese restaurant in the area. Even though we should could have taken even more, we had to call it a night. In my mind, I was already scheduling my next visit to build on this experience.
Sushi Guide Verdict
This dinner at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo was just amazing. It was a busy night, but were lucky to get seats outside and could enjoy the summer night with this excellent meal, even if the outdoor atmosphere is not comparable to the restaurant’s interior. The menu options are extensive and have some rare finds among them that might take a few visits to discover. Taste and quality of the fish was excellent and absolutely among the best options around. Considering the fierce competition in the Japanese quarter in Düsseldorf and the high expectations of local patrons in the largest Japanese community in Germany, this is quite an achievement. The service staff was friendly and forthcoming, but a bit overwhelmed with the high demand during the night. We had an excellent time and enjoyed out experience. For any sushi aficionado, Kushi-Tei is an excellent choice and it can be highly recommended.
Review date: August 3, 2020