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Tokyo is a family-run, Japanese-cuisine restaurant, of modest size, and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s situated on a prominent corner in downtown Whitewater, along Main Street. That first sentence establishes the perspective from which one should consider Tokyo: it’s a small, family-run Japanese restaurant. It’s a pleasant surprise, and happily recommended.
Across America, there are sushi bars and Japanese restaurants of a modern, steel and glass décor, impressive mostly in how austere – sterile, really — they are. Somehow, we’ve foolishly come to see that style as a standard by which we should view Japanese restaurants. It’s a mistake, as there’s more life and joy in a softer, soothing atmosphere like that of Tokyo.
I’ve never wanted to eat in a poorly-illuminated version of an Apple store, in any event. Tokyo is fortunately far from that prospect.
The décor is a bit aged, but pleasant. One enters to find a sushi bar directly ahead to one’s left, and a small number of tables to one’s right. A hostess & waitress seats patrons, and one has a choice of sushi, appetizers, main dishes of Japanese or Chinese cuisine, and tea, sake, beer, or wine.
The tuna and salmon sushi were both properly cooked an presented. They were the right texture, flavor, and like all the food served, presented nicely on matching white plates.
I kept to the Japanese cuisine, with main dishes including chicken and scallop teriyaki. The sauce for the teriyaki was light, flavorful but unobtrusive. Of appetizers, the fried calamari was good, but a portion of seaweed even better.
Sake is often considered rice wine, other times more like beer (I’d say it’s closer to the latter). It’s served hot — although it can be served cold — and was at the right temperature, with a mild, pleasing aroma. A sake bottle (a small carafe) and cup are suitable for one person, or two sharing. Although one sometimes hears that sake is very strong, it’s not overpowering, and nicely accompanies either fish or meat (but especially fish).
The green tea is agreeably mild, and just hot enough to enjoy with one’s meal. Water, sake, and green tea: the three will serve patrons well through any selection on the menu.
Tokyo is not a formal place, but it is an attentive one. Although one may begin with one server and end with another (from among the same family), the service is friendly and relaxed throughout.
Toward the end of my meal, our waiter offered some ice cream. That’s less common than it used to be: older diners will remember when one received something mildly sweet to end a meal. Those items may be on a menu, but are seldom offered without asking.
One would be mistaken to dismiss the gesture as overly quaint, etc. On the contrary, I think it was generous, and almost sweet.
Both visits were enjoyable; more than I might have expected. Go, open to a family-run establishment in a leisurely atmosphere, and you’ll find well-prepared and presented food. I think you’ll enjoy yourself.
LOCATION: 161 W Main St, Whitewater, WI 53190 (262) 473-3000. See, Google Map directions linked at the beginning of this review.
OPEN: Daily until 10 PM (Fri & Sat to 10:30 PM).
PRICES: Sake, sushi selection, and main entrée for under $20.
DRINKS & WINE: Sake, wine, beer.
SOUND: Moderate volume of background music – selections are soothing without being dull.
SERVICE: Friendly, attentive, at a leisurely, relaxed pace.
VISITS: Two (dinner).
RATING SCALE: From one to four stars, representing the full experience of food, atmosphere, service, and pricing.
INDEPENDENCE: This review is delivered without financial or other connection to the establishment or its owner. The dining experience was that of an ordinary patron, without notice to the staff or requests for special consideration.