Several years ago my wife and I got on a bit of a sushi kick and a couple times a month we’d go out looking for places we’d never been, trying to find the best sushi around. So one day we tried the Tokyo Cafe, and then we stopped trying new places, we just kept coming back. I have no idea why no one in my family had ever been here before. We grew up in Fort Worth and for 25 years our family home was just around the corner and we drove past this restaurant literally thousands of times over the years. But, for some reason, it took moving to the other side of town for 8 years and then coming back to start trying the places that were right in our backyard for so long.
Something about the layout and feel of this place just felt special, and the food was fantastic. It was the perfect place for two people to sit together and be able to enjoy just being together. It made me happy every time my wife and I would go and sit at the bar or at one of the small tables and try new things we’d never had before or sit back and enjoy favorite dishes.
And then one day a couple of years ago I drove by and the windows were boarded up and the front was all blackened. There’d been a fire.
This was really depressing to see, but I had hope that they would be able to rebuild and reopen. And so, we waited. Every time I drove by I would check if they were working on it yet. Months passed and it never looked like anything was happening. So, we continued waiting. Finally last year, after I had all but given up hope, I started seeing work going on, and about 4-5 months ago they reopened.
Now you’d think we would have been back immediately to check it out again, but we were hesitant. It had been so long. Was it even the same owners? Would the food be different? What if it didn’t live up to our expectations? Was it maybe better to hold onto the memories of what was, instead of risking destroying them with what is? But this past weekend we decided to try it out again and let the cards fall where they may.
Walking back in it was definitely different than it used to be. They took the opportunity to fully remodel the place. It was a little cramped inside before and there were a few parts that could have used some work. Now it feels really open and the windows bring in a lot of natural light that makes for a very pleasant dinning room. Although, honestly I miss the sushi bar being more in the middle of the dining room, but that’s a personal preference since I just like watching them work. But, it was the main reason everything felt cramped so I can see what they moved it.
Sitting down and opening the menu made me smile. A message from the owners welcoming people back. Felt good to know the same people still ran it. And the menu still featured some of the same items we fell in love with last time.
We ordered the Bao Buns to start with, which that day were brisket and onion, and we knew when they came to the table we had made a good choice in coming back. They were delicious, perfectly made and a great start to a happy meal.
But what really made the meal special was when my wife ordered the Tokyokonomiyaki. What in the world is that you ask? So did I. From the menu it’s described as “traditional Japanese street food. savory pancake with noodles, egg, green onions, teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, dancing bonito”. So now the question was what is “dancing bonito”? Well in presentation they are magical edible butterfly’s fluttering all over your meal ready to take off at a moments notice. And in reality they are bonito shavings thin enough to flutter in the heat waves coming off the food. But either way they looked mesmerizing.
Things were just like they were before. The two of us sitting at a table building memories around a meal. That special feeling to the place was still there.
I’m very thankful that Tokyo Cafe has been able to reopen their doors and I look forward to future visits.
5121 Pershing Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76107