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Update on Jeff at Tako Grill

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Back in September, Zora posted the rave attached below concerning a sushi chef named Jeff (he of the pink pony-tail) at Tako Grill in Bethesda. About 10 years ago my wife and I had had a thoroughly ordinary and overpriced meal at TG; but Zora's post inspired us to give it another shot. The first two times we ate at TG last month, Jeff was not there, but we had very good meals nonetheless -- with much better sushi than we've found elsewhere in Montgomery County. As it turns out, Tako Grill changed ownership several years ago, unbeknownst to us, and it appears to be a *very* popular Bethesda haunt.

Last night, we took the kids and sat at the sushi bar in front of Jeff. My son and wife ordered sushi a la carte (mostly toro and masago), which was very, very good, and my wife also had some delicious oysters. (My daughter had a very good udon soup.) I asked Jeff simply to start serving me whatever he wanted. It was a great omakase, with impeccable pacing and variety, even though Jeff was innundated with dozens of sushi orders from the restaurant that he turned out with aplomb. Started with a spicy toro sashimi salad, with some delicious sort of roe (masago?) and sauce, and something crunchy. Followed by a series of yummy, impeccably fresh, sashimi and sushi. The sockeye salmon, toro, very fresh octopus, Japanese mackerel and a fish called "wasabi" (unless I misheard him), were especially delicious. I fully expected that my omakase would run up a huge tab, but when added up my food was a mere $27. (That is to say, Jeff didn't try to exploit the omakase in order to realize a huge profit margin, but instead focused on the best selections of the day. Indeed, he dissuaded me from ordering the fugu, which he praised but did not think warranted the steep price.)

In other words, everything Zora wrote was 100% true.

Now, here's the bad news: Jeff is leaving at the end of March or beginning of April to go work in Aspen. If our two prior meals were any indication, Tako Grill will remain a good Japanese choice in Bethesda. But if you want something special, go now, and make sure you sit at the bar in front of Jeff.

Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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  1. Glad you had a good experience, Marty. Bye, Jeff. Too bad for us. Have fun in Aspen, a great place to be young and talented. I've never been there in winter, but have been there several times in the summer-- it is gorgeous, and there's a wonderful music festival and a dance festival at Snow Mass, nearby. Lots of people with big bucks. I hope they tip well, because housing is reportedly extremely expensive.

    1. Hi Folks,
      This is one of my first postings, but after reading the positive things said about Jeff at Tako Grill, I took my daughter there tonite for dinner. I had printed out the posting from Chowhound to show her. When we walked in, we asked to sit at Jeff's station. Although we couldn't sit right in front of him (others were there first), we sat at the Sushi Bar and said the magic words, "omakase" and proceeded to have a fabulous sushi feast. We said we were part of his "fan club" so he came over and talked to us. I showed him the printouts and, in fact, gave them to him. He was most pleased by and grateful for the attention. He had heard about the postings but hadn't read them himself.

      We started with the same delicious salad with some spicy roe, had a fabulous tuna salad with tempura flakes in it (spicy, cruncy and delicious), enjoyed a broiled orange roughy with miso sauce and a variety of other sushi's. Each were presented most attractively on interesting plates. Even the wasabi had a freshly grated texture.

      He IS leaving Tako by the end of March but will be in DC at a French Restaurant called Signature for a while. He said that they have a sushi bar and also carry Kobe beef. He will be out in Aspen after that.

      You can't blame a young fellow for wanting to have new an exciting experiences. He's a talented sushi chef and a heck of a nice person to boot.

      We enjoyed our experience and will certainly try to be back there before he leaves.

      1. Hi Folks,
        This is one of my first postings, but after reading the positive things said about Jeff at Tako Grill, I took my daughter there tonite for dinner. I had printed out the posting from Chowhound to show her. When we walked in, we asked to sit at Jeff's station. Although we couldn't sit right in front of him (others were there first), we sat at the Sushi Bar and said the magic words, "omakase" and proceeded to have a fabulous sushi feast. We said we were part of his "fan club" so he came over and talked to us. I showed him the printouts and, in fact, gave them to him. He was most pleased by and grateful for the attention. He had heard about the postings but hadn't read them himself.

        We started with the same delicious salad with some spicy roe, had a fabulous tuna salad with tempura flakes in it (spicy, cruncy and delicious), enjoyed a broiled orange roughy with miso sauce and a variety of other sushi's. Each were presented most attractively on interesting plates. Even the wasabi had a freshly grated texture.

        He IS leaving Tako by the end of March but will be in DC at a French Restaurant called Signature for a while. He said that they have a sushi bar and also carry Kobe beef. He will be out in Aspen after that.

        You can't blame a young fellow for wanting to have new an exciting experiences. He's a talented sushi chef and a heck of a nice person to boot.

        We enjoyed our experience and will certainly try to be back there before he leaves.