Researching this new little gem, led me to its doorstep with my husband, Kyle, in tow. Now, he isn’t necessarily a fan of Sushi…that’s more my thing. However, Takumi-Tei does serve Wagyu…and well friends…it didn’t take much convincing after I said that one little word.
Takumi-Tei Celebrates Japan
Takumi-Tei is a delight! It celebrates more than just fabulous Japan Cuisine, it celebrates the culture of Japan as a whole! Takumi-Tei is tucked away, around the right side of the Japan Pavilion in Epcot. As we walked up to the door, three ladies in ornate clothing greeted us with welcoming smiles. One of the women led us inside the restaurant and explained to us that Takumi-Tei means “house of the artisans”.
Keeping with the artisan theme, she then showed us the five main elements: water, stone, earth, paper, and wood. The entrance showcases each of these elements and has a haiku for them! Likewise, within the restaurant, there is a room for each of the elements. She had chosen the paper room for us, so she took a moment to read the haiku for Washi Paper.
Each room has its own theme. Even the chairs were similar but different. As we walked into the Washi Paper room, there were pink splashes of color, very feminine and beautiful. The Stone Room, Earth Room, and Wood Room had more rustic, dark features. However, it was the water room that surprised us most!
The water room is top of the line, including a waterfall in the side of the wall! Gorgeous! The table looks like a stream is running through it as well. Very calming. Very secluded. Only one table that seats six people. You can only get it by calling (407) 827-8504 or by emailing email@example.com. You may refer to it as the Chef’s Table when reserving. There are even individual menus with names on the menus in the water room!
Takumi-Tei Celebrates Japanese Cuisine
Speaking of menus, Takumi-Tei does not disappoint concerning their menu. We started out with drinks. After being told that Japanese whisky is much smoother than American whisky…Kyle, decided to put it to the test. He chose Yamazaki…and after the first sip, he was impressed!
This instant love of Japanese whiskey led him to try another whiskey, Hibiki Harmony. Also quite impressive. Which led him into a long discussion about Japanese whiskey with Takumi-Tei’s Manager. I learned more about Japanese whiskey in the next 15 minutes than I ever thought I’d know! If in fact, you are a Japanese Whiskey Connoisseur, take note. Garin, Takumi-Tei’s Manager is bringing a Master Blender into Epcot’s Takumi-Tei for two days, once in October and once in November.
In case you were wondering what drink I ordered, it was a sake – Yuho to be precise. It was refreshing and paired well with the Tasting Menu. Before we started our meal, they offered us warm washcloths to clean our hands. I wouldn’t mind if all restaurants started doing this on a regular basis.
I did order the Omakase Tasting Menu which included Otoshi, Temari Sushi, Nikomi Wagyu, Hashiyasume, Wagyu Tabekurabe, Suiren Dani, and a Tea Ceremony. Sound like a lot? It was. Kyle ordered Ushikai no Shukaku – Cattleman’s Harvest for his main course. Followed by the very new, Hachimitsu Castella, a castella cake with honey meringue for dessert.
The first dish to arrive was the Koma Tofu. This is a sesame tofu with micro wasabi sprinkled on top. The tofu was creamy and had a nutty flavor to it. I usually don’t care for tofu, but in this form, I’d eat it every day! The micro wasabi on top was not only beautiful, but also paired nicely with the tofu.
The next course was Temari Sushi, or Ocean Delicacies. Every dish that was served was beautiful, but this plate was GORGEOUS! There were five pieces: Salmon, Toro, Tuna, Ahi, and Yellowtail. There were two sauces on one side, and fresh wasabi and ginger on the other. Now, Kyle does not care for sushi…which is fine by me, because that meant, all five pieces were mine!
There was even a flower (that purple one) that tasted like garlic. I was a wee bit skeptical when our server told me it would taste like garlic. It’s not every day I eat flowers. However, I ventured into it, and WOW! It was the perfect amount of garlic taste! The two sauces served on the side were sweet and sweeter (that’s code for I don’t remember their names, but they tasted delicious).
The next course was the Wagyu Shortrib and Morrow which can also be found on the appetizer menu. This in and of itself is enough. I could have stopped here and been satisfied! If you visit Takumi-Tei, this is a must order dish! The Wagyu has been braised for 16 hours. Sixteen! It came with a citrus orange and a green wasabi mix of some sort. Both the citrus and the wasabi were delightful with the short rib.
The next course was a cleansing palette. I forgot to take pictures until it was all gone. Sorry. It did come on this little white dish. It had ginger (and I think I tasted salt?) and a grape on it. Sounds weird, but it was refreshing!
Then came the main course, the Wagyu. Now, I’ll be upfront – I ordered medium-well done. Go ahead, shake your head, bring on the disappointment. I tell you this, because if you look at pictures, you will see my food is more thoroughly cooked, and I don’t want you foodie experts to think this is the chef’s fault. It isn’t. It’s mine. I’ll own it, and I have my reasons. Don’t write me nasty emails…it will only be a waste of your time.
Anyways, back to the main course. The Wagyu I ordered had American Wagyu on the left side, and Japanese Wagyu on the right side. Ok, let me just say, you can probably tell from the picture which one is better… AND both tasted de-lic-i-o-sooo…but there was definitely a difference in the American versus the Japanese Wagyu. Not sure if they massage their cows more? Or they don’t let them move as much? I don’t know… but that Japanese Wagyu was to die for! It was much better than the American Wagyu. Never have I had a better tasting steak!
There were also potatoes in a really good creamy sauce, and lobster mushrooms. They were called lobster mushrooms because after they are cooked they smell/taste like lobster. It’s true, they did…and they were great!
Kyle ordered Ushikai no Shukaku – Cattleman’s Harvest. He happily reported his dinner was delicious too! He even tried the mushrooms (which is the first time I’ve ever seen him try a mushroom) …and he admitted it tasted good too!
Now. Now that we were stuffed. It was time for the sweet ending. Staying with the tasting menu, our server brought out Suiren Dani. This is a water cake with soybean crumble, brown sugar syrup, rose salt, and rose petals. This was my first experience with a water cake. Wow! Surprisingly light and refreshing!
Kyle ordered the Hachimitsu Castella, which had only been on the menu a week or so. The cake itself was bland and dense. However, it had a rich and sweet custard with a honey meringue on top and sesame brittle. The sesame brittle reminded me of the candy bar Butterfingers. Kyle disagreed. Either way, we both agreed this cake was top notch! And it was especially good with the Matcha Green Tea.
Right after our dessert arrived, the Tea Ceremony took place. They make and serve the Matcha Green Tea at your table. This is a beautiful way of capturing the Japanese culture. During the ceremony our servers wished us good things. The tea is amazing by itself, and it also pairs well with the sweet dessert.
Part of the tea ceremony is turning the tea cup in a circle. You can sort of see in the picture how my hand is on the side, and it slides the cup in a circle (see below).
Celebrate Special Occasions At Takumi-Tei
The food was spectacular! The atmosphere was beautiful! The cast members were exceptional! If you are looking for something extra special to celebrate and you enjoy fine Japanese cuisine, this is the place for you! If you will be thinking only of the money you are spending when you are eating…this is NOT the place for you….head on over to the quickserve.
This is not only a fine dining experience, it is also an exploration of the beautiful Japanese culture. We give Takumi-Tei a 5-star review! Exceptional in every way! If you are looking for other new attractions this fall, check out our blog on 14 Insider Secrets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We also have 5 Ways to Prepare for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge if you are stopping by the new land of Batuu! We wish you a magical day as you plan your next trip to Disney!