Ninja, Akasaka ニンジャ 赤坂
What's a serious blog like mine (tongue firmly in cheek) doing reviewing a shameless tourist trap like Ninja? I mean, this restaurant even appears in the Qantas in-flight video on what to do in Tokyo! Expectations would therefore have to be very low in the food department, even if the ninjas are guaranteed to delight anyone under the age of 12. After a recent dinner at Ninja with a 4 and 6 year old I can confirm that they are indeed delighted by the place - my 6 year old nephew gushing it's the "coolest place in the whole world!". But it's pretty entertaining for adults too. I don't want to ruin the experience by telling you too much about how you get to the table, suffice it to say that the ninjas are surprising, friendly and just a bit tricky!!
Although the ninjas give you some thrills and spills, the food is the biggest surprise of all. Contrary to my expectation, even though we may not be seeing Ninja in the Michelin guide any day soon, the food is quite creative and, overall, very good. We ordered the least expensive set which (for some numerological reason?) is priced at 7,777 yen. After having sampled it I can't imagine how anyone could eat more than that, but there are more lavish set menus on offer.
The first event of the evening was pastry ninja stars served on some twigs with a foie gras spread - now that took some thinking! This was followed by a lobster pudding topped with dried-fried yuzu shreds. Next tempura vegetables served with a soy sauce foam were served. After this "exploding" sea snails were served, which the waitress helpfully set fire to. This was followed by a shot of eggplant with foam, then a tartare of tuna topped with avocado. Following this our waitress took some fresh vegetables in a wooden bucket and added some hot stones as the first stage in preparing a delicious tom yung soup for us (yes I know-Thai?). This was followed by a fish or beef main. I ordered the beef and this came with foie gras in a little covered dish and was not bad. As a final savoury dish we were served some sushi of tempura prawn and some maki rolls of purple rice, which was a hit. Dessert was a sorbet topped with a cream mousse on a bed of stewed fruits. This was topped off by coffee.
The kids had their own plate of yummy things that kids like - such as croquette, hamburger etc and a great little dessert which is pictured here. Our group found Ninja to be thoroughly entertaining, and the food to be of a level that would stand up well even without the theme. I can't recommend the combination of food and entertainment enough which, as a package, is something pretty rare - so I give it 4 stars. The Ninja concept screams cheesy, but it's not - and I'd be happy to take any visitor to Tokyo there!