Hello all!! This is John Watson! I play Mr. Jefferson and others on the Broadway tour of RENT! I know I’m not a regular, but Andy asked me to come on this blog and tell you about one of the most amazing food experiences of my life. As you may know, Rent just finished a month-long run in Tokyo, Japan. This country will open your eyes to a completely new way of eating, but none of the hot spots I went to were as fun as Ninja.
After hearing about it from a friend, my fiancee, Amanda, and I decided to give this fantastic restaurant a try. I say restaurant, but it was really more of an experience. The idea is to immerse it’s customers completely in the ancient Ninja culture.
To start off, even if you know where the restaurant is located it’s still hard to find. The Ninja of Japan used to put great importance on invisibility and misdirection making them appear magical. Once you walk in there is someone to guide you through dark corridors and secret passages until you reach an old ninja village hidden inside the building. This is where you eat! Amanda and I were lead to a room inside an old house where we were shown menus made out of scrolls for our drinks and food courses. I have to say that everything we ordered had flawless presentation and tasted great!
Amanda ordered a spicy sake that was served in a large, bowl-shaped glass garnished with what looked like chile peppers. For dinner she ordered a “floating” sashimi that came in a bowl that you had to see to believe. I ordered a steak tenderloin that was stacked on top of potatoes and topped with an excellent Foie Gras, which I had never tasted before. It was a great way to be introduced.
The icing on the cake for me, however, was the Eel Sushi with Camembert Cheese. I have never tasted sushi that good. We ordered it twice. For dessert we shared an apple gelatin with vanilla ice cream on top. Again, something I had never tasted before, but quite good.
Everything was delivered by a man dressed in a full ninja outfit who would appear suddenly with our orders. As we ate he would visit our table and show us a magic trick. During dessert he presented the “Master Ninja” who came with a case of coins and cards. For the next ten minutes he proceeded to blow our minds with card tricks and coin tricks, even allowing us to help him with a few. We were amazed!
After paying for the meal we were lead through a “short cut” which brought us to the front of the restaurant and were met with a fond farewell from the staff. Amanda and I have not stopped talking about our experience ever since. I’ve heard this restaurant also exists in New York City, but if you want the most authentic experience you must visit Tokyo, Japan and take a subway to Akasaka. Only there will you experience the magic, mystery, and delicacies of Ninja.