New York City, NY

Our Visit at GG Tokyo: Small Bites, Big Flavor, Bigger Prices

By Katherine Chin

I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this meal – if we can ever find the restaurant. According to Google Maps, we’ve walked by the place at least two times, and I’m beginning to feel a vague heartbeat of panic when I realize we are right in front of it. Welcome to GG Tokyo.

Short and squat, and disappearing amongst the sea of taller and more statuesque art-deco buildings around us, it has a lot of potted plants surrounding the façade, with a sunken entrance a few feet below ground level. After making several gallant attempts to push open the door when I am supposed to, in fact, pull, we enter. 

The Beverages at GG Tokyo

The first round includes GG Tokyo’s house cocktail, The Golden Monkey. Fantastically, it reminds me of cheese foam tea in the best way possible. The bartender uses a small blowtorch to scorch the cinnamon garnish, and this adds to the heady aroma and bonfire feel of the beverage. 

My eating companion and photographer enthusiastically compliments its creaminess, acidity, and balance. Sweet and smoky, with a very pleasant, rich foam courtesy of the egg white, it is the standout beverage of the evening. The Tomodachi brings back memories of a certain Chinese plum juice that I overzealously consumed in my youth (I regret nothing). Deeply fruity and a touch floral, it is reminiscent of summertime, when stone fruits are at their peak in flavor and aroma. 

The glass is rimmed with furikake, a popular Japanese rice garnish, which adds the familiar pop of salinity while also allowing the surprisingly earthy notes of sesame and seaweed to complement the vibrancy of the overall drink. My companion, who maintains a longstanding prejudice against plums, takes one sip and lets me finish the rest.

Our second round of beverages brings us The Kamikaze, which does not exactly explode in an effervescence of unmatched taste but is nonetheless extremely refreshing thanks to the lemon and seltzer. The sencha flavor is not strongly pronounced but offers just enough gravity to prevent the drink from feeling too airy. 

Citrusy and light, we both agree that it pairs quite well with a seafood-heavy meal. The Mermaid, however, is neither mine nor my companion’s favorite. I taste nothing of the beet-infused rum, nor sake, nor yuzu. In fact, it is difficult to imagine any restaurant patron enjoying this mix of cloying, overly saccharine sweetness with the unmistakable flavor of burnt rubber and diesel. Perhaps this is an homage to the current polluted state of our global oceans? I do not know. I do not recommend it.

The Sushi 

Both sushi rolls arrive simultaneously. My companion goes for the spicy salmon roll first, so I opt to try the GG roll. It is unassuming in appearance but packs a surprising depth of flavor and mouthfeel.
The eponymous GG roll.Photo byPhoto by Christopher Sobel

Each bite-sized piece is a statement of luxury – the perfectly crisp shrimp tempura, velvety smooth avocado, and unctuous salmon belly are designed to captivate the senses and melt into the palate. The roll is spared the questionably unfortunate fate of being deemed shamelessly rich; the seasoned sushi rice and wasabi tobiko keep each bite on the right side of decadent.

The spicy salmon roll is excellent alone. Alongside the eponymous GG roll, however, it does feel somewhat slighted. The quality of the fish is unquestionable; it looks and tastes immaculately fresh. It is also significantly lighter in the mouthfeel than the GG roll, despite the deliciously crunchy sticks of hairy potato. 

Want to read more about my visit? Check out the full review of GG Tokyo.

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