Ten-Sui is one of the city’s most attractive Japanese eateries.
Physically, Ten-Sui is one of the city’s most attractive Japanese eateries. Its magnificent grounds and handsome patios and interiors alone make it worth a visit. Then there’s the food, which is excellent, made from top quality imported ingredients, expertly prepared and served up by waitresses in striking traditional dress. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the prices at Ten-Sui place it beyond the means of most of us, making it more of a special occasions (or expense account) kind of place than your regular sushi-ya or izakaya. Ten-Sui is primarily a kaiseki restaurant, and here these multi-course menus run B2,500-9,500, not including drinks. If you’re extremely careful, it is possible for two people to eat for less than B3,000, however. On the a la carte side, Ten-Sui does an amazing array of foods—fried, grilled, hot stone, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, sushi, noodles and rice dishes—and somehow manages to keep standards high, which only a handful of similar establishments in this town can do. Like everything else here, the menu itself is beautiful and well-organized, albeit limited to Japanese and English transliterations. (But the captain and some of the servers can describe the dishes for you in Thai, if necessary.) The drink list, featuring a selection of sake and wines from around the world, is similarly impressive. If your accountant won’t allow you a kaiseki set, at least treat yourself to some exquisite sashimi. The smallest sashimi moriwase (mixed) platter will set you back B1,300 for nine pieces; on our recent visit it featured two different cuts of glisteningly fresh imported tai (sea bream)—outstanding, but we would have preferred greater variety—and thick cuts of heavenly toro (fatty tuna) that melted in our mouths like ice cream. The fish was elegantly arranged on a platter with ice, boiled radish sprouts, several kinds of fresh seaweed, flowers and quality wasabi. Even common dishes get the same attention to detail; the chawanmushi (steamed egg with seafood) is made with a tasty dashi (broth) and unexpectedly topped with plump ikura (salmon roe). Another (affordable) standout dish is yakogamo kaminabe, tender slices of duck breast cooked in broth in a paper “pot” at your table along with mushrooms, tofu, glass noodles and mizuna (mustard greens). Also memorable was a complimentary starter of plump baby octopus in a black sesame sauce and topped with wolfberries. The only dish we weren’t particularly crazy about was a similarly creative item called Ebi Zen Cream Cheese, flattened deep-fried “crackers” made of flattened shrimp served with tiny cubes of miso-pickled cream cheese. It was interesting and well-executed but not worth the effort. Though housed in a four-story building on land with a large footprint, seating is actually very limited at Ten-Sui—there are a few private tatami rooms on the second floor and only six or seven tables downstairs plus a sushi bar—so reservations are a good idea. Corkage: B500.