EPCOT


Takumi-Tei brings serenity of Japan, with high-end kaisekis and omakases, to Epcot

click to enlarge Faiyaz Karaclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraWood Roomclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraTakumi-Tei chef Ty Schmittclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraMozaiku roll laclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraPonzu snow crab, toasted tamagogani (dried crab), umeshu reduction, watermelon radish tsukemono, sesame pollen, leek gel, frisee, heirloom tomatoclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraWater Roomclick to enlarge Faiyaz KaraMisoyaki seabass, karikari sushi, shirasu, tsukemono, toasted nori, shimeji mushroom, ocha dashi brothDisney took their sweet time jumping on the kaiseki/omakase train, but when they did, they rode theinto modern-day dining.Takumi-Tei, a dinner-only Japanese restaurant that department store chain Mitsukoshi opened last summer at Epcot's Japan Pavilion, is set to contend with Kabooki Sushi Kadence and others in the competitive pursuit of high-end Japanese dining.And the restaurant is equipped with the sort of truthiness only Disney can buy: Kimono-garbed servers and hosts straight from Japan quietly patrol a transportive and hinoki-scented sanctuary that immediately removes you from the park's spectacle of maddening theatrics.Five rooms, each with their own unique and soul-settling theme wood, paper, stone, earth and water scream "Serenity Now!" (Those of you who tolerate the theme parks solely for your children, a meal here could prove restorative.) Ty Schmitt , who cheffed about at various restaurants in the Naples area (Roy's, Foxboro Sports Tavern, Vergina), oversees Takumi-Tei's roll-free menu of Japanese eats okay there is a mozaiku roll ($22), but it's square and its assemblage of bluefin tuna, yellowtail, red shiso rice, tobiko and asparagus resembles a Mondrian painting more than it does a California roll.Hardly surprising considering Takumi-Tei translates to "House of Artisans. "Thecarte menu is purposefully focused so as to tout the seven-course omakase ($150; $225 with wine/sake pairing) and nine-course kaiseki ($200; $300 with wine/sake pairing) options.We were recently invited to partake in a kaiseki experience inside Takumi-Tei's most intimate setting: the private (and very zen) water room.The sounds inside the 8-seat sanctum are expectedly tranquil: the waterwall's narcotic trickle; the melodies ofmusic; even the hushed voice Schmitt employs when presenting a meal of meticulously crafted and impeccably plated dishes.A shiatsu massage was about the only thing missing.The meal ends with a Japanese tea ceremony that evoked the scene inwhen Rodrigo and Hailey take a trippy voyage through a park of weirdness after sipping on the matcha.Let's just say I can relate.Should you choose to indulge in this special-occasion dining experience yourself, there are few things you should know:1) Dinner prices don't include the cost of admission into Epcot ($109).2) Don't dress like a bloody beach-bound tourist.3) Give yourself 30 minutes to walk from the Epcot parking lot to the restaurant.4) Expect your chef's table experience to take 3-4 hours.5) Exercise the Japanese cultural practice of bowing.To book the kaiseki chefs table experience, call Takumi-Tei directly at 407-827-8504 or email them at takumitei@mitsukoshi-orlando.com For more, visit Takumi-Tei's website

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