The Nishi-Azabu location of Gonpachi is famed for being Quentin Tarantino’s inspiration for the Crazy 88s fight scene in the first Kill Bill film. The restaurant has become a hotspot for visitors to Tokyo; 70% of customers are from North America and Europe. The restaurant covers the first and second floors of the building in which it’s housed. On the third floor, however, is Sushi Gonpachi—and, for a limited time this summer, a sushi-centric beer garden.
Sushi Gonpachi prides itself on its careful preparation of fish, and this carries over into the menu and the atmosphere of the beer garden. The setting for the third-floor location is a small terrace garden (24 seats total, with overflow seating available inside). On the way to the garden, visitors pass a long counter-seating area, where sushi chefs prepare massive cuts of fish before customers’ eyes.
There are two course options; the full sushi beer garden course (¥7,000) begins with an edamame appetizer, then moves on to a tender salmon and scallop carpaccio. Next is a plate of freshly made vegetable chips and deliciously savory, crispy, juicy karaage (Japanese fried chicken). The course finale is a sushi assortment (medium-fat tuna, herring, red sea bream, California roll, spicy tuna roll and dragon roll). While the portions may not seem large for the price, the meal is quite filling. If searching for lighter fare, consider the appetizer course (¥4,500), which includes edamame, vegetable chips and karaage. Both courses include all-you-can-drink beer, cocktails and soft drinks.
If guests are still feeling peckish after the course, they can order additional a-la-carte items, including dishes from the menu downstairs. Each day, fresh soba noodles are prepared by hand at Gonpachi (peek into the main entrance of the restaurant for a chance to see production in action). Their current recommendation is the tempura seiro soba (¥1,280), fresh soba noodles served cold with a dipping sauce and lightly crispy tempura vegetables and fish. Finally, for dessert, head downstairs to the building entrance and order the summer special kakigori (shaved ice), a towering, beautifully presented matcha offering topped with a heap of mascarpone cheese, a dollop of anko (red bean paste) and a sprinkling of gold flakes (¥700). The mascarpone is a surprisingly nice complement to the icy matcha, lending rich creaminess without sweetness (which the anko provides)
This is a beer garden with a nice ambience and intimate feel (though a curious playlist of 90s R&B music keeps the vibe laid-back). Weather-permitting, Global Dining, which manages the location, has opted to keep the garden open through approximately mid-September. Check their website for all the latest information and for a number to call (in English or Japanese) to make reservations. While the Gonpachi Nishiazabu location recognizes its appeal for visitors to Tokyo, they also want to emphasize their strong commitment to quality ingredients and service, encouraging residents to stop by and enjoy a meal.
3F 1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku