Takumi brings masterful Japanese cuisine to Nashua

Takumi in Nashua serves a wide variety of sushi. Sun photo by Benjamin McElroy

NASHUA -- Chef Son “Sony” Cao clanged his metal salt and pepper shakers against the hibachi grill and flipped them into the air.

He caught each one halfway into its descent and poured the seasonings atop a generous pile of sizzling scallops, juicy steak and veggies.

The hibachi master's entertaining gig -- which also included creating a fiery volcano out of onion rings -- proved to be just as satisfying as the food at the Takumi Sushi & Hibachi restaurant, which
opened two months ago.

Toru Oga, who also owns Oga's Japanese Cuisine in Natick, has another gem with Takumi (meaning “master”), which also features a dazzling and colorful 12-seat sushi bar with dozens of choices.

The sushi à la carte menu includes items priced from $3 to $7.25.

Entrees at the eatery's five hibachi stations, which seat 14 to 18 people, feature a wide selection of meats, veggies and seafood.

For the high rollers, twin lobster tails fetch $27.95, while the chicken and vegetable dinners are priced at a reasonable $15.95. There is also a children's menu for those 10 and younger.

The Lobster Tempura ($14) highlights a long menu full of popular Japanese appetizers priced from $5 to $14. The lobster is deep fried in light batter and served with a warm and sweet dipping sauce.

Manager Motoi Nakanishi, who points out that all the seafood is fresh, not frozen, has put together a wonderful staff and packed the restaurant full of neat decorations like bamboo, large sake barrels, rocks and an indoor fountain and fish pool.

The bar features two chic flat-screen televisions, modern furniture and lighting that emulates Newbury Street, rather than New Hampshire. But that's exactly the look and feel designers were going for when they spent nearly a half-million dollars in renovations to the old Ming Garden building.

Nakanishi believes the restaurant has filled the void of authentic Japanese venues in the area.

“Very good,” said Nakanishi, referring to business. “The sushi bar has lots of repeat customers.”

The sprawling restaurant, which is located at 197 Daniel Webster Highway, has room for 183 customers.

In about two weeks, Takumi will start its “Teppan Express Lunch” that features a buffet with items from the kitchen and hibachi grill.

Takumi is open Monday-Thursday, 11:45 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday, 11:45 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.

Andrew Ravens' e-mail address is aravens@lowellsun.com.