A dining place where 3 difference scenes are presented
A dining place where 3 differe...

A dining place where 3 differe...

A dining place where 3 differe...

By Keiko Fukuda

In the past few years, the city of Irvine in Orange County has been having a construction rush with condominiums and town-houses. There, located just a few minutes from the 405 Freeway, there is a shopping mall always busy with many Asian residents. In this mall, you can find every Asian food you can think of; a Taiwanese bakery, a Japanese curry shop, a ramen shop, a revolving sushi place, Korean grocery store, etc. In one corner of the mall, a restaurant bar that serves original dishes called “Tokyo Table” stands. You can see lively young people on their patio from outside until very late at night. This restaurant is open until 1 a.m. on weekdays, and 2 a.m. on weekends.

Due to the location being in a college campus town, you expect a sports bar like setting for young people; however, business people in the surrounding areas come for lunch meetings, and families come for dinner as well. Between 10 p.m. and closing time is happy hour, and so is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. You can enjoy bargain prices twice a day.

“By setting 3 distinctively different scenes, lunch, dinner, and mid-night, we are trying to appeal to a wide range of customers,” says Mr. Takahide Kukidome, the Director of Operations. After seeking satisfaction for all ages and genders for a long time, the number of menu items has expanded to 120 items. He says, “We offer a lot of different things; steaks, sushi rolls, ramen, and side dishes, etc. All the traditional Japanese menu items are the very close re-creations of the recipes developed by Japanese chefs.

In addition to the traditional Japanese cuisine such as sashimi and tempura that go the royal road, they also offer some very creative untraditional menu items. The typical one is their original dish, “Sushi Pizza”. It looks just like a pizza, but it is prepared completely differently. Rice is spread on a sheet of sea weed, then mayonnaise and seafood is applied, and topped with Jalapeño pepper before it is oven-baked. American sushi lovers like crispy texture in sushi, but I, a Japanese, never cared for the stiffness of rice. However, this sushi pizza has a chewy and fluffy texture of true rice, and sweetness. Not only that, all the ingredients are so well balanced, and create a superb harmony.

Kay Doling who is in charge of marketing told me something interesting about their menu. “Our menu uses Japanese words, for instance, Ika Maruyaki for the grilled whole squid, and Karaage for fried chicken rather than giving translations.” You may question if non-Japanese customers can understand them, but first of all, they can see the photos of the dishes on the menu, and second of all, it is a strategy to create communications between the customer and the server by the customer asking the server what they are. Another purpose, according to Mr. Kukidome, is to reach his goal to permeate Japanese cuisine into the American market with the real Japanese terms.

Well, bringing out the whole concept of an extended menu that appeals to a wide range of customers, reasonable pricing, casual ambience, and friendly services, another Tokyo Table will be opening soon in a mall in the city of Alhambra. It will be in a corner of the mall, another ideal location just like the Irvine one. The space is even bigger with 210 seats compared to 190 for the Irvine store. I wonder if they intend to adapt the successful case they have made in Irvine to expand their business nation-wide in the future. They definitely make me look forward to the future development of Tokyo Table.


ここ数年でコンドミニアムやタウンハウスの建設ラッシュが続く、オレンジ郡アーバイン。中でもアジア系の人々で大盛況のショッピングモールがフリーウェイ405号線から車で2、3分の場所にある。ここに来れば、台湾のベイカリー、日本のカレー、ラーメン、回転寿司、韓国系のスーパーマーケットとアジア系の食はほぼ網羅されている。そのモールの角地に立地しているのが、創作料理のレストランバー、Tokyo Tableだ。深夜まで若者たちで盛り上がるパティオの様子が通りから伺える。実は同店、ウィークデイは深夜1時、週末は2時まで営業している。




メニューに関してはマーケティング担当のケイ・ドーリング(Kay Doling)さんが面白いことを教えてくれた。「当店のメニューはイカの丸焼きをそのままIka Maruyaki、また唐揚げもFried ChickenではなくKaraageと表記しています」。それで日本人以外の顧客に伝わるのかと疑問だが、実際はメニューに写真を掲載することで目で見てわかること、さらに「Ikaとは何でしょう?」と顧客がサーバーに質問をすることによってコミュニケーションが生まれる効果も期待した作戦なのだそうだ。さらに久木留氏によると「日本の食文化を名前ごとアメリカ市場に浸透させたいという意気込みの表れ」でもあるとか。

さて、幅広い層にアピールする豊富なメニューとリーズナブルな料金設定、カジュアルな雰囲気の店内、フレンドリーなサービスというコンセプトをそのまま持ち込んで、新店舗が近くオープンする。アルハンブラのショッピングモール内、しかもアーバイン店と同じく角地という絶好のロケーションだ。アーバイン店にも席数は190あるが、アルハンブラはさらに210と巨大空間を確保。アーバインでの成功事例を今後は全米各地に応用させていくのか、今後が楽しみなTokyo Tableだ。

Tokyo Table
2710 Alton Pkway, Irvine Ca 92606 (Diamond Jamboree)

Sun – Thurs 11:30am-1:00am
Fri – Sat 11:30am-2:00am