True, Traditional Japanese Cuisine in Cabo

BY: DAVID FLORES

Opened five years ago just before hurricane Odile hit Cabo hard, Daikoku restaurant owners Mako and Yoshika Saruta (father and daughter) had to work in repairs to open again a few weeks later.

This is not your usual Sashimi and Sushi rolls eatery. To start, it is a gorgeous restaurant with a Japanese feel that you will not find anywhere else in Cabo. Walk in over a wooden bridge, and you will be in a garden surrounded by fish ponds and greenery. This is the outdoor eating area with water cascading from your table and a couple of Teppanyaki grills where the cooks will prepare your order right in front of you.

To your right, there is an underground cava where you can also have your lunch or dinner served. It’s a must to visit. Continue on and step up to the indoor, air-conditioned dining room with glass flooring. Yes, you will walk on glass while looking at sand designs underneath your feet. There is a large bar (no bar stools, though) and a glass showcase with bags of Japanese food, wine and sake items for sale.

Mako and Yoshika are not new to the restaurant business. They own and operate five restaurants in Mexico City, two in Tijuana and our very own Daikoku Cabo, and commute constantly to oversee their operations.

Now, down to the food. I have been a regular since Daikoku opened, and I’ve never been disappointed. The first time, I looked at the menu in awe. I counted 145 items to choose from, plus a dozen desserts!

The variety is astounding. You can order Sunomono (Japanese salads), warm or cold appetizers, soups, Kushiage (deep-fried skewers), Tempura, breaded and fried dishes, Battera (special pressed sushi), cooked fish, Sashimi either thin or thick slices, Sushi rolls, Sushi Moriawase (assorted fish and seafood, 12 to 15 pieces), crispy noodles, steam noodles, Ramen, Udon (noodles served in broth), Teppanyaki or Teriyaki, dishes cooked with sweet-and-sour sauce, a dozen different bowls of rice, makimono rolls. You name it. And do not forget to ask the Captain for the day’s specials, as they vary from fresh, live lobster to Geoduck clams or blue tuna cheeks (also a favorite of this foodie).

For desserts, you can order from 5 different ice creams, Tempura Ice Creams, Camelia (coffee jelly with syrup and Kahlua), banana ice cream and assorted cakes.

The full bar includes several domestic and Japanese beers, sake, and my son’s favorite, Calpis. This is a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink, manufactured by Calpis Co., Ltd. headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo. The beverage has a light, somewhat milky, and slightly acidic flavor, similar to plain or vanilla-flavored yogurt or Yakult. Its ingredients include water, non-fat dry milk and lactic acid, and is produced by lactic acid fermentation. In North America, the name Calpis is changed to Calpico.

They also feature occasional Wine pairing dinners and Sushi Cooking classes. Their next wine pairing is this Friday, November 8, with two seatings at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Overall, the prices are well under those of other Japanese restaurants in Los Cabos. The service is attentive, the music is non-obtrusive, and they offer home delivery service. And oh yes! Important! They have valet parking!

Daikoku is located in Cabo San Lucas’ main drag, sandwiched between the downtown Casino and the Subway sandwich eatery. For reservations, call 624-143-4038 or look up their photos and menu at www.daikoku.mx