Well, it's been fifteen years since Teiichi Sakurai opened the first in an impressive collection of distinguished and exceptional Japanese restaurants in Dallas. Teppo Yakitori & Sushi opened in 1995 and was an immediate success with critics and the public alike - and has remained so over the years. It was followed by Tei-Tei Robata Bar in 1998 and Tei-An in 2008. Prior to opening Tei-An, Teiichi sold the first two restaurants to their respective Executive Chefs - Tei-Tei to Katsutoshi Sakamoto, and Teppo to Masayuki Otaka.
^ Teppo Executive Chef Masayuki Otaka - "Masa" to his many friends.
^ Invited guests line out the door awaiting access to Teppo's 15 Anniversary "buffet."
^ There are many familiar faces and even some past employees in the crowd - and one particular notable guest in the kitchen (a story about him is on the way.)
^ The chairs from the sushi bar and the one row of tables are removed to accommodate the throngs.
^ (at the right) Head Sushi Chef Tomoaki Nishigaya - "Tommy." Not the usual fare, but a selection of traditional braised meats was delicious all the same. Teppo specializes in spectacular sushi, yakitori (grilled chicken), kushiyaki (other grilled dishes), as well as inspired Japanese specialties. - and, of course, omakase.
^ Masa is ever toiling over his yakitori grill; ^Teiichi arrives to deliver a traditional gift - this stunning flower arrangement.
^ My great friends Kim, Bill and James got me hooked on this place 15 years ago, and I still have my birthday here each year. Teppo holds a very special place in my heart - and remains an outstanding establishment.
I will soon follow up with a photo essay of many stunning dishes I've enjoyed here over the years - I have a lot to work with.