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The Oak Door: A fiery rebirth for a Tokyo heavyweight

by Robbie Swinnerton

Contributing Writer

The Oak Door is back in action. For the past 15 years, the Grand Hyatt’s flagship restaurant has been a Tokyo fixture, a monument to man-sized steaks, heavyweight wines and power dining. That was until a chimney fire in early 2017 necessitated a year-long hiatus. Now, like a phoenix from the ashes, it’s been reborn sporting a well-earned face-lift.

The ceilings feel airier, and the bar is now screened off from the dining room. But the biggest changes are in the kitchen. Two glowing charcoal pits have been installed to replace the flickering open ovens that gave the meat here so much of its flavor, alongside a couple of high-end broiling ovens. The message is clear: The grill is still king at The Oak Door.

Patrick Shimada, the new head chef, isn’t about to mess too much with success. The cuts of meat are as impressive as ever — witness the signature 1.6 kg F1 (a Wagyu-Holstein cross) Tomahawk steak — and the classic, smoky Oak Door Burger is every bit as satisfying.

But Shimada’s also thinking outside the old box. His new Garden Burger, based on goats’ cheese, eggplant and red bell peppers, makes a lighter and very welcome lunch alternative that feels instantly at home on the restaurant’s sunny and more casual outdoor terrace.

Open daily 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. (bar until 12:30 a.m.); lunch menu sets (till 2:30 p.m.) from ¥3,100; dinner a la carte; nonsmoking (smoking allowed at the bar); English menu; English spoken