A Whole New World
The new Daikoku restaurant transports guests to Japan
By Sandra A. Berry
According to Japanese mythology, Daikoku is a happy-looking deity who is the provider of food and god of Earth, agriculture, and the kitchen. It’s also a fitting name for the newest addition to the fast-growing list of Los Cabos international restaurants. And the family-owned business is quickly earning accolades from locals and visitors who have enjoyed an unforgettable dining experience and sampled the smart menu.
The authentic setting impresses from the moment you arrive. A local architect used a striking fusion of natural elements—wood, water, and light—to carry out the owners’ vision of a traditional, architecturally accurate Japanese restaurant: There’s a Japanese garden bridge over a goldfish pond that serves as a transition between the busy urban street and the tranquil Daikoku, as well as a moving water wheel that was brought over from Japan and constructed with Japanese cypress wood handmade without nails or screws. As you enter, you pass live bamboo plants, walk over black metamorphic slate rock, and drop your jaw at tables that are filled with water creating overflowing waterfalls into the pond from one end of the tabletop.
Decorative concrete statues are strategically placed in the alfresco dining area. A misting system, oscillating fans, and umbrellas keep diners cool and comfortable throughout the garden.
A few steps take you from the garden to glass doors that open automatically to the upper dining area. Immediately facing is an intricate and colorful authentic wedding kimono called uchikake that is encased in glass. As you step on to the floor and look down, you realize it is made of glass with space underneath. But don’t worry; there are steel girders, large beams that span and support the framework of thick glass. You soon realize there is Zen garden below. The word for this in Japanese is karesansui, which means dry garden. A Zen garden—or stylized landscape with strategically placed natural elements—can be installed anywhere and as large or as small as a container on a desk. In case of Daikoku, the Zen garden is located three feet below the seating area. There is a floor of sand that’s raked in patterns with ripples and swirls depicting the natural movement of rivers and seas and stones as islands. It is intended to imitate the essence of nature.
Japanese have a special feeling for wood, and here is an excellent example of the use of wood strip panels throughout the air-conditioned dining area creating walls and area dividers.
Handmade Japanese dolls are on display in lighted niches. They were made by Kyugetsu, one of the largest doll makers in Tokyo. Female servers wear kimonos as their uniform, some even with the Japanese zori sandals. For a nice memento, diners can don happi coats and take photos.
The Japanese flair in the decor complements recipes that date back to early Japan. Many items, though, are adapted to the locale. The dining area boasts a supurb sushi bar that features innovative rolls. Traditional Japanese sushi is fused with ingredients, flavor combinations, and presentations that appeal to the region’s sophisticated clientele.
Every aspect of your dining experience will be unforgettable once you taste the ingenuity of Japanese-born chef Taka. Savor new and old Japanese cuisine from throughout Japan.
Rather than an expansive lunch menu, there are lunch boxes that are served weekdays from noon until 6 p.m. in black lacquered finished boxes decorated with popular Japanese motifs often related with good fortune. The lidded bento boxes have compartments inside that contain various dishes, depending on which box you order: the Ume, the Matsu, or the Take. Prices vary by box.
The biggest trend in the sake world is sparkling sake, lightly carbonated with complex flavors similar to a sparkling wine. The trend started in Europe, and, due to the popularity of wine, Japanese restaurants started serving the sparkling variety in wine glasses, as does the sommelier at Daikoku. A cava, or wine cellar, houses a variety of international wines, and Japanese beers are available as well.
Daikoku welcomes couples, families, and large groups; there’s seating for up to 150 and a small party room for private entertaining. The dinner menu is distinctive with inventive sushi and Japanese fare that is mind-boggling to the eye as well as the palate.
The family who owns Daikoku has been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years and has four Daikoku locations in México City. In fact, three generations have been involved in the industry. The Cabo San Lucas location opened in May 2014, and it is the first location out of México City.
If you want to experience Japan without leaving Cabo San Lucas, look no farther than Daikoku.