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The exterior of Taku is unassuming—a tidy storefront on a not-trendy block outside Beverly’s downtown strip. The interior is small, with a couple of booths, a couple of tables, and a sushi bar. A TV in the corner is perpetually on the Bob Ross channel—the soothing work of the legendary TV painter creates a calming ambiance while nodding to the artistry in each dish at this sushi spot. 

But the real show is on the plates. Each delicacy is a work of art, presented to be as pleasing to the eye as to the palate. Take the sakura smoked hamachi, for example: It arrives tableside in a black orb that is pocked like lava rock. Lift the top, and fragrant smoke swirls up and around the glistening fish dotted with microgreens, lending the dish a delicate perfume.

Microgreens and tiny flower petals add beauty and gentle flavor to many of the dishes at Taku. The seared ocean trout arrives dressed in a bouquet of tiny flowers, wafting aromas of truffle butter that push the umami up to luxury levels.

Owner and chef Jerry Lin, who has been working in restaurants since he was 14 years old, has put thought into every aspect of his restaurant. His streamlined preparations eschew heavy sauces in favor of putting the spotlight on the fish, with miniature chalkboards on the wall advising diners of menu additions. Most of the offerings come directly from Japan, and Lin seeks out unique fish like luxurious shima-aji and ankimo (monkfish liver), which is a delicacy in Japan. Lin, who worked at Oishii in Boston and several sushi restaurants in New York before landing in Beverly, butchers whole fish to exacting standards, and it shows. If a delivery does not meet his quality expectations, he will not serve it. That occasionally disappoints loyal customers, who arrive hoping for rare tastes, but Lin wouldn’t have it any other way.

Pristine offerings like unctuous fatty tuna, elevated with a slice of truffle, shine for their simplicity. As does the Dragon Eye Roll—impossibly thin strips of crunchy cucumber curl around a center of salmon and wasabi roe, with the whole thing embraced by a half-moon of squid. All the components shine on their own, then come together in a symphony of flavors and textures.

In fact, that’s one of the best things about dining at a sushi restaurant—every bite can be a completely different experience. Such is the case with the chef’s specialty, Taku Kappu, a shot-glass-sized umami-bomb that combines roe, briny-sweet uni, toro, and a raw quail egg. Delicate microgreens sprinkled on top add subtle flavor as well as beauty and texture.

Want more uni? It’s worth exploring the uni tempura. It’s a surprising combination, but the chef somehow manages to preserve the ocean breeze flavor and creamy texture of the Hokkaido sea urchin roe, in distinct contrast to the surrounding bolster-shaped crispy light batter. Staying on the cooked side, try the Grilled Miso Black Cod. Lin adds a subtle citrusy edge to the dish made famous by Michelin-starred chef Nobu Matsuhisa.

Taku has a tight wine and sake list, and just two beers. True to the rest of the menu, they are craft brews imported from Japan.

Beyond the small bites, Taku also offers sushi and sashimi entrées. And we didn’t even get to the foie gras and caviar, nor did we explore the Wagyu beef or the udon noodle dishes. But we’ll be back to this surprising corner of Beverly, where we can get a big city sushi experience with a side of Bob Ross.

289 Rantoul St., Beverly, 978-993-7185,