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Everything posted by kazuo

  1. MJS: I don't know the place you've described, but here are a couple of options (all in the "piece by piece, cook to order" vein): Hayashi 03-3241-5367: small shop, one seating only, located in Nihonbashi and hard to find (I still get lost), you eat what the master deems best Yamazato 03-3582-0111: has the advantage of being located in the Hotel Okura, so finding it is no problem, ask specifically for the tempura counter, if you order a set, the chefs will show you what they're going to serve and you can substitute items that you dislike There are also a couple of chains with many shops throughout Tokyo, Tsunahachi being the lower budget place and Ten'ichi being the more upscale. Well executed tempura is generally a bit of a luxury, expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000-20,000 yen (more if you opt for Hayashi) per person. I'm sure you know this already, but if you're going to a shop that you've not been to before, you may want to request that they fax a map to your office/hotel. Have fun.
  2. We keep a good stock of Menetou Salon and Muscadet. I second the earlier recommendations for the 04 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc and the 04 Leflaive Bourgogne (we still have some of the 92 and 96 Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc, both of which are still drinking beautifully). Also worth looking for are the Villaine Rully and the Cote Chalonnaise Les Clous.
  3. kazuo

    TN: Recent wines

    Jim: Those Thomas pinots are something else, aren't they? They're hard to come by in Tokyo, but when I see them, I buy. Really lovely wines. I also wanted to thank you for your notes on the 2004 Villaine Cote Chalonnaise Les Clous. Your notes were so evocative that I had to try the wine, loved it and bought all I could find here in Tokyo. Should do well as the house pour starting in the summer of 08.
  4. kazuo

    Christmas Wines

    With assorted sushi and other nibbles: 96 Egly Ouriet With roast beef, veg, etc.: 99 Lafarge Volnay Vendages Selection and 97 Insignia With assorted cheeses and desserts: 97 Cuvee Constance and 01 Yquem (the latter sacrificed in the name of science, of course)
  5. Jim: Nice wines indeed. Glad to see the 99 Grands showing well after all the concern about its relative youth; I suspect it had been decanted rather far in advance. The 82 Lafleur has taken a while to come around, but I agree that the best examples (like your bottle) are magnificent. FYI, the 85 Krug has been recently re-released and a few bottles remain in the shop downstairs from your office. Did you source the Huet there as well? I hope January 20 goes as well as this night did.
  6. Agreed re Imai-ya. Our office uses it all the time for various get togethers. Some others to consider on the upscale-ish side: Bird Land (Ginza): 5250-1081, superior raw materials, quite a bit of attitude, still some of the best yakitori I've ever had. Easily accessible from Roppongi via the Hibiya line. Shamo-sho (Nishi Azabu): 3498-3271, not a yakitori-ya per se, but has excellent shamo yakitori. Easy walk from the Grand Hyatt. Both places will require reservations in advance, Bird Land much more so than Shamo-sho. I still prefer to wander down to Yurakucho or Shinbashi and walk into the smokiest, noisiest place I can find. Enjoy.
  7. kazuo


    Now that is some fabulous gyu tataki. Wow. Do you ever use bincho-tan in an outdoor grill for tataki, or is it too much trouble unless you're cooking other things? I've found that the bincho-tan imparts a bit more char and smokiness than a gas burner. Have you ever tried toro salmon tataki? Roughly the same concept as katsuo, but the fat content in the salmon makes for a very rich dish. We tend to serve it with momiji oroshi, which might also go well with the gyu tataki.
  8. kazuo

    TN: Tokyo Offline Group

    Interesting selection of wines there. A friend has been after me to open some of the 2003 Clos de Papes; apparently it is getting quite a lot of hype on the Squires board. Our impressions were similar to yours, we decanted it for an hour (although I did sneak a glass when I opened it and found the wine surprisingly forward). By the end of the evening (total of about 4 hours from the initial decanting), I thought the raisiny, roasted fruit quality was starting to get overwhelming. The 2003 vintage in France seems to have produced a lot of atypically big wines. Have not had any bords yet (and don't plan to), but we also opened a 2003 Roumier Chambolle Musigny (village), and my initial reaction was "hey, who poured the Loring in my glass?" Quite atypical for Roumier, I thought, and we opened the 99, 00, 01 and 02 just to confirm. Lastly, how was Cuisine 219? Worthwhile for an offline? Did you have a chance to check out the wine list?
  9. Sorry to be late in replying. I didn't find La Rochelle to be that good; perhaps I caught a bad day. If you are looking for Franco-Japanese, I would vote for Hotel de Mikuni. In any event though, enjoy your trip and let us know if you need any more info.
  10. There are two pinned threads in the Japan forum, one covering restaurants in Kansai (which includes Kyoto), the other covering restaurants in Tokyo. There should be quite a lot of useful info in those threads. If there are particular types of food that you want to try, please let us know. By the way, I wouldn't recommend La Rochelle if you're referring to the restaurant owned by Iron Chef Sakai. If you have an interest in French food or Franco-Japanese, there are far better choices.
  11. kazuo

    Tasting notes request

    Only had a few of these as follows. 91 Montelena (12/04): gift from friends visiting from the US, superb balance and none of the over the top California cab opulence, had a strange green note mid palate that most of us attributed to travel shock (with burgers). 98 VT Le Crau (3/05): still hard and a bit hot, nose wasn't showing too much at first but then blossomed after about an hour (fine with lamb sandwiches). 96 St Hune (2/05): too young, reticent nose and all mineral, flint and iron on the palate at first, later crisp but the acidity seemed just a touch tough (with raw scallops, sea urchin and salmon roe over sushi rice). 99 St Innocent, Cristom and Drouhin (11/04): impromptu pinot tasting, all pretty good, St Innocent as Brad noted is a bit shut down but the evidence of good winemaking is there, but all paled compared to the Thomas reserve. 89 Lynch (4/05): seems to have lost some its youthful flashiness but is to me a better wine now, still lots of black fruit, cassis, etc. and better balance than before. Whatever you select, I hope you enjoy it.
  12. Closing dinner with clients: 1993 Soldera BDM Reserve: beautiful mature Brunello, complex nose replete with spices and tobacco, balanced and mature 1991 Quintarelli Amarone: wow, all discussion at the table stopped and everyone dove into this, immense yet balanced Various other recent wines: 2001 Tua Rita Redigaffi: when first opened, not very attractive, unbalanced, vanilla oak sticking out like a sore thumb, after 15 hours in decanter, it is more integrated but a bit too jammy and sweet, not worth the money to me 1990 Giacosa Barolo Reserve (red label): a wine to savor, complex nose with classic tar, roses and dust, color is garnet with slight browning, builds strength as the night goes on, wow 1990 Gaja Sperss: by comparison to the Giacosa, seems a little coarse, more power than finesse 2001 Quinault l'Enclos: shut down and rather unattractive, nothing but coffee and vanilla oak at this point
  13. Jim: Sounds like a great evening. My experience with the 97 BDM is that it benefits from a bit of decanting. My last 97 got better after 1 hour in the decanter and time in the glass. I know what you mean about this producer; best value (if such a thing exists) in white burgs. We're on the same page re the ZH gewurz, but am sorry the 90 Meyney did not show better for you. My most recent was showing its age, but still was beautiful to drink; lots of plums and power, with residual Cordier funk. If you ever find the 89 from a reputable source, it's better than the 90.
  14. kazuo

    2003 Rhone's To Stow Away

    Only because here in Tokyo VT is quite a bit cheaper than most of the other CNDPs. The 1998 VT Le Crau was our house wine for a number of years, as we found it at a little less than USD300 per case. Had the 2000 Bosquet du Papes Cuvee Grenache and the 2000 Janasse Cuvee Chaupin last night. The Janasse is a wine to look for. Don't know how the 2003 will be, but the 2000 is really lovely.
  15. kazuo

    2003 Rhone's To Stow Away

    2003, I am told, was a rather unseasonably hot year in the Rhone. I tasted through the Guigal La La's and found them freakishly large wines, high alcohol (but not hot), but drinkable even now. Production in the north was smaller than usual, so those wines (Hermitage, Cote Rotie, etc.) may be hard to find and expensive (even more so than usual). In Chateauneuf, many of my friends are buying up all they can fine, but I've found the wines are a little too big (I'd bet the luxury cuvees like Bonneau Celestins, Capo and Perrin are clocking in at 16% or more). I don't know what your budget is like or where you're now living, but here's a range of things that you might consider: Expensive (and I mean really expensive) Guigal La La's Chave Hermitage Pegau Cuvee de Capo Brunel Cuvee Centenaire Mid-range Beaucastel CNDP Pegau Cuvee Reserve Marcoux CNDP Clape Cornas Basics Guigal makes a basic line that is reasonable Vieux Telegraph CNDP Chateau de al Nerthe Apologies for not including St. Joseph, Cote d Rhone or other recs. I don't know enough about them in the 2003 vintage.
  16. The recent holidays in Tokyo provided a perfect opportunity for a little cellar thinning. We started on 5/3 with grilled burgers and a mini vertical of Shafer Hillside Select cab. The Hillside Select tends to be more balanced and less opulent than a number of the other high-end California cabs like Bryant, Harlan, Dalla Valle, etc. 1994: Absolutely delicious, rich, ripe fruit with hints of cedar and pencil lead, beautiful now and has many years ahead of it 1995: Shockingly youthful and more in line with the over the top California style, big, powerful with more currants and berries than the 1994 1996: Beautiful, evocative nose, but disappointingly thin in the mid-palate, like a doughnut, lots of fruit up front and tannins at the end, but a hole in the middle 1997: Quite similar to the 1994 in many ways, bigger but still balanced 1998: Remarkably good wine in a difficult vintage, not as big or opulent as its sisters, but still delicious, in many respects, the best food wine of the bunch. Showing atypical restraint, we did not delve further into the cellar until the next evening when we had the following. Assorted sushi rolls, spanish pimento stuffed with bacala, and rucola, prosciutto and parmesan mini rolls with: 1990 Dom Ruinart Rose: nice enough, but seemed a little tired, not enough acidity to give backbone to the wine Billecart Salmon NV Rose: a remarkably consistent and delicious champagne (we went through 3 bottles of Billecart for every one Ruinart) 1985 Salon: still youthful, fantastic balance and a memorable wine. Duck confit with vegetables and potatoes roasted in duck fat and garlic with: 1993 Rene Engel Grands Echezeaux: a wine built to last that is finally starting to come around, nose is still a little muted, but a smorgasbord of spices, blackberry and cherry on the palate 1996 Ponsot Chambertin: bleh (like Florida Jim, these &*%$#@ get no more of my yen, dollars, or any other currency) 2000 Janasse Cuvee Chaupin: this is really, really delicious and a better match with the duck than the burgs, violets, spices, kirsch, wow. A ridiculous amount of cheese with: 1989 Huet Vouvray Moelleux le Mont: touch of botrytis, racy acidity, beautiful with both the Comte and the Bleu d'auverge, only ok with the Mimolette 1999 Seavey Cabernet: only opened to appease the heathens who want red wines with their cheeses, not tasted but was told it was only ok 2001 Gaia & Rey chardonnay: lovely wine, over oaked, but has an exotic quality I like 2001 Weil Spatlese Kiedrich: way, way too young, but a beautiful wine, pears, litchee, minerals, must hide these.
  17. The new Nagatanien cold chazuke reminds me of something the grandparents would feed to their hungry brood of grandchildren for summer lunches. Cold rice topped with green onion, shredded takuan (a form of pickled radish), dried shitake reconstituted with dashi and shoyu, and katsuo bushi, with cold green tea poured over. Healthy, nourishing and served with love.
  18. There is a small place in Akasaka called Ogo's that apparently serves Hawaiian food. Have not been, but my spouse and her Hawaii friends swear by it. Menu changes regularly, but I am told that Ogo's serves lomi lomi salmon, kahlua pig, lau lau and other classics.
  19. You might try to track down some yuzu syrup or the bottled yuzu flavored beverage to mix with shochu. Not bad. We tend to use sudachi in lieu of lime for gin and tonics, and we use yuzu in lieu of lemon for twists. I've also seen a shiso flavored shochu mixed with umeshu served in a martini glass but can't tell you how it tasted since I refuse to drink martini abominations. Lastly, a number of the Japanese hotel bars (Okura, Westin, Imperial) have occasional drink specials that sometimes have a slight Japanese twist. Can't recall any off hand, but I think there was a book highlighting original cocktails served at the Old Imperial Bar that you might want to check. Have fun in your quest.
  20. kazuo

    Narita Airport

    Not sure if the rules have changed. I don't often have a layover at Narita since I live in Tokyo. If you are in Narita Terminal (home of United, Northwest, Singapore and others), and manage to escape the restricted area, there is a sandwich place that sells a beef katsu sandwich - beef coated in panko and deep fried, on white bread with cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. Very tasty.
  21. kazuo

    Narita Airport

    I'm not sure that you can leave the restricted area of the airport if you're merely laying over. There are two terminals, Terminal Two and Narita Terminal. Do you know which one you'll be in? For the most part, if you're in the restricted area, i.e., you haven't cleared immigration and customs, the choices are pretty grim. If you clear immigration, there are some restaurants near the check in counters. I know that there are sushi places in both Terminal Two and Narita Terminal, but I've not eaten at either.
  22. Nice wines, Jim. No wonder you took the fall. My folks weren't wealthy, but they liked wine and managed to cobble together a decent collection before their kids decided that private schools were the way to go. From the parent's stash, wines that set me on the road to financial ruin: 1962 Remy Chambolle Musigny: An undistinguished producer today, at one time Remy made pretty decent wines. The intense purity of fruit and depth from such a light bodied, ethereal wine made me a lifelong burg fan. The wine drank well in the 70's and the last bottle in 1995 still sang. 1977 Heitz Bella Oaks: Heitz never again made as good wine from Bella Oaks. I know because I kept buying the damned things hoping to find the same experience. 1976 Prum Auslese: Rich ripe apricots laced with bracing acidity. How I wish we'd kept some of these. 1959 Leoville Barton: All that an aged claret should be. Much better than the 61. On my own: 1988 Beaucastel Blanc: It's usually a bad idea to hit the wine stores while under the influence. What I thought was a really inexpensive bottle of 1988 Beaucastel Chateauneuf ended up as this. Still a stunner of a wine; surprisingly fresh and yet rich, vanilla and hazelnut on the palate.
  23. Jim: Thanks for the great report on L'Osier and the bonus reports on the other restaurants. Your report was well worth the wait.
  24. Sometimes the opposite happens. When my parents retired a few years ago, I joined my siblings in culling the vast amounts of junk that had accumulated. While cleaning out the basement (which stays coll year round), my brother and I happened upon a moldering heap of paper boxes filled with dusty wine bottles. The stash included a case of 1974 Mondavi Reserve Cab, a case of 1974 Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cab, some old Martin Ray cabs, various Stony Hill chardonnays and a single bottle of 1959 Lafite. My brother and I thought about sneaking all of the wine into my car and making a quick getaway. In the end, however, we moved the wines to the parents' new place, and we drink the wines when we get together for the holidays. Drank the 59 Lafite first, of course.
  25. Nice report Kristin. No dessert for your son? We recently went to a place that, in addition to the usual beef and pork, had a section for shamo and kamo. The kamo wasn't anything special, but the shamo was superb, especially the hearts!
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