Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Michelin Guide Tokyo 2008


Lucil
 Share

Recommended Posts

Like Robyn said the prices are already quite high, I can't imagine them getting all that much higher.

Apparently not all the chefs here are pleased at the announcement, from the Guardian:

"The French do not understand anything about sushi and are so far behind in handling fresh fish. So how can they judge us?" asked Yoshikazu Ono, head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Tokyo sushi restaurant. He told the Associated Press. "If they want to appreciate Japanese cuisine, they must first study Japan's history and culture. Then they can write their guide."

the rest of the article

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Robyn said the prices are already quite high, I can't imagine them getting all that much higher.

Apparently not all the chefs here are pleased at the announcement, from the Guardian:

"The French do not understand anything about sushi and are so far behind in handling fresh fish. So how can they judge us?" asked Yoshikazu Ono, head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Tokyo sushi restaurant. He told the Associated Press. "If they want to appreciate Japanese cuisine, they must first study Japan's history and culture. Then they can write their guide."

the rest of the article

I notice that near the end of the article writer Justin McCurry has the obligatory quote from a Japanese sushi chef:

Osamu Nishida, a chef at the Masukomi sushi restaurant, said that decent Japanese chefs need not worry when Michelin's critics came knocking. "In the past I would have been worried in case they didn't know good raw fish from bad," he said. "But sushi is popular all over the world now, so even non-Japanese people really know what they're talking about.  "We use only the freshest fish, so I don't think we have anything to worry about."

Masukomi happens to be the name of the sushi bar at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (aka the foreign press club), and as far as I know they're not even open to the public.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Robyn said the prices are already quite high, I can't imagine them getting all that much higher.

Apparently not all the chefs here are pleased at the announcement, from the Guardian:

"The French do not understand anything about sushi and are so far behind in handling fresh fish. So how can they judge us?" asked Yoshikazu Ono, head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Tokyo sushi restaurant. He told the Associated Press. "If they want to appreciate Japanese cuisine, they must first study Japan's history and culture. Then they can write their guide."

the rest of the article

I notice that near the end of the article writer Justin McCurry has the obligatory quote from a Japanese sushi chef:

Osamu Nishida, a chef at the Masukomi sushi restaurant, said that decent Japanese chefs need not worry when Michelin's critics came knocking. "In the past I would have been worried in case they didn't know good raw fish from bad," he said. "But sushi is popular all over the world now, so even non-Japanese people really know what they're talking about.  "We use only the freshest fish, so I don't think we have anything to worry about."

Masukomi happens to be the name of the sushi bar at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (aka the foreign press club), and as far as I know they're not even open to the public.

After our trip to Japan - I am not sure that any westerner who hasn't spent a lot of time in Japan is competent to judge Japanese food. When we dined with you - and Torakris - and on our own - we encountered many foods - especially various types of seafood and fish - that we had never even seen before. I can say what I liked (most of it) - and what I didn't like (some things) - but in terms of judging what was good - better - best - well I simply didn't have the experience to make such decisions.

It is interesting that in a thread in the Florida forum - someone is trying to convince me that sushi served in a little deal restaurant in the Florida panhandle is somehow really good. It bears as much relation to the high end sushi we ate in Japan as a Kia bears to a Rolls Royce. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, although I've heard that Michelin is using some local reviewers, so perhaps they'll do a good job.

As for raising prices, I doubt that the guide will have much effect. There are already many guides and other resources in Japanese for finding high-end restaurants in Tokyo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the context given upthread about the FCC chef! It's not a total surprise, if you've read much of Justin McCurry's other writings on Japan.

I wonder if the Michelin guide will gain the influence here that it has in Europe. Personally, I don't think the practice of starbagging, either by chefs or diners, is a particularly good thing. It will also be interesting to see how they approach such a different food culture. One thing's certain: Japan doesn't actually NEED the Michelin guide.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the context given upthread about the FCC chef! It's not a total surprise, if you've read much of Justin McCurry's other writings on Japan.

I wonder if the Michelin guide will gain the influence here that it has in Europe. Personally, I don't think the practice of starbagging, either by chefs or diners, is a particularly good thing. It will also be interesting to see how they approach such a different food culture. One thing's certain: Japan doesn't actually NEED the Michelin guide.

I guess one of the first questions is what language will the guide be written in - Japanese or English - or French :wink: . I'd doubt that the first edition would be written in more than one language. There are some very major Michelin guides that are written only in the language of the country. I just got the Michelin guide to Germany - and it is available only in German. But whereas most people who speak English/French/Spanish etc. can make basic use of a Michelin guide written in German - they wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of a Michelin guide written in Japanese. OTOH - a Michelin guide that isn't available in a country's native language would be kind of meaningless IMO. Robyn

P.S. I saw you were active in a thread on gardening in Japan - and I have a suggestion. I live in north Florida - and I like to grow spring mix/frisee. But it's hard to grow here - we have a very short growing season for lettuces - and we risk freeze because we have to plant very early. So I bought a couple of rectangular plastic planters - maybe 8 inches wide by 3 feet long. So I could take them inside if there was a chance of a freeze. Filled them with good soil - and just dumped a lot of spring mix seeds in them. I know you're supposed to thin the plants - but I didn't. And I have a bumper crop of spring mix. It will only last for another few weeks because our temperatures are approaching 80 now. But it is an idea for Japanese gardens (which I suspect tend to be small and tend to have poor soils).

Edited by robyn (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a good idea. I'm moving house next week (within Japan), so I'll be starting the garden all over again, in a slightly colder climate than where I presently live.

Where in Japan are you moving to? We spent 3 weeks in Japan last year (first trip) - and were only able to see a small part of the country.

Regarding the language of a Michelin guide - I suppose if they are making a good faith attempt to have a guide for people who live in Japan - it would be written in Kanji (which is basically impossible for a casual tourist to learn - my husband studied Japanese for a year - he was ok with Katakana - but didn't even try to learn Kanji). Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the guide will most likely be published in english and japanese..im afraid that there will be a sudden influx in foreigners which will cause the eatin places to hike their price...

Edited by Lucil (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Michelin name carries a lot of weight but to have any kind of a success with this project, it would have to be in Japanese. There is a certain brand snobbery here that a Michelin guide could play to and I think Japanese foodies would be interested to know what they thought of the local restaurant scene.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foreigners won't influence the prices in restaurants in Japan nearly as much as the multi-layered distribution system and high rents :)

Actually I might be wrong about this, because I haven't really eaten in many truly extravagant restaurants in Tokyo, but I've found that price differentials on similar items with similar quality ingredients are not terribly high... a fantastic soba place isn't necessarily dramatically more expensive than a bad one. Chain, laminated-photo-menu izakaya are usually within 10-20% of the prices of similar items at fancier places, unless some ingredient comes from some particular farm with some kind of special soil or whatever.

On the other hand, the price of coffee at an old-school kissaten or even soft drinks at a restaurant varies depending on the decor and the perceived cachet of a neighborhood... the range seems to be 400-1200 yen for most drinks, with the venue impacting the price more than the item ordered.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Michelin Guide could have more negative effects on prices than positive ones, especially among European restaurants in Tokyo. There are many old-school French and Italian restaurants in town that have been charging hefty prices based on long-established but perhaps undeserved reputations, and there really isn't much tradition of negative criticism in the local press. So I can easily imagine some honestly negative reviews in Michelin bursting a few bubbles.

The first guide in November will be published in Japanese and English. (By the way the first Zagat's guide was in Japanese and English, but now they publish in Japanese only.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Michelin Guide could have more negative effects on prices than positive ones, especially among European restaurants in Tokyo.  There are many old-school French and Italian restaurants in town that have been charging hefty prices based on long-established but perhaps undeserved reputations, and there really isn't much tradition of negative criticism in the local press.  So I can easily imagine some honestly negative reviews in Michelin bursting a few bubbles. 

The first guide in November will be published in Japanese and English.  (By the way the first Zagat's guide was in Japanese and English, but now they publish in Japanese only.)

I took a look at the Zagat's web site. It shows the guide for Tokyo in English and Japanese and the guide for Osaka in Japanese only. All editions are 2003 - which doesn't make them terribly useful. I looked at Zagat's on line before we went to Japan - and didn't find it terribly useful either.

The number of tourists to Japan is actually quite low. Even if the number doubled - I don't think they'd make much of an impact in a huge city like Tokyo - or even a very large city like Osaka. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 2007 Tokyo Zagat's and the 2004/05 Osaka Zagat's on my shelf are in Japanese only. I find their "reviews" "unreadable" and their "ratings" "unreliable", but they're handy for looking up phone numbers, or finding restaurants with a fireplace or a terrace or whatever.

Clearly they need to update their website.

I took a look at the Zagat's web site.  It shows the guide for Tokyo in English and Japanese and the guide for Osaka in Japanese only.  All editions are 2003 - which doesn't make them terribly useful.  I looked at Zagat's on line before we went to Japan - and didn't find it terribly useful either.

The number of tourists to Japan is actually quite low.  Even if the number doubled - I don't think they'd make much of an impact in a huge city like Tokyo - or even a very large city like Osaka.  Robyn

Edited by thelobster (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 2007 Tokyo Zagat's and the 2004/05 Osaka Zagat's on my shelf are in Japanese only.  I find their "reviews" "unreadable" and their "ratings" "unreliable", but they're handy for looking up phone numbers, or finding restaurants with a fireplace or a terrace or whatever. 

Clearly they need to update their website. 

I took a look at the Zagat's web site.  It shows the guide for Tokyo in English and Japanese and the guide for Osaka in Japanese only.  All editions are 2003 - which doesn't make them terribly useful.  I looked at Zagat's on line before we went to Japan - and didn't find it terribly useful either.

The number of tourists to Japan is actually quite low.  Even if the number doubled - I don't think they'd make much of an impact in a huge city like Tokyo - or even a very large city like Osaka.  Robyn

Re updating the website - agreed! FWIW - I found bento.com a much more useful resource than Zagat's :wink: .

Finding restaurants in places like Tokyo is a whole 'nother story. We had lunch one day at a nice restaurant in Ginza. The cab driver let us out - and we couldn't find the restaurant. Turns out it was down a little alley - with only a tiny sign announcing its presence. If we hadn't been in the company of someone who read Japanese - I'm not sure we would have found it. Along similar lines - when I tried to find La Maison du Chocolate in Tokyo - it took a while to find the right building in Marunouchi - and then it took us a full fifteen minutes to find the store in the building - because the building was huge - a couple of square city blocks. Of course - finding these places (which were both on the ground floors of buildings) was perhaps easier than finding a place that's on the fifth floor of a huge building.

It is very difficult to convey the extent of urbanization in Tokyo - huge numbers of (frequently smaller) establishments crowded in relatively small areas. Makes New York look like Kansas :smile: . Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foreigners won't influence the prices in restaurants in Japan nearly as much as the multi-layered distribution system and high rents :)

Actually I might be wrong about this, because I haven't really eaten in many truly extravagant restaurants in Tokyo, but I've found that price differentials on similar items with similar quality ingredients are not terribly high... a fantastic soba place isn't necessarily dramatically more expensive than a bad one. Chain, laminated-photo-menu izakaya are usually within 10-20% of the prices of similar items at fancier places, unless some ingredient comes from some particular farm with some kind of special soil or whatever.

On the other hand, the price of coffee at an old-school kissaten or even soft drinks at a restaurant varies depending on the decor and the perceived cachet of a neighborhood... the range seems to be 400-1200 yen for most drinks, with the venue impacting the price more than the item ordered.

In my (very limited) experience dining in Japan - there seems to be an emphasis on ingredients - as opposed to complex preparations (presentation is an altogether different issue). And I think for the average non-Japanese person - the differences between good and bad are easy - but the differences between really good/even better/and best may be hard to discern - due to lack of experience.

With drinks - alcoholic or not - and little snacks - you are - as in most large cities - paying for the pricey real estate (or the lack of it) where your table is located. You will pay a lot more for a drink at a nice hotel or cafe than you will for a drink under the railroad tracks. Robyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the time, preparations in Japanese cuisine are meant to be simple, which makes ingredients important. Even "fancy" presentations are often quite minimalist... restaurants let the plate do most of the work, rather than drizzling with some squeeze bottle or paintbrush or sprinkling of herbs like Western restaurants do. Maybe a little hi-no-me or some small garnish will be used to make a simple plating look a touch more elegant.

Since I'm usually spending only a few weeks a year in Japan, I tend to prefer to spend the small premium on better-quality... I suppose if I had children to feed I'd spend more time at chains to save a little... 20% premiums times four or five people is still like doubling the price, after all.

I am curious whether the fussy European presentations on boring white plates would be ranked higher by Michelin than Kyoto-style minimalism, however...

In my (very limited) experience dining in Japan - there seems to be an emphasis on ingredients - as opposed to complex preparations (presentation is an altogether different issue).  And I think for the average non-Japanese person - the differences between good and bad are easy - but the differences between really good/even better/and best may be hard to discern - due to lack of experience.

With drinks - alcoholic or not - and little snacks - you are - as in most large cities - paying for the pricey real estate (or the lack of it) where your table is located.  You will pay a lot more for a drink at a nice hotel or cafe than you will for a drink under the railroad tracks.  Robyn

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know what Michelin will like. I know that I personally loved dining in Japan. I ate like a pig by Japanese standards and wound up coming home 2 pounds lighter than when I left! It is a very interesting healthy way of eating (even with sweets - which Japanese people seem to love - but in very small portions).

Our trip was probably once in a lifetime - and I envy you your regular trips. It's too bad it's so far from where I live to there (it's a 2 day trip with a 13 time zone difference). Robyn

P.S. It was just my husband and me - and we are comfortably retired - so we didn't stint in terms of spending money on anything.

Edited by robyn (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Do you know who does the rating? How are they chosen and are they experts in Japanese cuisine?

Michelin has released its first guide for Tokio...and with a sum of 191 stars the japanese city has more stars than paris which has, all in all, 97...

All 150 featured restaurants in the guide received at least 1* - a first for a michelin guide!

There are

8 3***

25 2***

117 1*

amazing!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd really love to hear the local's opinion on this. I don't hold Michelin's food guides in high regard outside of Europe. Does Tokyo win because it simply has exponentially more people, 35 million, and all of Tokyo's visitors? Is this guide good or just a guide to how to waste money while in Tokyo? Dying to hear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...