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Tokyo Restaurants: Reviews & Recs


Jason Perlow
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I lunched at Beige, the Ducasse guided restaurant about two weeks ago while visiting Tokyo. I chose the full 6 course menu at 11000 yen. The dishes were small, nicely presented but bland and with little distinction. Very expensive for what you got. This is a scene restaurant; it was joyless for me.

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I am not sure if you are aware but as of this month (May 2005) toursits have now been banned from entering the auction area during the morning auctions.

more here

do you read Jaapnese?

I am finding lots of maps written in Japanese....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I have never been ... :hmmm:

It isn't exactly the best area for foreign women to be...

This describes it better than I could:

To the south of Kabuki-cho is Shinjuku ni-chome, Tokyo's largest gay district.

Golden Gai (gai meaning street) is the name given to a few narrow alleys in a block on the east edge of Kabukicho. It's packed with tiny, grimy "hole-in-the-wall" bars. If you're desperate for a drink and very adventurous, try your luck at any of the unmarked doors.

from here

Honestly if you are looking for good food I don't think you are going to find it, if you want to get a drink but want to avoid the obnoxious bars of Roppongi than this amy be the place for you. :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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pirate,

Thanks for the report, I like to hear the bad as well as the good.

I am sorry you had a disappointing lunch, it was one of the places I had hoped to get to in the next couple of years... :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I am unfortunately unable to read Japanese - this is the problem that I was coming across.

As for the tuna auction - last time I was there I was able to see one and, well, I was underwhelmed. Sure, it was a flurry of business, but I was still more impressed with the varieties of fish available at the stalls than this.

Thanks for your help, though!

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Other eating in Tokyo: I stayed at the Grand Hyatt so I ate a few times at PintoKona also in Roppongi Hills. I originally went there on a previous trip after reading Torakris' comments about it. I have not yet had the foie gras sushi . I did have on this trip on one occasion superb 0-toro. It's always good but this one time wow. Besides sushi I love the mizuna salad and the greens salad wuth mussels there.

Western meals on this trip included Sandler in Roppongi Hills (new Italian) and the Mikuni restauurant in Nihombishi (new French). Wine list in Sandler exceptionally good. Prices more reasonable than Beige. Sandler has a sleek Milanese look. Unfortunately Mikuni is located in a basement with low ceilings which had a dampening effect on me. Level of service at Sandler high and very competant. Food at both very good but on the whole boring.

Food comments not restaurants: One afternoon the hotel sent up a plate of grapes which I would term champagne grapes in the USA. The grapes were about the size of a pea, red, thickly clustered and seedless. They were delicious . Considering that it was May I wondered where they came from; hothouse in Japan or imported from a Southern hemisphere country.

The best food experience was at a reception for the first anniversary of the F.P.Journe boutique in the Omotesando area. F.P.Journe is a "reelement haut de gamme" watch company. Wines served were Krug Grand Cuvee and a 2002 Magnien Nuits-St.Georges red. There were two sushi bars eached manned by two chefs. First rate sushi and it matched well with champage. Other food tidbits and deserts were catered by Dean and DeLuca.

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One afternoon the hotel sent up  a plate of grapes which I would term champagne grapes in the USA. The grapes were about the size of a pea, red, thickly clustered and seedless. They were delicious . Considering that it was May I wondered where they came from;

These are called Delaware grapes here and are my favorites. They have just started appearing in stores but the ones I have seen are all hothouse varieties. In another month or two they will be in season and the price will cut in half.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Bruno Menard joining L'Osier this summer. Previously with the Ritz-Carlton in Osaka, the last few years at the Ritz-Carlton here in Atlanta.

Oh no - he is probably the best chef in the southeast US. Do you know when he's leaving? Robyn

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Bruno Menard joining L'Osier this summer. Previously with the Ritz-Carlton in Osaka, the last few years at the Ritz-Carlton here in Atlanta.

Oh no - he is probably the best chef in the southeast US. Do you know when he's leaving? Robyn

He says June 4 is his last night here at the Ritz-Carlton. He estimates late summer before he's settled in at L'Osier (just in case you were considering in cashing in all those SkyMiles for a trip to Tokyo anytime soon).

We went to see him for our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, and he was at Taste of the Nation last week. I'd be going again with a group of friends this weekend except that we've got a wedding to attend instead. Maybe I'll still manage next week.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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  • 2 months later...

I will be in Tokyo for 2 weeks in early October on vacation. I want to visit at least 3-4 top restaurants. Is La Rochelle a good place to go? I can also travel to other places in Japan (I'm going to Ito for 2 days for sure). I want to get some good sushi, and overall good Japanese food. Budget is unlimited, so anything is fine. Thanks!

"Compared to me... you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle"

BackwardsHat.com

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If you can't get recommended, try a type of restaurant known as ryotei which are in a traditional 'house' with geisha if desired. These places do not have a price list!! The food is always excellent(it has to be) and usually tourist friendly

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You won't need to know anyone to try these:

Tokyo:

Kozue, well-executed Japanese food in a very contemporary setting at the top of the Park Hyatt (stunning views). This is interesting if you want to try kaiseki with bolder Tokyo seasoning, in contrast with the very light--some complain bland--Kyoto style seasoning. Some ingredients in the menu might be a surprise, like whale nabe or fugu roe and sperm.

Obana for traditional unagi kabayaki (charcoal grilled eel) or Nodaiwa for wild unagi.

Maisen (several locations) for kuro-buta tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet from the black pig).

Sushi Dai in Tsukiji for early morning sushi--good tonic for jet lag.

My memory fails me, but you should really track down a first-rate soba shop. And somewhere in the vicinity of Asakusa is a great manju (kind of a sweet bean filled cake) stand and an old okonomiyaki restaurant.

Kyoto, upper end dining:

Hyotei, Kikunoi, or Kitcho for kaiseki.

Endo-tempura

Daiichi-suppon (turtle) Very expensive but really delicious, especially the soup if you can get past the idea. Ask for a turtle blood cocktail if you like, although we found it pretty tasteless. This is considered traditional viagra. I was the only woman in the restaurant.

Hiiragiya or Tawaraya ryokans (across the street from each other, 2 of the best traditional ryokans in the city center)

The vegetarian lunch at Ryo-anji, particularly the yudofu-simmered tofu. Very good example of shojin-ryori, Buddhist temple cooking. I liked it better than Izusen. There is also another good yudofu place overlooking the view at Kiyomizu Temple, but I forget the name.

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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.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The best places in Tokyo and Kyoto are recommendation only. Do you know influential people there?

Yes, my buddy that I will be doing most of the dinners with is pretty well connected, I guess I can just let him take care of everything...

"Compared to me... you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle"

BackwardsHat.com

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Excellent!! Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm going to send this list to my friend and we'll be sure to check some of these places out...

You won't need to know anyone to try these:

Tokyo:

Kozue, well-executed Japanese food in a very contemporary setting at the top of the Park Hyatt (stunning views). This is interesting if you want to try kaiseki with bolder Tokyo seasoning, in contrast with the very light--some complain bland--Kyoto style seasoning. Some ingredients in the menu might be a surprise, like whale nabe or fugu roe and sperm.

Obana for traditional unagi kabayaki (charcoal grilled eel) or Nodaiwa for wild unagi.

Maisen (several locations) for kuro-buta tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet from the black pig).

Sushi Dai in Tsukiji for early morning sushi--good tonic for jet lag.

My memory fails me, but you should really track down a first-rate soba shop. And somewhere in the vicinity of Asakusa is a great manju (kind of a sweet bean filled cake) stand and an old okonomiyaki restaurant.

Kyoto, upper end dining:

Hyotei, Kikunoi, or Kitcho for kaiseki.

Endo-tempura

Daiichi-suppon (turtle) Very expensive but really delicious, especially the soup if you can get past the idea. Ask for a turtle blood cocktail if you like, although we found it pretty tasteless. This is considered traditional viagra. I was the only woman in the restaurant.

Hiiragiya or Tawaraya ryokans (across the street from each other, 2 of the best traditional ryokans in the city center)

The vegetarian lunch at Ryo-anji, particularly the yudofu-simmered tofu. Very good example of shojin-ryori, Buddhist temple cooking. I liked it better than Izusen. There is also another good yudofu place overlooking the view at Kiyomizu Temple, but I forget the name.

"Compared to me... you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle"

BackwardsHat.com

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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.

Yes, I was thinking of Sakai's place, why not go there for french-japan cooking? Since Sakai is the man, I assumed that his restaurant would be amazing...

"Compared to me... you're as helpless as a worm fighting an eagle"

BackwardsHat.com

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Yes, I was thinking of Sakai's place, why not go there for french-japan cooking?  Since Sakai is the man, I assumed that his restaurant would be amazing...

A friend has dined there, and she said the place was amazing. Of course, "amazing" all depends on your frame of reference...

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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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all-

I am so in love with Japan and I'm going back for a few days. I had an amazing yakitori near Roppongi, i forget the area, but it has 4 kanji and it's within walking distance of Roppongi Hills , near Grand Hyatt. I want to try something diff, but still like Yakitori, where would you recommend?

I will be staying at the GH again, so anywhere near a train station, not too far would be great!!

Thanks!!

F

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