Tokyo Table Trip

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Tokyo Oct '23 - May '24 Food Journal


A dump on Tokyo food that I've eaten in the past few months. I score by Taste and CP here and my personal preferences do affect the final score. Something I realized while writing this is that while I do take note of cooking techniques, ultimately what I rank is how good the food tastes to my tongue (i.e. 3* Michelin places will have more sophisticated techniques than Bib Gourmand ones but doesn't mean it'll taste better to me).


Sushi Suiten Ippeki (Oct 23)
Taste: 8.5/10
CP: 7/10
I found about this place when I suddenly had an uni craving and found it from an Instagram post about places where you can get uni sushi with a high CP. They have an open slot on Tabelog on the next day so I went. This is a pretty new sushi place and the chef is still very young (28). The courses in the Tabelog page has changed since then but I remember getting the 20k course.It includes 10 nigiri and 7 tsumami served in an alternating order. When I arrived the place was not full and the chefs had a very friendly and lively vibe.
The first thing I noticed when the sushi was first served was how small it was. As advertised, the best item I had was the uni that I ordered seconds, shin ika which is still my favorite among all ika sushi I had until now, botan ebi uni-ae, and stingray (kasube) suimono which I've never seen served anywhere else. Other than that the course also include akami, otoro, sanma, ikura don, and sekogani nigiri which are all very good. On the other hand they put toppings which I feel are overly strong on some items like buri nigiri and katsuo tamanegi shoyu (tsumami). Also included were some veg items like gingko, grilled maitake and shimeji, and interestingly they have toromatsu roll which is a temaki of toro and matsutake (although I found those two premium ingredients will taste better on their own).
Overall while the course includes a lot of premium ingredients for the price, the quantity is definitely small (17 items still isn't a lot even if the nigiri were a bit larger) so I have mixed feelings about the CP (although they gave me an extra large serving of uni gunkan for my addon haha). This place is perfect if you have a really small appetite, want to sample premium ingredients (since most of the items were good), and want somewhere easy to book (same day/D-1 is possible on Tabelog). Nearly zero English is spoken but they provide a menu of the course items that day in English.

Sushi Chef Hiroki Usui (Sushi Arai B1F counter) (Nov 23)
Taste: 8.5/10
CP: 7/10
The course consists of 5 tsumami (with quite large portion sizes) 11 nigiri, 1 ikura don, maki, tamago, and owan each. I feel that the items were quite orthodox and simplistic in flavor/seasonings (this is true for the nigiri as well). Standouts for me were the katsuo tataki (the best one I've had so far), kawahagi which had a deep flavor, kurumaebi which was served with its head paste in-between the shari. akami which was not zuke but the flavor blends seamlessly with the rice. I thought the ankimo narazuke was perfect until I had one at Namba (read on). The nigiri was medium-large on size and had quite sour shari. I might have forgotten it but I believe Usui san didn't use akazu for (most of) the nigiri. Other than the aforementioned ones, progression is quite orthodox with items such as kohada, maguro trio, uni, ikura don, and anago which was grilled on the spot and served in a scorching temperature (too hot for me personally).
Now the downsides were the chutoro which was not interesting enough for me, tai sashimi which just ok and actually didn't pair well with the salt provided as condiment, and sumi (?) ika nigiri (I wasn't a fan in the first place due to its slimy texture). They slice a slice of the ika vertically into 6 very thin slices and pound it during the duration of the course using a knife. I feel like this makes the ika extra slimy but some other guests really liked it though.
I booked via Omakase (shouldn't be hard) and the advertised price was 38.5k. This was quite a fulfilling meal and while the quality of neta were good I didn't find enough standout points for the price. The seats were full and there were a couple of Chinese tourists beside me who was chatting with one of the apprentices. Usui san himself didn't converse other with who seemed to be regulars.

Bentenyama Miyako Sushi (Dec 23)
Taste: 7/10
CP: 6/10
The legendary progenitor of Edomae sushi. I walked in not long after their opening on a weekend, and was able to get a table seat. The counter was full from reservations, although by the time I was done, most of the counter was empty already so you might be able a counter seat if you're lucky.
Due to being in a table seat the sushi was not served one by one, but rather 5+5 (I got the 9 nigiri + tamago set, which was 8.8k). This was a very orthodox Edomae sushi, and as expected the items which has had some sort of preparation were the standouts. The akami zuke was super flavorful, surume ika was brushed with nitsume which become one of my favorites, and the blend of sweet, sour, and wasabi in the kurumaebi nigiri was so good. There's nothing special with the other items though, and the anago was particularly not tender enough, and the akagai has a bit of a smell.
Despite the reputation, I don't feel the pricing nor taste was good enough. I don't think sitting in the counter and having the nigiri served one by one would have fixed my complaints here. If you want a better value, I'd recommend going to the standing sushi Magurobito Kaminarimon nearby.

Sushi Inomata (Dec 23)
Taste: 9.5/10
CP: 7/10
It's winter so it might be the best time to visit Inomata. Although there might be less items on this visit (16 nigiri + 1 temaki and tamago) compared to other seasons. The atmosphere is very homey and way more rustic than your typical Ginza sushiyas. There were 3 other foreigners and despite Inomata san not initiating any conversation (I think he's known to be quite shy), his wife spoke good English and very friendly.
This meal had a very flavorful kawahagi, kobashira that is very sweet and crunchy adorned with the flavors of sudachi, salt, and the shari, the HUGEST (and best) uni I've seen and had (it was served as nigiri, not gunkan), insanely fatty katsuo, a HUGE portion of sekogani nigiri, insanely juicy chutoro, silky smooth otoro, very complex-tasting 10-days aged buri, and arguably an akami with the most complex flavor I've had. The tuna that day was from two different fishes (172kg from Hachinohe and 153kg from Oma) and they also served another toro (they call it just toro), but best of all they mix every cut of tuna that day into one single glamorous temaki. Insane. I won't also forget to mention the signature kujira (nigiri) which was very fatty and melt in your mouth, but served a bit cold. The only real downside that day was the opening piece of ika was overpowered by the sudachi (maybe he squeezed a bit too much?). Other than that almost every item was a real standout.
Considering the ease of booking on Omakase, I would say this is very worth the trek to Saitama. The CP is not the best if you compare to the heaviest hitters like Namba but if you can't get in those Tabelog Gold sushiyas, this is your best bet.

Sushi Yuu (Feb 24)
Taste: 7/10
CP: 8.3/10
The "instagrammable" sushiya. I got the lunch course for 15.4k which consists of 8 nigiri, 1 futomaki, 1 kobako uni caviar maki, and 6 misc items (including their signature ankimo "purin maki").
The pricing is good for Ginza standards, although I find most of the items bog standard and having no standout qualities. Their scallop (either hotate or kobashira?) which was shredded and made into a nigiri was the best rendition I've had so far, with supreme sweetness and texture and starter of mineoka tofu is nice and sweet. I found their signature items more style than substance (the ingredients in the kobako uni caviar maki is better each on its own), yaki tachiuo don doesn't work well with sweet tare (I prefer it with salt), while the kasugodai and chutoro lacks flavor. The shari also lacks punch for me.
Objectively you get a good value for money here, but I just don't think the taste is good enough to warrant a revisit. Reservations are easy via Tabelog, and the female staff speaks quite good English.

Sushi Hazuki (Mar 24)
Taste: 7.9/10
CP: 10/10
A humble sushiya far out in Shimomaruko and very hard to book. Reservations are via Tablecheck but they are booked two years out (they have a whiteboard listing the next available opening above the counter). What I got was the 6.5k weekday lunch course which is held irregularly, and there was an opening when I randomly open their Tablecheck page. Be noted that you can't place your next res after your meal for this lunch course.
I have to say this is the absolute king of CP and I can't believe the array of items that were served to me considering the price (I didn't check prior reviews). It's a proper full course with maguro shimofuri (!) and akami, a substantial serving of uni gunkan, kurumaebi, anago, thick and sweet hotate, and a kawahagi nigiri with a huge chunk of its liver topped above it. What also surprised me was the inclusion of two tsumami (albeit it's non-seafood), my favorite of which being the bamboo shoots saikyo yaki.
The not-so-good parts: nodoguro that doesn't have much flavor, katsuo topped with shichimi which absolutely doesn't work, shirako don with no flavor, and the signature saba bozushi where (maybe I got unlucky and got the tail end) the portion of rice substantially overwhelms the fish, but my main issue is the lack of flavor/fattiness. The rest of the items were just okay.
All in all I got 13 nigiri, 2 tsumami, one shirako don, tamago and dessert each. Despite the lows for the price it's hard to fault and it's worth going once if you can get a res. The taisho did work in LA before but we didn't talk in English (other than a couple of jokes). The atmosphere was very lively and even though it was lunch everyone in the whole counter ended up chatting with everyone else.

Sushi Namba Hibiya (May 24)
Taste: 9.8/10
CP: 8/10 (or 6/10 via Tableall)
I got a res when I was randomly browsing through Tableall and saw plenty of availability for a certain Sunday. The Omakase page didn't show any availability so I bit the bullet even though the price is steep (65k including service, vs 45k before service on Omakase, so it would roughly be a 15k premium). Surprisingly after a day or two (up to the night before the res) the slots still haven't been taken on Tableall and availability on Omakase appeared. I would guess Tableall prepurchased certain seats and they will only be opened up on Omakase if they're not taken. Note that on Tableall can only be booked with a foreign (non-japanese) number. Unsurprisingly since the slots were for Tableall, around half of the counter were foreigners.
I don't have to say what has been said plenty before. The tako is unbelievable. The kinki ni is unbelievable. The awabi is unbelievable. The ankimo is out of this world. The kujira (tsumami) is even better than at Inomata (served slightly warm here) and the botan ebi was the plumpest I've ever seen. Most of the items here are the best I've eaten anywhere. E.g nigiri of shako (which felt grilled instead of boiled, makes it smoky and the freshest/sweetest I've had), torigai, aji, otoro (super smooth with texture that feels exactly like slightly cold butter), and hamaguri with a perfectly sweet (not nitsume) sauce. Other items are very good, but I prefer the uni and akami at Inomata. The only downside here is that the kinmedai nigiri which topping of oboro overpowered the flavor of the fish. Namba san varies the size of the nigiri depending on the neta and also the kind of rice vinegar used (I heard he didn't do this in the past). Also surprisingly he served a tsumami of anago yaki with sansho (which makes your mouth numb), after the starting nigiri of shiro ika which had the subtlest flavor. The anago was really good with very crispy skin, but I'm just confused with the flow. In total it was 14 nigiri, 8 tsumami, tamago, and kinki akadashi.
Nowadays Namba does a nigiri only course at the side room for ~30k (I heard it consists of 21-22 nigiri). It sounds like an absolute steal and I would definitely like to try that out. However if you are lucky enough to get a seat, I would recommend getting the full course at least once in your life since some of the (esp. tsumami) items were 11/10s for me. Is it worth the price? If you don't live in/near Japan and is a big fan of sushi, I'd say it's worth booking even via Tableall. Otherwise I did see (mostly D-1/same day) cancellations on Omakase every now and then so it's best to be patient.

Sushi Ryujiro (May 24)
Taste: 9.4/10
CP: 8/10
I got the lunch nigiri-only course for 18k at the main counter. Reservations are medium-hard on Omakase, although for the subcounter it's really easy and slots are plenty at any time.
The course consisted of 11 nigiri, one unakyu maki, kanpyo maki, and tamago each. The tuna here was akami and otoro and was among the best I've had, and so is the murasaki uni. Isaki was surprisingly fatty for a white fish in this season, shiro amadai was very sweet and I felt that the shari's saltiness was less. Unakyu maki was fatty and the cucumber complements it well, and the tamago is the best rendition of a classic dashimaki that I've had. Everything was top notch except the kohada which was way too briny. My girlfriend who dined with me liked the katsuo but I found the neta a bit too cold and I guess the taste wasn't up to my preference.
Somewhere mid-meal, Ryujiro san had to take care of something so he left. Up to that point we hadn't been served the tuna yet and the apprentice chef had to took over and serve us the uni gunkan and kanpyo maki (the apprentice made all the non-nigiri items) which was supposed to be the last items so it was a slight disturbance to the flow of the course. Ryujiro san then came back and picked up where he left off.
While the items are of superb quality, one thing that detracts from the CP is the low quantity of items (considering the small size of the nigiri). The full course was 32k and looking at other patrons beside me it has quite a lot of tsumami so I'd be interested to try that and probably give a similar CP score for the full course.

Nihonbashi Kakigaracho Sugita (early Jun 24)
Taste: 9.8/10
CP: 8.1/10
I got lucky with a D-1 cancellation on Omakase. Price is listed as 44k before service but my total bill with one extra tsumami (uni tsukudani) and one bottled water came to 53.8k so I'm quite curious to know the breakdown. I went on a weekday dinner (17:30 start).
The course consisted of 8 tsumami, 13 nigiri plus owan and tamago. The ingredients quality are faultless. The ankimo tsumami are on par with Namba and probably crumbles in your mouth more. The signature iwashi maki has all kinds of flavor and texture in your mouth, and the grilled tachiuo is the best rendition I've had. After everyone is done with the grilled fish, Sugita san offered 6 kinds of extra tsumami to choose from. I choose uni tsukudani and while I do not know how much each invidual item cost, I don't think it's the most worth it given the super small size and the increase in my bill.
Now on to the nigiri, the size of both shari and neta is large. The signature opener of kohada is the best one I've had. The neutral flavor of isaki nigiri makes you really taste the sourness of Sugita san's rice. The full trio of maguro is included and it's perfect, and so is the uni. Kuruma ebi is HUMONGOUS and perfectly cooked, although sweetness is completely missing from it. Shako was very sweet and the anago was unbelievably soft, it just crumbled in my mouth without biting. No extra nigiri was offered.
I can't help but to make comparison with Namba as the Tabelog Gold kings of sushi and I would say the execution is more faultless at Sugita. However I feel like there are less 11/10s in here compared to Namba, and I do have a preference for something less traditional. So while on a technical standpoint I should rate it 10/10, I can't say I absolutely prefer it over Namba. CP is a bit higher since the sushi is larger.


Kaiseki/other japanese cuisine

Yakitori Omino (Oct 23)
Taste: 8.8/10
CP: 7.6/10
I booked via Omakase. I went in without knowing their system but basically they will keep giving you food until you say stop. To this day I still don't know if there's a limit to the items you can get, or how many different items they actually have on a particular day. I went on a weekday 4PM slot.
In total I got 14 yakitori and 2 non-yakitori (tsumami?) items, plus oyakodon. The tofu tsumami was the best tofu I've ever eaten and it goes without saying that the chicken items are some of the best in the world. Some of it were due to the quality to the chicken, and partly can be contributed to the grilling skills (I didn't think liver, heart, and tsukune could be this good). I realized that some patrons beside me were requesting to stop the yakitori and that's when I understood the system and I also stopped soon after. I then soon realized they were also going to give a full portion of oyakodon at the end (you can also choose soboro don or ramen, but I think the portion of the rice bowl were the same as if you buy one portion from a donburi place). In the end I got an uncomfortable sensation due to eating too much chicken in one sitting.
The bill for the items I got was around 15k including two drinks. This is the only omakase yakitori place I tried to date and while the food is very good, I don't think I will go to another one any time soon. Too much chicken is not for me and going to local yakitori joints will satisfy the craving just fine.

Myoujaku (Nov 23)
Taste: 9/10
CP: 6.5/10
When I entered the restaurant I was greeted by some staff who could speak good English. I entered the dining room and was mesmerized by the ethereal decor (plus it's very quiet). The guests in that slot were mostly foreigners but the atmosphere was befitting of 2* Michelin.
In total there were 16 items. They start with their signature, a single vegetable (shiitake that time) boiled in just salt and water, and it didn't disappoint. They actually had other similar items served in such way such as kue fish, and wagyu hire with winter vegetables. The wagyu owan in particular, had a surprisingly complex flavor despite being served in such way and the veggies were a nice texture (and taste) addition to the wagyu. Other standout items were the signature grilled fish (aji this time) sushi wrapped in egg white wrapping. sawara tataki which had super crispy skin, somen with eggplant sauce, and managatsuo yaki which had a deep flavor for such a simple grilled fish. They served rice in two ways: plain with three kinds of sides (shirasu, ikura, anago) and tamago toji with kamasu (barracuda) on top. Both were very satisfying. They had two desserts (lemon sherbet and mochi pancake with sansho) and a palate cleanser of seasonal fruits. Those were very good for a kaiseki/japanese restaurant.
There were some items that was not to my liking such as their signature fried sesame tofu and chestnut and edamame puree, but the vast majority of the course were excellent.
This were such a good experience, but the price (44k advertised on Omakase) was quite steep considering the ingredients served (only "luxury" ones were wagyu and crab). Go here if you want to know how good some food can get with very minimal seasoning, and to see the best quality you can possibly get for quite basic ingredients.

Tadenoha (Dec 23)
Taste: 8.5/10
CP: 7/10
I found about this place from watching the Eater Omakase series on Youtube. They basically focus on grilling (robata) wild game and has a very seasonal focus. Which was proved when I went here after seeing some Tabelog reviews on the summer course showing an emphasis of fishes like ayu and vegetables. What I got in the winter course was almost 100% red meat. Price is advertised as 27.5k on Omakase and reservations are surprisingly hard to get for a place with a not-so-high Tabelog rating. I wanted to blame Eater but on that visit there were only one other foreigner and no one of the other patrons were aware of the YT series when I mentioned it.
The standouts were venison tenderloin, bear stew with wild parsley, boar sirloin, a sashimi mix of duck innards with raw quail egg, and ichigo daifuku. The rest of the dishes were okay-to-good, though I don't particularly the bear nabe (too much fat) and the carbs were not a standout: tororo gohan (not a big fan) and cold soba (not better than what you'd get in a good soba place). They also have a couple of non-meat starters like shirako chawanmushi and karasumi with imo, but nothing outstanding.
It's worth mentioning by mid-meal the atmosphere got rowdy and everyone was sharing drinks with each other (and the chef/staff) so all in all it's a good experience. A Japanese elder seated next to me keeps recommending me to go during the matsutake season and matsutake robata does sound enticing. I would be interested to come back in another season for sure, just because the dishes will be very different.

Haramasa (Feb 24)
Taste: some dishes 10/10, others 3/10
CP: can be 10/10 or 0/10 depending on how you see it
A restaurant of paradoxes. On paper, the lunch course (10k) which I had looks like a bargain for such a highly-acclaimed kaiseki restaurant. But I'm very confused on how to rate this restaurant.
In short, they serve some very luxurious dishes (particularly those with truffle) and those are 10/10s. The truffle crab chawanmushi, karasumi uni somen, and especially the signature truffle gohan was mind blowingly good. Seriously I could keep eating the truffle gohan endlessly. They serve the rice two ways (plain, gyukatsu tamago toji with MORE truffle shavings) plus they offer the remaining rice as takeaway. However the remaining dishes were among the worst I've had anywhere. The signature hirame sashimi nori maki with ankimo paste had flavors that doesn't work well and the fish itself is not the best. The oyster dumpling owan was flavorless and doesn't have any oyster at all, and the hassun which includes a freshly grilled sawara was just bad, I barely eat anything on the plate. It's not that they are not fresh, but all the components just don't have any flavor whatsoever.
It's also confusing to rate the CP of this place but I would say for 10k + service it's worth the money JUST for the truffle dishes. While bad, at least the total number of dishes get you quite full. There was not much atmosphere inside and bookings are quite easy to get via Tabelog now. No English spoken.

Ginza Shinohara (Feb 24)
Taste: 8.9/10
CP: 8/10
If the philosophy of Myoujaku is reduction and simplicity, Ginza Shinohara would be festivity and complexity. I would say dining here is more like witnessing a theatrical performance than eating something, and it definitely shows in the exquisitely decorated hassun they serve (and Shinohara san will tell you a story behind the dishes, usually related to Japanese folklore). Not only that, some dishes have so many elements (shirauo, kurumaebi, awabi, hotate, kazunoko, and nanohana in a single cup). Some highlights were grilled echizen gani, owan of ise ebi (which had superb flavor and texture) and gelatin, akami, toro, and kyuuri maki sushi which beats sushi from top sushiyas any day, and a donabe of shirako tempura, daikon, imo, foie gras, and truffle. Oh, and the gohanmono which was plain rice served with grilled iwashi and pickles. It was perfection.
The price is listed as 35k on Omakase and for the price it's a very good value considering the abundance of premium ingredients (there was about 10 dishes total + hassun, and matcha). However while the hassun is very wildly decorated has so many elements, taste-wise most of it was ranging from quite okay to pretty bad (including a pigeon that was grilled during the course, but it was left cold especially after the lengthy story-telling from Shinohara san, and a soggy room-temp wakasagi tempura). Taking my personal preferences aside, I'd say the food at Myoujaku were more consistently good. And while Shinohara san is very friendly and conversed with everyone, I prefer the service in Myoujaku as the staff who served us had so much difficulty while trying to speak English and his service felt a bit stuttered (I think he forgot my drink order once).

Edomae Shinsaku (Feb 24)
Taste: 8.5/10 (9.2/10 for the tempura)
CP: 7/10
The course consists of around 12 tempura (excluding some items like kurumaebi and anago that were served twice, with salt and sweet sauce), clam dashi, gohanmono, and dessert. The ingredients freshness were as good as it gets, and I liked the perfect execution of kisu (light and crispy goodness), eggplant (very juicy), anago with salt (crispy and fluffy), shiitake (again, very crispy in the outside with deep flavor), aged nagaimo (left at room temperature, insanely sweet), and shirako tendon (comforting, savory, tangy, and for the last bite we are supposed to give a squeeze of citrus which adds a sourness that slices through the overall flavor.
In general, the seafood items have no fishiness at all, except for the nodoguro that has very crispy, albeit fishy, skin part. I didn't get the extra 1900 yen tendon so I got the default tuna chazuke. I like chazuke, except the fact that I didn't know that the tuna sashimi was gonna be doused in gomadare. I'm not a fan of gomadare and pouring the tea over the mix gives it an overall flavor that I disliked even more lol... If I ever eat here again I would not opt for the chazuke and the taste score might be bumped to 9/10. I have slight doubts about the CP since, as mentioned by TheTokyoGourmet on his blog, while the listed price on omakase is 24k my total bill (with one glass of sake) is closer to 35k. I do not know where it comes from so while the course did include some premium ingredients like uni and quite a bit of anago, I still feel on the fence whether it's worth coming back or not. Reservations via Omakase, a tiny bit of English spoken.

Kusunoki (Hashimoto, 2nd chef) (May 24)
Taste: 9.4/10
CP: 8.3/10
Kusunoki is famous for being the most expensive tempura (now not so after Niitome?) in Tokyo and they don't take reservations from new customers, but nowadays you can get a lunch short course with the 2nd chef for around 18k and that's what I got. Bookings are taken via Omakase every month.
This is a short course, so it consists of just one appetizer, 10 tempura (although you get two pieces of kurumaebi), and a bara tendon (and a one-biter dessert). As the price suggests, there's no overly luxurious ingredients here. Although you will be offered a choice of addons which were uni, murasaki asparagus, and karasumi on that day. It turns out the uni was in two servings: as shiso maki and nori maki. I didn't get any addons since I didn't want to splurge and just wanted to taste how superior the Kusunoki frying technique is (the chef puts the tempura on his hand as testament to the oil-lessness of the tempura). I regretted not ordering the murasaki aspara though since it seems to be quite rare.
The end result of the Kusunoki frying technique to me is tempura that feels more like steamed food inside. In my Edomae Shinsaku review above I mentioned everything there has a crispy sensation but here I can only feel a very slight crispiness and the batter feels more like a light coating. It lets me feel the natural taste of the ingredients (which I think are of better quality than at Edomae Shinsaku) and the highlights of the day were bamboo shoots, mirugai, sakuramasu, and hotaru ika. My absolute favorite item though, is the closing bara tendon. The taste of the mushrooms, sakuraebi, and tentsuyu blends perfectly.
For 18k there's not very much food here and if you add some addons I'm pretty sure the price would be higher than Edomae Shinsaku's base price, but the overall quality is higher here and I think it's a better value overall. No English spoken and taking pictures with shutter sound is not allowed (you can use Live Mode on iPhone)

Koryori Kuhara (May 24)
Taste: 9.4/10
CP: 9.1/10
I was looking for a dinner and saw a D-1 availability for this Bib Gourmand awarded place in Tabelog. The cuisine is kind of kaiseki but you can order alacarte. Bookings are easy and taken via Tabelog for 2 or more people (solo diners need to phone). It is a small (10 seater) place near Shibuya station run by a lovely husband and wife, and the wife speaks great English. There were one other foreigner group on that day, and we see quite a lot of foreigners trying to walk in just to get turned away. They close at 10PM but it seems the last entry is at 7PM. Menu can be alacarte or course and we had alacarte.
I didn't realize it before, but the menu that I selected matches exactly with the cheapest course (7k yen) with the exception of nizakana in the course (I ordered yakizakana). My selection includes sashimi platter that probably beats the sashimi almost every sushiya I tried, their signature kamo negi yaki, raw vegetables with miso paste, yakizakana of kuromutsu which was impossibly good, and chirimenjako gohan. Everything was pretty much perfect. The bill come to around the same price than if we had the course menu but I prefer yakizakana in general.
This place is perfect especially for tourists (due to location and English ability) and and I just hope it will never become hard to book lol. Definitely coming back again and again.



Etape (Oct 23)
Taste: 8.6/10
CP: 8.4/10
This is a small French counter dining resto with just 6 counter seats and a single table near Asakusa. Previously they got a bib gourmand and despite that and the small capacity, during my weeknight visit not all seats were taken. I got the cheapest (9k) dinner course, but they also have a lunch course from 3.5k on weekends.
The course consisted of 5 dishes, dessert, and coffee. It doesn't have amuse bouche or petit fours so all the dishes I got were "full sized" dishes. It started out with a cold scallop consomme followed by uni and horenso on toast with mascarpone (which I don't think the uni was the freshest/good enough quality). However the following items of ise ebi stuffed into jidori with white truffles, hirame bouillabaisse, and ezo deer steak were all superb and had a touch of creativity.The dessert, sorbet of eight aromatic herbs in laurel cream, was also superb.
I've never had the lunch, but I didn't regret going for dinner as they provided some surprisingly luxurious ingredients for the price. The only thing that prevented me from giving a higher CP score was the quality of the uni and the small quantity/number of the course. Other than the chef, there was one other female staff who's a foreigner and spoke English. She asked if I'd like the explanations in Japanese or English. Bookings are easy via Tablecheck.

Crony (Feb 24)
Taste: 8.3/10
CP: 7.5/10
When I arrived I liked the chic and casual vibe they have for a 2* French (fusion) restaurant. They only have one course, 25k dinner which you can book on Tablecheck (availability for around 2 months out currently). The building is two floors with an open kitchen and waiting room on the bottom and dining room on the top (which you have to take stairs to get to). Staff were all proficient in English.
There were 18 items in total in the menu, but they would list each item in petit fours and amuse bouche as separate items (whereas in most places they'd be lumped together as a single course). They are quite proud in their sourcing and sustainability and it shows in the freshness of the ingredients. Highlights were the signature potato souffle with truffle (which was an elevated version of a potato chip), squid and caviar tart, very crunchy bamboo shoots and caviar served in a very umami jelly, the mains of roasted isaki that is very flavorful (kinda rare thing for this fish) and gamecock with turnip (which taste reminds me of peking duck), beetroot strawberry white chocolate dessert, and the bookends of HARUMOEGI tea (welcome tea) and the finale of dessert of ice cream made from second brew of the same tea, while the third brew was used as flakes/crumbs. Another noteworthy thing is that the petit fours were all very good. They served freshly baked sourdough bread with sake less, and remaining ones will be given as a takeaway.
That said, some of the dishes fail to impress me like the tuna with kintoki carrot, and danish beef pancake/croquette which is just stale and flavorless. While this place left a good impression from the service/creativity/ingredients, there's not enough (taste-wise) to entice me to come back anytime soon.

Madame Toki (Feb 24)
Taste: 8.5/10
CP: 9.5/10
I would call this an underrated gem. A restaurant situated in an old and romantic building in Daikanyama that serves classic French food. I went for the lunch course which was 5.5k (price has increased to 6.6k, which is still a good deal) which includes a single amuse bouche, two cold dishes, two mains, dessert, coffee, and petit fours. Reservations via Tabelog and D-1 is plenty available. Highlights would be champignon veloute and kinmedai poele with crispy skin. The best part though, is dessert trolley where you could pick as many items as you want from an option of ten desserts (albeit the options are very classic like opera cake). The petit fours actually come from a trolley which consists of stuff like candies and marshmallow. Also the non-alcoholic drinks were among the best I've had anywhere.
There is not much innovation to the food, most of the items are not top-tier, and some items like the desserts might seem bog standard. However, I might have a preference to a more classical French seasonings and if all that matters to you is taste, this place is a bargain. Considering the desserts and all, you might leave the place very full for 5.5k (6.6k now). Service is quite slow though, considering the number of courses isn't that much. English is only spoken very little.

malca (Feb 24)
Taste: 7.8/10
CP: 6.9/10
I was torn on whether to get the course or alacarte here, but upon seeing the the price of the main dishes is mostly around 9k, I ultimately went with the course for 14k (4 appetizers, 2 pasta, 1 main, 1 dessert).
Cold shin tamanegi soup was super sweet, their signature bluefin tuna (from Yamayuki) bruschetta is good and nicely dressed with herbs and olive oil, iwashi fry with paprika powder, parmesan, and harissa was a nice refresher and variation in flavor, and the octopus tomato spaghetti dish had a unique flavor from the use of ginger. The pasta itself was a bit undercooked though. The main of chargrilled kobe beef had good crust and flavor but it's not tender enough and best thing might be the pan fried cabbage on the side. But my favorite dish would be the cheese risotto with fukinoto and montblanc dessert.
Other than that I don't feel there's anything notable enough, and none of the aforementioned dishes were mindblowingly good for me. This place had a noticeably large number of staff (7?) for such a small place, so I feel like that's where most of my money went and I've definitely had better Italian food in Tokyo at a cheaper price. Reservations are quite hard, they open every 1st on Tablecheck. No English spoken but maybe they can speak a word or two.

Nerisa (Feb 24)
Taste: 9.2/10 (pasta was 7/10)
CP: 9.1/10
A quite hidden Italian counter dining in Nishikoyama who previously got Bib Gourmand. It was run by a team of husband and wife (I think) so the atmosphere was quite homely. Bookings are taken via Instagram DM, same week should suffice and they frequently post cancellations on Stories. English was not spoken.
A course costs 9k, but I went with ala carte and it did not disappoint. The burrata with shiokara, white asparagus with parmesan and onsen egg, and roasted pork were all the best I've had until this day. Unfortunately I chose the lamb amatriciana pasta and the lamb had a very gamey aroma. I should've chosen their ragu parmesan pasta.
Mains costs 3-4k while antipasti and pasta costs 1-3k. The price is very good considering the items are the best I've had anywhere.

Yumanite (Mar 24)
Taste: 8.6/10
CP: 8.4/10
I went here after I saw TheTokyoGourmet's rave review about this place. The rumors are true, this place is run by a single guy who acts as chef, server, sommelier, and pastry chef. I still couldn't believe his skills. I got the 9.9k dinner course which consisted of 7 dishes, dessert, and coffee.
I agree with a lot of what TheTokyoGourmet said on his site so the very first thing you should do is get the non-alcoholic drinks. The first few dishes such as fukinoto cheese fromage de tete croquette and boudin noir kumquat will wow you in terms of presentation and creativity. It should be noted that the first few dishes are small one-biters which is a contrast to the mains which will be big in portion. A wellington of squid, takana, and bamboo shoots were superb. And so are the following roasted hirame gratin with truffle, and the chicken main dish which comes with three cuts of chicken (I particularly liked the thigh which as a flavor explosion). Portion sizes are quite big for all those. The signature dessert of strawberry millefeuille, while big and tasty, lacks refinement IMO (which is understandable considering it's prepared on the spot and there's only so much you can do by yourself).
I'm kinda echoing TheTokyoGourmet's opinions here but while the proteins used aren't necessarily the most expensive, all dishes are good although I wouldn't say it's quite mindblowing. I think this place goes toe to toe with Etape and while Etape has fancier stuff like uni and ise ebi, Yumanite's portion sizes are more satisfying overall. Booking are easy via Tablecheck and no English spoken.

Ushimaru (Chiba) (May 24)
Taste: 9.6/10
CP: 10/10
This restaurant is actually in very deep Chiba (3 km from Matsuo station) but it's reachable from Tokyo within a few hours. Even though they have Tabelog Silver I have never seen any English review of this place anywhere and it has became one of my favorite restaurants. The place is very beautiful, but if you want to go to the nearest station by train make sure to take note of the schedule since trains only come once an hour. For bookings, you can go to the website and there's a link pointing to Hitosara. Bookings are pretty easy and should be doable the day before. They are an Italian restaurant but I don't taste anything traditionally Italian in my course, so if you are looking for something more authentic, look elsewhere. There is only one course priced at 15k for both lunch and dinner, and it sounds like a deal but read on to see why it's an even bigger steal than it sounds. I went with the lunch.
When you sit down, you will see a menu of the course on that day and on my visit it shows 4 dishes, 2 main protein dishes, pasta, dessert, and coffee. However in reality they would give you one other dish in between each dish on the menu so in total there were 15 items + coffee. They would use Italian ingredients like tomato amatriciana but also add curry and sansho on the sauce (which ends up being one of my favorites). They use hyperlocal ingredients and most of the ingredients (esp. seafood) are sourced from the neighboring Kujukuri town. I liked the starter of sumi ika crostini but the course would hit me with a barrage of superb seafood items like mozuku crab in zucchini flower, tokobushi (abalone) shin tamanegi soup, ise ebi fedelini, two anago dishes (fried, and in a clear parmesan cheese soup with young corn), and grilled unagi. Desserts were also superb, especially the yogurt and ice cream. Oddly the weakest part IMO is the mains of dry aged pork and beef (listed as separate courses, but served in a single plate). Both cuts are ichibo. The aging gives them a smoky flavor but I don't think they're tender or flavorful enough. I think that would be the only weak point on the course.
Some servers speak English, some others had difficulty speaking English but tried their best to do so (the hospitality was top notch). The staff were very kind and they actually gifted me their homemade lasagna (which you can order takeout for 1600 yen). A day before the booking they sent me an SMS regarding confirmation, allergies, and whether I need arrangements for the way home. Please note that the course took 3 hours and I would recommend timing your exit with the next train departure from Matsuo station, they would ask if you need a taxi (a taxi to Chiba station would be too expensive though). Overall this might be one of the best, easiest to book, AND one of the best value in a Tabelog Silver restaurant.

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Great set of reviews. Thank you so much! I've been to 16/24 of the places you wrote about and agree with 99% of what you wrote. Have you been to Sezanne or Sushi Obana in the past? Also, if you liked Tadenoha I heard Matagi in Nishi-Azabu is good but I can't vouch for it personally. I'm going to book Nerisa and Madame Toki and rebook Koryori Kuhara (went years ago, didn't think much). Thanks again!

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@thetokyogourmet never been there but I heard mixed opinions about Sezanne, curious to hear your take about it
I'd kill to go to Sushi Obana (that ikura!!) but I heard nowadays they're intro-only?
And thanks for the recommendation, Matagi's price range on Tabelog is lower than Tadenoha so that's interesting.

I hope you enjoy your meals!

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I love Sezanne. Been many times but slowed down because the prices have gone up so much. I definitely recommend it. Not much difference between lunch and dinner so go for weekday lunch.

Obana is pretty much intro-only now but seems like people have had success sending a DM and then being able to complete a booking through Pocket Concierge.

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Some updates and entries I forgot to include:

BOTTEGA (May 24)
Taste: 8.3/10
CP: 7.5/10
A Michelin starred cozy and dimly lit counter-style Italian place in Hiroo. Just like malca, they had the option of course (15k yen) and alacarte, although you have to order a complete meal if you go with alacarte (around 5 dishes or more in total for 2 people). Bookings are taken by phone (not sure if English is spoken) on the 1st every month for the subsequent month. I called around the middle of the previous month and was able to get an early dinner weekday slot.
I went with alacarte. Ham platter was good, roasted squid with summer truffles was also good and fresh but the stewed (pureed?) vegs that goes with it were just okay. For the pastas I went with tonnarelli in tomato and egg yolk sauce and pappardelle with ragu from kuroge wagyu. Both were very good but the star has got to be the pappardele al ragu. The pasta got such a satisfying consistency and the ragu was so addicting. Lastly for the main dish I ordered a roast pork, which was similar than what I tried at Nerisa, for comparison's sake. It was adorned with anchovy, butter, and lemon confit. Now, the execution of the pork itself might be better than at Nerisa, but I didn't quite like the sweet flavor from the lemon confit. Three kinds of bread were provided.
In total it costed around 30k yen for two which makes it seem like I should've went with the course instead, but I have to mention that it I bought three drinks, with one glass of wine in particular costing 3500 yen. I was curious since the reservation was quite hard and I liked this better than malca, but it still doesn't beat Nerisa, or some other cheaper joints if you consider the CP.

L'Osier (May 24)
Taste: 9.5/10
CP: 8.6/10
It's a three Michelin-starred French restaurant in Ginza and if you ever strolled around the area chances are you will have stumbled upon it. It has quite a facade from the outside but despite that, their prices are relatively affordable for this level of restaurant, especially at lunch. Lunch starts from 17k and dinner from 39k, before service. I went for lunch. Reservations are taken online via their website.
You can actually see the menu on their website. The signature beautifully-plated canapes and amuse bouche of potato soup was a good start. It kicks off a notch with the scallop tartare with it's accompanying white and green asparagus were both fresh and sweet. The climax was the main course of roasted lamb with a very savory jus and perfectly cooked side vegetables. A braised shoulder stuffed into zucchini flower, which were made into a crispy spring roll, was a nice addition. Pre-dessert of sorbet and the petit fours which came before the main dessert were really good, except a kinkan macaron which was just okay. The main dessert was called "around the cherry" which was all things cherry (sorbet, ice cream, and actual cherries) and it was both elements with both deep and refreshing in flavor. Finally there was a trolley of snacks like chocolate, crackers, and marshmallows but the best items were probably some of the chocolates.
This is a very good meal with a very good price. The number of courses are not many but the portions are quite fulfilling, and if you are feeling to splurge more there is a more expensive option at lunch for 22k which is still very affordable compared to dinner. Service was sublime and the staff speaks good English, and judging by the atmosphere and Michelin accolades you would've guessed the course price would cost more. I don't think there is another three Michelin restaurant where you can get a full course for 17k yen and this level of service and atmosphere, even in many other countries. I couldn't really find any fault with the meal and most of the dishes were outstanding.

Sutaminaen (May 24)
Taste: 9.4/10
CP: 9/10
Arguably the most legendary yakiniku joint in Japan. Known for no-reservations and brutal queues, as well as for being located in a remote part of Tokyo. I arrived around 2 hours before opening on a Friday and there were around five guys in the queue. As far as I know "representative-queueing" is allowed so in a party of five it can be just one guy who's in the queue, for example. Surprisingly when the store opened, everyone got a seat and there was no one left in the queue. While we were eating, no one else queued except around the 1 hour mark and some people started to leave, there were one or two guys who came into the store, without a long wait. So maybe the queue is not as bad as I thought.
Let's start with the appetizers. Oi kimchi and Hatsu sashimi is just okay. Shio motsu nikomi is very good and unique. The first cut of meat I got was the tokujo harami, which I'm not a fan of since I felt it wasn't tender enough (maybe not a problem with Sutaminaen but just my opinion about harami in general). Nami (regular) tan was very good and had deep flavor. Jo hire was perfection, and the mix horumon was the best thing on the menu. Each item on the platter was the best version of horumon I've ever had. I closed it with tomosankaku, which was fatty and almost as tender as the hire but way more one-dimensional in the flavor department. The marinade was quite light for all items.
Does it live up to the hype? I'd say yes if you go here mostly for the horumon. For the meat cuts there might be better ones somewhere (e.g. Jambo). The CP is very good though. Some of the meat and all of the single horumon items are under 2000 yen. The most expensive item (jo hire) is 3100 yen. I guess this could be attributed to the location and the fact that it is a run-down shack with no ventilation system (other than opening the windows).

Kosasa Sushi (Shimokitazawa) (May 24)
Taste: 8.2/10
CP: 7.5/10
This sushi is kind of a local urban legend in the Shimokitazawa district and it's famous for not taking any reservations. Despite not taking reservations the vibe is very relaxed and everyone drinks and eats their sushi leisurely. I arrived 45 minutes before openings and there were around four guys before me. I think they have 6 or 7 counter seats and a table for two. I was in a group of two and despite not being the last to come, there was only one counter seat remaining and we took the offer of getting the table to let the solo diner behind us to sit in the counter instead. Surprisingly the number of people who queued that time fit exactly into the number of seats in the restaurant and no one else queued even after we left, so maybe it's best to take a shot for the opening time. No English is spoken and it is okonomi only with the menu being a wooden board beside the counter with no prices.
On the table seating, some sushi were served in batches of three or four, while some items like kuruma ebi and tako were served on its own. Shoyu was not brushed by the chef. The sushi is more of a traditional style with komezu and the first four nigiri (otoro, akami, shimaaji, hotate) and also the uni was very average. What they had in common was the neta did not have any sort of preparation. Kuruma ebi was huge, perfectly cooked but had no sweetness. Kasugo was lightly blanched and the best I've ever had so far, and probably so is the aoyagi clam. Hamaguri was nicely boiled and sweet, with a good dollop of nitsume and sudachi. Sumiika was fresh and snappy. Their signature tsumami of anago kijiyaki was one of the best renditions of anago I've had so this is a must have. There is a complementary owan.
While there are many good items which might be even better if you sit at the counter, you have to be careful on what to order since some items are very mediocre. The bill for two with ~12 nigiri, one anago kijiyaki and one beer was around 24k yen. The CP is not that bad but I do not like the lack of price transparency for a place that does not take reservations and is okonomi only (well maybe you could ask about the prices beforehand if you really want to).

Tachiguizushi Akira (Shinbashi branch) (Jun 24)
Taste: 8.2/10
CP: 8/10
The famous (ex?) Michelin awarded (forgot whether it was a star or bib). You cannot make reservations (except for some very limited slots on Omakase JE, by request). Their system is three rotations at lunch and four at dinner (CMIIW) each for an hour. You will be given a list of items with prices when you line up and you write down the quantity of each sushi you want. No additional orders are taken, but extra drinks are ok. That means it's alacarte only and that is what I like: okonomi sushi with transparency about the price. As the name suggests this is a standing counter and it fits eight people, so if there are already eight people in the queue then you would be slotted into the next leg. You can check their queue status on their Instagram stories. I went 30 minutes before dinner opening time on a weekend and there were a group of three before me, so it's not a very long wait. Passable English is spoken.
The actual sushi quality is proper and good but with some faults. Shiro ika was soft, slimy, and sweet with a good quantity of sudachi squeeze. Hokkigai was so fresh and sweet, and so is the HUGE hamaguri but it might be a bit clam-my in flavor for some. Chutoro and murasaki uni were very good. Meji maguro (baby tuna) was a rare item and it's like a very soft version of akami but I felt the wasabi was too strong. Kuromutsu and shiro amadai were sweet and firm but had fishy aftertaste. Other items were good. The shari and neta are actually small in general except for some items like the hamaguri which was huge, and also the uni. Shari is using akazu and quite sour and not soft. Weirdly they do not have tamago, and they usually only have one kind of tsumami. The sequence of the nigiri seems random to me and did not have any logical order.
It's not perfect, but this is probably the best place for when you want a proper sushi without reservations since the queue is not bad and it's located in a convenient location. Not to mention the relative English-friendliness and they even support QR payments. They also have a superb sake selection which includes the exact same Aramasa No.6 that I had in Namba some time ago. Total bill for one would be around 10k yen if you get 12-14 pieces of nigiri or less pieces but with sake.
A warning though: I've went this multiple times and the chef WILL forget or mix up your orders with other guests', so do take note of what has and has not been served.

Sushi Saito Azabudai (Jun 24)
Taste: 8.5/10
CP: 8.7/10
It was quite a hot opening and I all seats were booked out when I checked Omakase 1/2 months ago around the slots open schedule. I was walking around Azabudai Hills on a weekday and saw they have four seats open for both slots of lunch (12:00 and 13:30). I was the only one without reservation and the other three seats were left empty. As of now there are openings on Omakase but it's all for the upcoming month so you might have some luck if you happen to be around the area and want to check. Lunch nigiri only course is 16.5k all inclusive. On that day it was 11 nigiri, one appetizer, makimono, tamago, and owan each, with hot tea at the end.
I read TheTokyoGourmet's review on this and my experience seems to differ to a degree. First there are two itamae instead of one. One is serving six guests and one is serving only me so the course pacing is a bit more speedy. Secondly to me there are no items that were bad, and lastly I feel that the size/quantity is enough. I've never been to the main Sushi Saito but kohada was smooth with a bit of brininess. Shima aji, aori ika, kinmedai, and aji were all quite balanced and nice. Maguro duo of akami and chutoro was good but not the very best (noticeably Ryujiro was better). Uni was one huge piece and also well-balanced. Anago crumbles in mouth and the combo between the nitsume and yuzu was really good, although texture/taste wise this is still below Sugita. The torotaku roll was fattiness galore, complemented by the crunchy and sweet from takuan. Lastly tamago: a custard pudding, were indulgent and very sweet.
I have not tried other Saito lineage sushi, but here the price is all inclusive and there were no obvious faults in my visit. The course format and content is very similar to Ryujiro but Ryujiro is more expensive, doesn't include service charge in the advertised pricing, and has smaller sushi. Although in general Ryujiro has more impressive items but there are still faults so neither is perfect. English is spoke here.

ShinoiS (Jun 24)
Taste: 9.4/10
CP: 7.3/10
A Michelin star holder and one of the top 5 ranked Chinese restaurant in Tokyo in Tabelog. The chef is Japanese but he trained and did stints in HK, Shanghai, and other Chinese places in Tokyo before. I'm skeptical about Chinese cuisine in Japan in general, and the taste of most Chinese food in Japan is just "not it" compared to in other Asian countries. I went here because reservations are taken irregularly and rarely in Omakase and I saw an opening for one pax. I guess I'd go and try one of the top rated Chinese food in Japan for once. Courses are advertised as 39.8k yen before service on Omakase.
How I'd describe this place is a kaiseki restaurant but with Chinese cooking methods. Some items like lettuce wrap minced meat, which typically use pork, were substituted with suppon terrine (together with roasted eggplant, it was juiciness overload). There is also soup of winter melon with fugu shirako (Japanese ingredient) and dumpling filled with octopus (which makes it feel like takoyaki). The asparagus cooked three ways (steamed, black pepper stir fried, deep fried) was really good, even the deep fried version could rival ones on top tempura places. There is also a three-ways-cooked pork dish but it actually uses three separate pork varieties from Okinawa (this was also good). Their signature item, dried abalone on a broth of only water, is probably the best abalone I've ever had, it had deep flavors and I can even taste some fragrant and floral notes. The broth was imparted with abalone flavor and became flavorful and saline. The steamed managatsuo in akazu with watercress was very good, with flavors I'd never discovered before in those ingredients. Those two dishes remind me of Myoujaku. The stir fried corn with togarashi Sichuan style was also mind blowing, very sweet corn with spicy and smoky notes from all the chili peppers. They had three choices of carb which you can take all: fried rice, noodles, and baozi. Baozi was served first and while fundamentally it's excellent, I'm not the biggest fan of today's filling of scrambled eggs + tomato. Fried rice seems to be a fixture, with chirimenjako in chili oil on the side for you to mix in. It's the best Chinese style fried rice I've had, fragrant and adorned with crispy garlic inside. Today's noodles were summer cold noodles in a broth from chicken, pork, bonito and mackerel flakes, and ginger simmered for 6 hours ,topped with cucumber and enoki jelly. While it sounds very impressive honestly I didn't like the taste which somehow leans too much to the cucumber side of things. Dessert was a combination of black sugar pudding, topped with honey orchid oolong jelly, topped with milk ice cream with shaoxing-infused raisins. It sounds very genius but some tastes overpower others (the black sugar, mostly), but still very good. And there's a "one last bite" of a soft moon cake served with tea. Again very good. I also have to mention that they have VERY good tea, and if you are serious about it you can take a tea pairing for around 17k yen. Alcohol selections seem to be very good but I didn't try.
Overall this completely surpassed my expectations. As long as you don't expect an authentic Chinese food, then you will certainly enjoy the meal (especially for a kaiseki lover). I'm on the fence about the CP though, since even though the course includes a whole dried abalone and the signature opener of fried spring roll has caviar and shark's fin (and suppon), there's "not much" else to it. For me it's definitely worth trying once though.

Kabuto (Ikebukuro) (Jun 24)
Taste: 7.3/10
CP: 8.5/10
The highest-rated unagi joint in Tabelog, boasting a Tabelog Silver award. Reservations are hard since they only take one every two months. The place is run-down, small, and narrow, albeit with quite a long counter and two table seats. It should be noted that wild eels are reserved for regulars only. I was seated next to a couple of fellow first-timers on the grill end of the counter and the chef explained that to us. Is it worth becoming a regular so you could eat the wild eels here? Let's find out
The meal consists of 8-9 skewers, shirayaki and kabayaki with rice and owan. You can choose the size of the shirayaki and kabayaki, regular is one eel each and you can halve or double it basically. Other than one appetizer that were part of the course, there were other tsumami like hiyashi tomato offered but I took none. The meal starts with eriyaki (head) in both kanto and kansai styles (with or without steaming and tare). I definitely felt there were too many bones though. The hire/fin (2x), tail (two different parts were served) were just good. The skewer of tail (back-end) had a very good texture but a bit overloaded with tare. The reba/liver was crispy and quite creamy which was nice. Kimo skewer was very thick and thus some parts on the inside felt undercooked to me. There's also unagi heart that was still beating straight from the just-butchered unagi (the chef butchers eels in front of us as we eat). It was more of a novelty but you shouldn't bite into it and should immediately gulp it down with your drink. Now comes the main courses and the shirayaki is... disappointing. The eel was not flavorful nor fluffy enough for it to be grilled as shirayaki which pretty much has no seasonings here. The outer part wasn't even crispy enough. Thankfully the kabayaki was a saving grace. It was the best part of the meal. I felt that the eel was cooked better but maybe the tare plays the biggest role. The chef is very proud of his tare which has been there for 55 years and he even gave us a dollop in a small plate for us to lick lol. The meal ends with kimo-sui.
The bill was 13.2k with water or mugicha (free). Cash only. The course for regulars is a bit different and some items would be substituted with parts from the wild eels. For the mains they would be given half-and-half of wild and farmed eel. For me the main appeal of this place is the opportunity to try various rare eel parts but having tried them I would say most of them aren't even that good here, and I'd just stick to eating just the kabayaki somewhere. So no, it is not worth to keep visiting and become a regular. CP is actually quite good since you good two whole eels for the default portion size plus skewers. Chef surprisingly speaks enough English to communicate and explain the dishes.

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Thanks for the extra reviews. Sadly I agree with your assessment of Kabuto. The new policy of only serving the wild eel to regulars kills one of the main reasons to go here. If you can go with someone who's been before I think it's worth it (even though your bill will be 2x with the wild eel), but otherwise I'd go elsewhere.

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Thanks for your reviews, great reads!

Even for farmed eel, I believe the cost-performance/experience-factor of Kabuto is still great. Given wild eel is harder and harder to get (I mean AFAIK, it is an endangered species). I appreciate that they do that rather than jack-up prices or even worse, sell morocco-born, china-farmed eels and pretend they are wild eels as some other restaurants may do...

Had similar experience at Akira, loads of tourists lining up to the street level, the chef seemed to not care anymore and mixed up several orders, mixed up the bill etc. Service was mechanical and borderline soulless last time I went. Personally, I feel the sake is a bit overpriced. Sushi were ok. I recommend the Tsukiji over the OG shinbashi branch.

Saito Azabudai, I went in June as well. However, chef Takimoto (the chatty guy) served the whole counter, which was full but also all by reservation. Could it be that walk in customers are served differently?

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