Tokyo Table Trip

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Tokyo Oct '23 - May '24 Food Journal

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magiquonnu about 1 month ago

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

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.

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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.

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Western

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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kk1337 3 days ago

Apothéose (French), Tanimoto (kaiseki)

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mirugai about 1 month ago

Hi all---just wanted to offer a couple of endorsements of places I've visited recently that I think deserve a little more exposure. Tried both in late May / early June. Take everything with a pinch of salt because I'm hardly an expert.

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Apothéose: recently opened at Tokyo Node in Toranomon Hills. You can read all about the chef's history and the restaurant at https://apotheose.jp/en/about/. I was slightly concerned that it would be all about the 49th floor setting (which is absolutely stunning, especially if you can time dinner to span sunset) but I came away extremely impressed overall. I called it French in the title, and that makes sense as a reference point, but the food has an extremely international sensibility and so I wouldn't want to pin it down.

My meal was close to flawless. Flavors are perfectly balanced, light but complex, clever without being needlessly challenging. Every dish had precision and a point of view. Wine list has smart, cheaper, trendy bottles (e.g. Jura, Loire) to go along with the expected old favorites, and the somm was a pleasure to talk to. Service and design impeccable. One of the most impressive new restaurants. It's medium pricey. Reservations currently extremely easy but in my opinion deserve to be more difficult.

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Tanimoto: less new, less under the radar, but another place with easy reservations that, for me, is superior to a lot of more difficult ones. Relocated to Kagurazaka and the space is nice. I went for lunch; it's the same course as dinner but I very much appreciate a good kaiseki lunch when available.

Overall one of the best Japanese meals I've had in Tokyo in a long while. Nothing too fancy in terms of showy ingredients or huge portions, but very satisfying. The soup course (suppon dumpling) was an eleven out of ten. A few other courses were a ten. Service relatively relaxed for this kind of place. Similarly, the cooks seemed to all be operating smoothly and without any anxiety, which in my experience is quite unusual for a kaiseki place with a decent-sized staff. I wouldn't go expecting a lot of innovation, but it fits what I personally am looking for in this kind of meal, and offers decent value for money compared to some of its peers.

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guest 8 days ago

Kaiseki Dinner Menu at Lunch in Tokyo

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Waffle about 1 year ago

Hi everyone! Was doing some last minute research on Kaiseki lunch in Tokyo and thought I'd see if anyone had any thoughts. For context, I am trying to book a Kaiseki lunch in Tokyo on a Wednesday. I am looking for something convenient to more central Tokyo and hoping for a restaurant that offers the dinner menu at lunch. It would be the final meal before leaving Japan and would like to end it on a good note trying the full experience which I generally consider to be dinner. On that note, also aiming for relatively good reviews while being not too hard to book. I think a budget under 40K JPY (hopefully closer to 30K) per person should cover most options I think.

I remembered a great article here: https://tokyotabletrip.com/en/342. I noted a few restaurants on here no longer seem to offer lunch though: Ginza Koguma, Shirokanedai Kobayashi, and Sekihoutei.

I used the article last time to try Tagetsu and liked it. Was planning to revisit but they are renovating their restaurant during the time I'm planning to be there so now I'm trying to find an alternative.

Of the places open for lunch on a Wednesday and otherwise fitting what I'm looking for, Nogizaka Shin looks most promising, though online reservations only seem to open about 2.5 weeks in advance on Tablecheck unless I'm missing something.

Seika Kobayashi looked possible, though it seems like a call would be required to reserve the dinner menu at lunch as I could not find that option through online reservation services.

Another restaurant I saw was Tsu no Kamizaka Koshiba: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1309/A130903/13200286/ I've never really heard anything about this restaurant before though and while lunch reservations appear possible they don't seem possible online and I see nothing about the menus available.

As a final back up, I heard of a restaurant named Genyadana Hamadaya but I prefer counter-style and this one didn't look like that. The 20% service charge also seemed quite high vs. everything else I've noticed before.

Would love to hear people's thoughts, especially if I'm missing a good place that does dinner at lunch or if a restaurant's lunch menu is close enough to their dinner menu that I shouldn't exclude it. Even if I can't include it in this trip, there's always next time! Thank you!

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guest about 1 month ago

Review of Iwasawa (Nov2022 Visit)

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Fudomae Sushi Iwasawa
不動前 すし 岩澤
Nigiri: 6.25/10 Tsumami: 7.5/10 CP: 6/10

Correct me if I’m wrong, but recently I’ve been getting the impression that Sho-style restaurants (except maybe the honten) have fallen out of favor. A few years ago there were new openings left and right - see the TTT article on “The Sushi Sho Mafia Sweeping Over Tokyo” - but nowadays it’s up-and-coming disciples from famous places that are absorbing all the attention. Also, when it comes to Sho-style restaurants, it seems increasingly difficult to evaluate what makes one different from another. They are all practicing the main elements of Keiji Nakazawa’s style (random flow of tsumami/nigiri; different types of rice for different types of neta etc.), but it may be hard to pinpoint what makes them stand out from each other, resulting in a lack of originality. This is mostly what I felt at Iwasawa.

The sushi-ya is a ~10 minute walk from Gotanda Station. It is located on the street level of a building near the road and is very easy to find. On the day of my meal, the 9-seat counter was occupied by at least 5 foreigners (including us) and a few Japanese men who were able to speak foreign languages. As you may know, Iwasawa-san hails from Sushi Sho Saito and is able to speak English and Chinese well. A tall and steady figure, he provides warm hospitality and introduces all the fish names in English, making this a charming experience for sushi newbies and foreigners. There is certainly a lack of “local ambiance” here as you do not hear tons of Japanese spoken at the counter. I do not mind this - I place foremost emphasis on the food, but unfortunately I was not very impressed :(

In total there were around 10 tsumami, 3 pickled vegetable “courses”, and 10 pieces of nigiri. Most of what was served was very small and bite-sized compared to other places I visited. For instance, the two aji rolls (tsumami) were so tiny that both of them would equal the size of one roll served at, say, Hashimoto! The tsumami could really be described as “tiny snacks” rather than “appetizers” (for comparison, the portions were much smaller than at Takumi Shingo). Overall, the tsumami was pretty good, with highlights being the ika somen and grilled mehikari. Flavor profiles were clean and not heavy at all, although nothing really stood out as being extraordinary.

Nigiri was interspersed throughout the course, and shiro or aka shari was used depending on the neta, as is the case at Sho-style restaurants. The nigiri here was like delicate glasswork, so beautiful and shiny that they almost looked too pretty to eat. While the nigiri was not bad, several issues I had were:

- Both kinds of shari, especially the shiro shari, were extremely mildly seasoned, to the point that I could taste almost no vinegar in the rice.

- The sushi was really quite small. In Singapore, we frequently have people coming into sushi restaurants requesting small rice or (god forbid) no rice at all. Iwasawa-san’s sushi reminded me of some of those Singapore style nigiri. The nigiri still spread apart nicely in the mouth, although I prefer bigger sushi, especially when I’m in Japan.

- Iwasawa-san barely brushed shoyu onto each piece - it was literally maybe one light tap of the brush on each fish. While this allowed the natural flavors of the neta to shine through, the bland shari did not help at all, making for a balance that seemed almost too clean, too pristine.

While there were some very good pieces (kohada, ankimo narazuke, kuromutsu skin), many of them also did not leave a lasting impression. Vocabulary I would use to describe the sushi would include “kirei,” “kawaii,” “chiisai,” “petite,” effeminate even (think Kanesaka/Ichiyanagi style sushi) and while I’m sure some people like this, I have a feeling hardcore sushi eaters would not enjoy it so much. And back to what I mentioned at the start: I felt that while Iwasawa-san was able to produce sushi that came straight out of a textbook - they would get straight A’s in terms of appearance and proportioning - his food also lacked personality. He did introduce a selection of items you could add on - including a dashi-marinated kuruma ebi, kuromutsu skin which would be grilled and made into nigiri, and plum (ume) nigiri - and these were more unique. I only wish they were included in the main course so that the meal would be more interesting. Instead, Iwasawa-san’s selection of nigiri neta was very “safe” (ika, kohada, tuna, etc.) and although I did get the infamous ankimo narazuke, I didn’t get any other Sho-style originals like kinmedai grilled with its skin or the “ohagi” toro taku nigiri. In general, the impact of his nigiri was restrained, muted, and extremely clean tasting. It comes down to preferences, but surely I prefer more old-school and more intense Edomae preparations.

The price came up to ¥25,500 per person including 2-3 add ons; I would not consider this to be great value. I would still rank the food above Sushi Sho Masa although definitely below Takumi Shingo. I do buy some foodies’ criticisms that it is difficult to focus on the nigiri here given there are so many tsumami thrown in between, although I was fully expecting this from the start. Overall, I’d say Iwasawa is a perfectly decent Sho-style restaurant, with a cozy ambiance and good hospitality. It’s just that if you asked me to recall, in a year’s time, some interesting/idiosyncratic properties about this place, I doubt I’ll be able to share that much. . .

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NOTES
1. I don’t drink, which may have contributed to my reduced enjoyment at this place (and Sho-style restaurants in general). I think I'm going to take an extended break from Sho places now . . .
2. Compared to other Sho-style places, Iwasawa-san seems to do a few things differently. First, there is a clearly-defined course that everyone gets - that is to say, although nigiri and tsumami are interspersed, all diners get the same stuff in the same order. This was not the case when I went to Shingo, where every group got a different flow of items, i.e. our 3rd nigiri might be their 10th. It was still immensely interesting to watch the well-coordinated nature of the chefs here. Second, Iwasawa-san served all the sushi with shiro shari before moving onto all the sushi with aka shari. This was not the case when I went to both Shingo and Sho Masa (they switched back and forth between the rice numerous times).

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guest about 2 months ago

Anyone been to Sushi Kizaki recently?

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Justeat over 1 year ago

The name has popped up multiple times so I'm interested to opt for their lunch course. Would love to know your guys thought! Thanks

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guest about 2 months ago

Hotel
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Best ryokans? (With a focus on food)

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JJ over 1 year ago

Some years back, I had the pleasure of visiting Nishimuraya Honkan in Kinosaki Onsen. Apart from the amazingly manicured garden in the property, one memory that stuck out was being served a remarkable kaiseki meal for dinner. I remember thinking that it was better than the kaiseki dinner I had in Ichita a few days prior, haha.

I’ve stayed in more ryokans since then. But while many have wonderful settings or onsens, I never stayed in another that surprised me food-wise. So I was wondering if folks on this forum have any ryokans to recommend, that are notable for their cuisine as well? :)

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guest about 2 months ago

15 Easy-To-Book Sushi Restaurants in Tokyo (2023) by Andrew Gyokudari

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thetokyogourmet 6 months ago

I stopped reading Luxeat a while back as there wasn't enough on Japan but this post is actually quite good.

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thetokyogourmet 2 months ago

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Family trip to Tokyo

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Wanderlusting 6 months ago

Hello TTT followers, wanted to ask around if you guys have any suggestions for places to eat for 2 families, we are a group of 8, 4adults and 4 kids.

Understand its not going to be the creme de la creme of Tokyo, but just want to maximise our dining experience as a family. Looking forward to your suggestions. No budget or cuisines to see what we can come up with. I will collate and share at the end. Thank you for sharing.

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Wanderlusting 2 months ago

3

Consolidated list of under-radar sushi restaurant

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Justeat 4 months ago

I believe in supporting small business owner (in this case less famoush sushi shop). All famous places with Tabelog Silver or Gold already got the spotlight they deserved from their hard work and hardcore fans. However, I would like to start this thread here to discover more under-radar sushi shop, especially in Tokyo as I believe TTT is one of the biggest international community of sushi lover. Please do note that some names might already been discussed in TTT, of course. This is just my own opinion that I thought the shop is still under the radar and I have a good experience with. Some of you may say that these name are already famous. Here are my list

Sushi Ichigo
Sushi Mitomi
Sakita
Marufuku
Sushi Kanesho
Ishimaru
Sushi Mizuno
Sushi Molinari
Jizo Sushi
Sushi Kunimitsu
Otsuka Takase

Let's share yours!

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JJ 3 months ago

Has anyone here been to Sushi Kizaki? Tabelog 3.88 but barely any English reviews

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tyeater 8 months ago

I am thinking about going bc it is easy to book and fairly reasonably priced. Does anyone have any reviews of it? Would you recommend it for the 20k range of sushi?

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guest 3 months ago

Cycle Restaurant

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kk1337 5 months ago

Wondering if anyone here has tried it yet, if so please share your impression !

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kk1337 5 months ago

Oct'23 Tokyo Sushi Reviews (Yamada, Ishiyama, Akira, Shimazu, Muto, Zai, Take, Shimizu)

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Just_Ingest 9 months ago

More sushi reviews - hope people find this interesting once again!

Note(1): I know everyone is trying to get into Namba, Sugita, Arai etc. but how about trying one of these sushiya instead? Most are very easy to book and you will likely have a good time :) One thing I noted was that many of them had unfilled seats, and almost all of them had foreigners (besides myself) dining at the counter. Just to give a flavor, I've indicated the number of occupied seats and foreign visitors at each place.

Note(2): Disclaimer as always that reviews are personal/subjective, in case the food police or cult worshippers of a certain sushiya want to come after me.

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1. Sushidokoro Yamada (2nd visit)
Nigiri: 7/10, CP: 5/10
Seats Occupied: 2/11 (me and my sister)

Sushidokoro Yamada has moved to a new building in Ginza and now has an upgraded, refined interior. Unfortunately, that was probably the only improvement. Compared to my first visit just a few months ago, I thought the sushi here devolved despite the 30-40% price increase. I’m not sure whether it was because my sister and I were the only 2 guests, or whether Yamada-san was trying new things, or whether the taste profile has now become more “Ginza-esque”, but there was not much of the umami/interesting flavor notes that I got on my first visit. The fish looked way too clean and not aged (lol) while the shari had almost no flavor. Pieces like hirame, sumi ika, and kuruma ebi which I thought were incredible on my first visit now tasted like run-of-the-mill Kanesaka-style stuff. It’s a huge shame because Yamada-san’s sushi has a lot of personality (his signature items like shiitake mushroom, “dehydrated kinmedai”, and mashed ebi still tasted very solid and clearly stood out as truly original items), but overall I left disappointed this time around. I much prefer the old Yamada, where the decor was akin to a craftsman’s workshop and the chef was more like a mad scientist than a Ginza chef. I can only pray that he reverts to his old style in the future because this is one of those restaurants that has no skill ceiling - or so I thought!

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2. Ishiyama (2nd visit)
Nigiri: 8.2/10, CP: 8.5/10
Seats Occupied: 9/11 (5 foreigners)

This was my first return visit after 5 years and I don’t remember Ishiyama-san’s sushi being this solid! While it is true that the shari is on the lighter side and the pieces are on the smaller side, I think that Ishiyama-san makes sushi that’s very well-balanced both in terms of proportioning as well as flavoring. I opted for the ~20-sushi course and thought that at least 70% of the pieces were high-impact, oozing with strong and vivid flavors. Ishiyama-san is especially well-rounded too, preparing pretty much all categories of neta pretty well; kohada, chutoro, hamaguri, and the famous tamago were the standouts on my visit. Importantly, the flow of his course was very good and never left me nauseous/overwhelmed (this was an issue I had with some of the other places I visited; read on to find out).

While perhaps Sushi Ishiyama has a reputation for being a “foreigner counter” or “not trending” or whatever, I think it’s really good and my #1 safest recommendation to anyone looking for excellent, reasonably-priced sushi. I haven’t heard of a single person who has straight up disliked this place, and anyone from sushi beginners to hardcore diners would be able to enjoy it. (In fact, my sister thought it was a level above Saito, lol.) A huge plus point is that it’s easy to book, although you may wish to request sitting with Ishiyama-san as there is now a second chef who makes nigiri as well. Most importantly, I thought the sushi here has improved over time, which can’t be said for some places that I made return visits to.

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3. Sushi Akira (1st visit)
Nigiri: 6.25/10, CP: 3/10
Seats Occupied: 8/8 (8 foreigners)

Ever since Sushi Akira moved towards two seatings for dinner, it has been much easier to reserve, so I decided to try it out. As most people already know, Maeiwa-san worked at Sazenka and Sushi Sho Masa before striking out on his own. For starters, the tsumami was pretty decent / acceptable, although nothing really stood out. Notably, I didn’t understand why he grilled the luscious-looking botan ebi, and the only thing I remember about it was that the room became shrouded in smoke after the prep - poor ventilation! The sushi course wasn’t much to write home about, either. The lineup of ingredients was fish-heavy and many of the items served were very fatty/buttery, to the point that many successive items had the same textural consistency, and left me craving for sweetness/acidity/refreshing items which were basically absent from the meal. (In fact, the course started with chutoro, ootoro, and akami, which knocked me out from the get-go, lol)

To be fair, most of the fish was high quality, but good fish alone does not make good sushi. The shari was forgettable (it had some kind of akazu flavor that wasn’t too strong and very quickly degraded to room temperature), the nigiri molding was not the best (the shari often disappeared way too quickly and sometimes didn’t stick well to the neta), and the heat lamps felt like a gimmick (why bother when you can't even control the temperature of shari properly?). Original items like a rice ball wrapped in steamed nodoguro and zuwaigani served atop hot shari were interesting but not too impactful. The ending was very weak: bafun uni was served with soggy seaweed that got stuck in my mouth, anago was among the most mediocre variant I’ve ever had, and tamago was almost a waste of calories. I also didn’t feel good at the end due to all the fatty stuff accumulating on my tongue and in my stomach (lol). On the one hand, Maeiwa-san was very friendly and spoke pretty good English to everyone, but on the other hand, he and his staff looked tired; plus his team was all coughing throughout the night. He is still young, to be sure, but given my experience and the very poor CP, I can't recommend this place to any serious sushi foodie right now.

========================================

4. Shimazu (1st visit)
Nigiri: 7.8/10, CP: 6.5/10
Seats Occupied: 8/8 (4 foreigners)

Shimazu is difficult to reserve; seats are pretty much gone within a few seconds of being released on Omakase. If you manage to grab some, though, you’ll be treated to a good meal spearheaded by boisterous young talent. The thing that stood out to me the most was the upbeat ambiance; the staff and diners were all joking around and having a good time. Shimazu-san speaks decent basic English and will entertain you throughout the night, so service is A+ here. To start off, the ~6 or so tsumami were extremely solid. Kue and botan ebi sashimi were generously sliced and fatty; katsuo in ginger soy sauce was amazing; ankimo narazuke is no longer an original thing but it was nonetheless well done. Deep fried shishamo was paired with rice and rolled into temaki; not bad! The sequence ended with a heartwarming chawanmushi with hamaguri dashi and plenty of kegani inside it. Overall, very good execution of quality ingredients.

Now the sushi: I can definitely see the appeal in the style. The pieces are large and chonky; they break apart beautifully in the mouth so you are eating “wholesome” pieces of nigiri here. The aka-shari was more strongly-vinegared than at many other places although still short of the most aggressive preps. The neta was, for the most part, high-quality and generously sliced, with a good range of textures and flavor dimensions (his nama sanma and kawahagi were particularly amazing). And despite his young age, I believe that Shimazu-san’s nigiri molding skill is as good as, or better than, many veterans’. It was all quite exciting, but why did I feel it was also a bit lacking?

Well, it might be a personal opinion but I am getting a little bored of “textbook” aka-shari places these days; they’re all starting to feel like more of the same. Yes, aka shari pairs very well with a range of ingredients, especially tuna. But then what? These days, I am craving something more; something distinctive; or perhaps just something that’s less mainstream. Here were the nitpicks I had with this meal: 1) The aka-shari didn’t taste particularly unique; 2) the tuna was WAY too oily and buttery; 3) as at Sushi Akira, the non-fish items were forgettable, and the nigiri course really went downhill after the tuna sequence; 4) the meal was very heavy and lacking in balance (although some people surely enjoy the generous portions served), 5) I get the sense that the diners who come here are of a certain “type” and may be more interested in taking pictures / having a good time with the taisho than concentrating on the sushi itself. Objectively the meal was very good, but if I may, I believe it is a bit overrated and also a bit unimaginative. It is undoubtedly easy for anyone to enjoy, but also lacking in the complexity and personality that characterize some of my favorite places. Shimazu-san is still 30 years old, though, and I really hope that he’ll tinker around with some unusual preparations / come up with a few signature items, not just slap a bunch of high-quality fish onto aka-shari. I hope his restaurant doesn’t turn into just another trendy place that’s hard to book.

========================================

5. Sushi Muto (1st visit)
Nigiri: 8.8/10, CP: 7.5/10
Seats Occupied: 5/8 (3 foreigners)

Sushi Muto is following in the footsteps of Sushi Ao, where I had one of the very best meals of my life earlier this year. It should come as no surprise, then, that Muto-san’s new place is the kind of sushiya I’m excited about nowadays. The focus is on a degustation of precisely-prepared ingredients, shiro-shari with a punchy yet addictive flavor profile, and an almost restrained minimalism that removes all the unessential elements of sushi. It’s just sophisticated sushi calibrated to a tee; sushi where justice is done to each and every ingredient; sushi where nothing is mind-blowingly good but the whole meal is greater than the sum of the parts.

As at Sushi Ao, nothing was remotely close to bad here, and most pieces were good or very good. The ~20-piece nigiri course is not cheap but I feel it is worth the money. To share some highlights: kijihata, sumi ika, shima aji, and hirame kobujime - the starting sequence of stuff - were all excellent. Shime saba was beautiful. Maguro from Fujita is used here, and it was absolutely of the “blood flavor” kind rather than the fatty and oily kind (which I already had enough of at this point). It paired so well with the shari, contributing to my appreciation for Muto-san’s refined sense of taste. Several clams were served (young chefs - take note!!); hokkigai and hamaguri were especially good. Aji, shima ebi, and katsuo were deliberately served on the colder side and tasted so luscious and clean. Where other places serve bland kuruma ebi, Muto-san’s - which were still warm and which he peeled and shaped into nigiri one after another throughout a 15-minute+ sequence - had plenty of lovely, concentrated prawn flavor. Anago was the star of the show, so soft and sweet (yet the anago flavor still shone through!) that I kind of yelped while eating it. His tamago I did not understand - it had a texture similar to frozen cheesecake and was topped with crushed kurumi or something - but my sister loved it and it was nice to see an older chef still trying to experiment with new things. Kanpyo had Sushi Ao vibes (I had the best kanpyo of my life there). The entire meal was bound together by a very beautifully-seasoned shari - not as sour as at other Jiro-style places and slightly less salty than at Sushi Ao - that retained good temperature and a consistent vinegar flavor throughout the whole ~150 minutes, which is an achievement by itself. (Young chefs, take double note??) Truly impressive; the kind of sushi course that makes me jump for joy nowadays. I felt like I could eat 10 more pieces at the end and still not be bored.

In my opinion Sushi Muto is not as good as Sushi Ao and there are obvious things that need improving (e.g. Muto-san did everything by himself and the course dragged on longer than I preferred) but for a place that has opened for only 6 months, I believe the future is bright. Muto-san and okami-san are soft-spoken, warm, and genuine, able to speak basic English and offer all guests a very comfortable time; I am a fan of his personality and his approach to sushi. Where komezu-style restaurants are concerned, I actually enjoyed Sushi Muto even more than Hashiguchi and definitely much more than the Jiro-style places I’ve tried (Honten, Harutaka, Mizukami, Tokiwazushi), except Sushi AO. I will return without hesitation.

========================================

6. Sushi Zai (1st visit)
Nigiri: 7.8/10, CP: 5/10
Seats Occupied: 7/8 (5 foreigners)

This is a sushiya that I certainly underestimated going in. Unable to get a reservation at Sushi Yuu, I diverted to sister shop Sushi Zai, run by the charming Okada-san (who looks like he’s mid-30’s but actually 47??). He and his team are used to dealing with foreign visitors and are quite well-versed at English, offering warm service without being pretentious. The course kicked off with ~7 tsumami, and I have to say that even though I’m not a tsumami person, all the courses were daring and frankly excellent, some of the best I've had at a sushiya. A dish of unagi paired with chestnuts in warm broth was sublime; sawara sashimi paired with edible flowers was very good; ankimo paste served with fried nori and wasabi was simple but really hit the nail on the head; awabi liver and risotto was wonderful and somehow not boring; deep fried amadai and matsutake mushrooms was awesome. The dishes may sound way too modern or heavy but the flavoring was actually very well-balanced and did not overload my palate. Ironically, I thought the weakest thing served in the tsumami course was the Sushiyuu-signature kegani/bafun uni with shari and nori; it was too predictable and nothing special. Everything else, though, was very good indeed!

Places that "wow" with the tsumami sometimes regress significantly in terms of nigiri, so I was bracing myself for a subpar sushi course, but it turned out to be well above expectations. The aka-shari was assertive but somehow not tiring to eat, unlike at Shimazu where I was getting bored towards the end. The neta was cut in generous slices, resulting in big and bulky sushi, yet the proportioning was very well-balanced, and there was a clear harmony between neta and shari. In fact, I thought the flavor profile of the sushi here was very beautiful and high-level overall. Although only 8 pieces of nigiri + tamago were served (which I thought was odd, but then again, everyone at the counter received the same course), most of the nigiri was very good, the highlights being kasugo, aji, and chutoro. It’s a shame because I thought the course was therefore overpriced and I thought Okada-san was genuinely skilled - I wanted to eat more of his stuff - but I was sufficiently full at the end and ordered just an extra kanpyo maki, which was very good.

You may call me crazy but I thought the level of sushi here was very similar to that of Shimazu, plus reservations are very easy to get. And despite what you may think of Sushi Yuu-style sushi, I did not find that Sushi Zai reeked of opulence / Instagram fad-chasing nonsense. The modern/original elements in the meal were surprisingly well-calibrated and not obnoxious at all. I think that Sushi Zai’s Tabelog rating of ~3.9 is actually very fair and legitimate, and I would not mind returning at all. (It also made me think that Shimazu should be closer to 4.0 than 4.4 where he currently is)

========================================

7. Sushi Take (3rd visit)
Nigiri: 7.7/10, CP: 8.5/10
Seats Occupied: 1/8 (me although I came early and 1 more guy came when I was leaving)

I think I’ve finally made up my mind about Sushi Take: it is what it is. I feel like Take-san’s sushi has stabilized over time, and has now reached a point where I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing much changes in the years to come. This is NOT a bad thing at all. I feel like the flavor profile of nigiri here has diverged significantly from her training location (Shimizu), with a paradoxically sour-yet-light aka-shari and traditional but clean preparations. I especially like Take-san’s somewhat subdued preparation of hikarimono (the kohada, iwashi, and sanma were all on point during my visit), which does not go heavy on salt and vinegar and instead accentuates the neta’s “pristine fishiness,” if that makes sense. I also like how stuff like awabi and tako are served as nigiri, each coming packed with a strong oceanic aroma. There doesn’t seem to be much innovation going on but the sushi now tastes distinctive and personal, as if Take-san has a very clear idea of the kind of sushi she wants to serve. To me, this is a very successful case of a disciple branching out from their master, infusing their own sensibilities into their own sushi rather than straight up carbon-copying their boss. It is not the "best," whatever the heck that means, but I really enjoy Sushi Take.

========================================

8. Shimizu (4th visit)
Nigiri: 9.25/10, CP: 8/10
Seats Occupied: 7/7 (one or two more foreigners besides our group?)

Return visit after ~4 years and I was stunned at how much has changed. For starters, there are new youngsters helping out (one of them looks like he’s in high school). Next, Shimizu-san’s personality seems to have taken a 180-degree turn as he is now smiling to everyone and speaking in gentle, tranquil tones - he is nowhere as intimidating as he was before, and maybe even speaking 3 words of English?? Finally, and most importantly, the shari is nowhere as strong/sour as it was before, so the most noteworthy element of his sushi is no longer there. Nevertheless, the shari is still on the relatively sour and savory side and paired wonderfully with all his neta. There were less mind-blowing pieces on this visit (hamaguri and kohada, which I used to think were among the best in the entire world, have mellowed out) although still plenty of standouts (sanma, his clams, and his classic anago were amazing). The size of Shimizu-san’s sushi, the marvelous way in which it is packed and breaks apart in your mouth, and the old-school flavor profiles have thankfully still been retained. The same cannot be said about the C/P of the meal: the price, while reasonable, has gone up quite a notch. The entire meal felt much more balanced than before, which is strange to say about a place like this. Yet after some reflection, I think Shimizu is still one of my top picks in Tokyo.

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mx 6 months ago

Please help refine Tokyo sushi list!

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az about 1 year ago

Hello, let me start out by thanking the amazing folks! I am planning a food-focused trip to Japan in Sep'23 and came across this website while attempting to research places. I know that there are an endless number of options and I was hoping to get some advice from the community re. my picks. This will be my 2nd visit to Tokyo. The last time I was there was a long time ago and I was fortunate enough to dine at Sushi Iwa, Sushi Taichi & Daisan Harumi and liked them in that order.

I don't think I enjoy extremely sour (Keita?) or salty shari but I would like to try a few different styles if possible. I would like to concentrate on nigiri more than tsumami but since I would like to plan a few meals, I can mix it up. I'm looking at about 6 meals, maybe 2 in the ¥40k-50k range, 2 in the ¥30k-35k range & 2 in the ¥20k-25k range. Weekend lunches would work!

I was planning to stay at Four Seasons but I read that the concierge at Tokyo Station Hotel might be better. Should I look into switching to that? I do not speak Japanese but I can try to request friends who do to call on my behalf if that helps (the friends do not live in Japan though so they may not have a Japanese phone number in case that's needed). My only priority is deliciousness. Don't really care about prestige or cool pictures or stuff.

Based on my research, I've come up with a few names:

* Sugita: I wasn't planning on using Tableall. Taking that into consideration, should I even think about this or forget it and not even try?
* Hashiguchi: I'm not sure if they allow solo diners to make reservations?
* Kimura: Aged fish sounds interesting. Ichimura san in NYC used to do this and I loved his sushi! Don't know if a reservation is possible here though.
* Hatsunezushi: Do they also age fish?
* Tachigui Sushi Akira
* Harutaka: Jiro Style
* Inomata: Since this is also aged, I guess this could be a backup to Kimura?
* Tokiwazushi: I understand that this is Mizutani style but what is this style? I think this may be an option for a Saturday lunch

Of course a whole bunch of other places came up in my research - Saito (I wish! :), Sushisho Masa, Keita, Namba Hibiya, Ryujiro (heavy on the salt?), Sushi Ao, Hashimoto, Sushi Watanabe, Hakkoku, Suzuki, Ishiyama, Namba Hibiya, Sawada (strangely the reviews I saw were mixed), Amamoto, Arai, etc. to name a few.

I would appreciate any feedback on the above and suggestions to improve my list! Thank you all very much!

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guest 9 months ago

12

Tokyo and Kyushu Sushiyas

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Yee How 7 months ago

Restaurant Number 1: sushi suzuki.

Saito-san ranks it as A on his sushi guide.

Suzuki has been written extensively by thetokyogourmet. Please refer to his website for more details.

Personal experience / Disclaimer

I am not a friend of chefs, I pay for all my meals and I am not a fanboy of sugita, saito and arai. Please take my review with a grain of salt.

Review

One-man operation with okami-san helping to serve drinks, okami-san always wears a cold expression.
Service was relatively on-point.

Suzuki-san is quite cheerful and spends most of his time with the regulars when I was there.

Flow was abit too slow, took 1h45mins for 15 sushis.

Very Good pieces
Sababozushi is very good, only reason to be there.

Decent pieces
Shimaaji
Akagai
Kurumaebi
Maguromaki

Cons

A couple pieces too heavy-handed on wasabi, neta felt a tad cold for several pieces.
Medium sized sushi, salty but mild akazu used for shari which is slightly dry, not really my preference.

Score: 7.625/10

Price: 26,620JPY(nigiri lunch via JPNEAZY)

Conclusion: Just go once for the sababozushi, not good enough for revisit.

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thetokyogourmet 7 months ago

Sushi
828

Sushi Obana

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I heard that seating at Obana is hard to get these days. Anyone have been to Obana recently?

I would like to know your thoughts about Obana.

Ps. If you have any knowledge about their sake selection, please share your thoughts as well. Thank you.

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Eric Yu 9 months ago

1356

Roasted Chestnuts in Tokyo

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Eric Yu over 1 year ago

Hi TTT Community,

Does anyone know anywhere that does freshly roasted chestnuts in Tokyo.

I used to see some random street vendors do this, but failing that, a proper store will do as well.

Thank you!

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guest 9 months ago

Early Dec. kaiseki in Tokyo

Tonk

mirugai 10 months ago

Will be in Tokyo early December for a very brief trip. Considering Myoujaku or Ensui for a meal. Sadly just not enough time for more than one kaiseki meal given my other plans. I know both have been discussed on TTT before, but a couple of specific small questions for the group:
1. If I book Myoujaku on Omakase am I likely to be at the second counter rather than the first? Does it matter?
2. I may end up doing the "early 'dinner' at 5, second meal later" trick, to maximize meals on a short trip. Are either or both of these restaurants a particularly bad idea with such a plan? i.e. will I eat there at 5 and have no desire at all to eat much later on?
Thanks for any thoughts! If it matters, Ishikawa and Miyasaka are probably my top two Tokyo kaiseki meals in the past; I'm open-minded about style.

Tonk

mirugai 9 months ago

84

Recommended tsukmen in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Where would you recommend Tsukemen in Tokyo? Both thick soup and light soup are both welcome!

Also, is Michi tsukemen good? Heard a lot of good things

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guest 9 months ago

Sushi
440

Opinions on Sugaya?

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JJ over 1 year ago

Has anyone been to Sugaya recently and gotten a sense of whether or not it's worth the visit? The price used to be insultingly high, but it seems like every other sushiya these days are raising their prices (Nanba Hibiya, Harutaka, Takamitsu, Kimura, etc. have crept within a ~10,000yen distance unless Sugaya has raised their price in tandem, and Sugaya seems easier to book) to the point where many other well-regarded places aren't too far off.

I'm interested mainly for the maguro, which I've heard good things about. Already have myself a reservation at Inomata, but wanted to try a place with a different style.

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guest 9 months ago

October Lunch at Sushi Arai

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

Nigiri: Hirame(flounder), Shimaaji(striped jack), Sumiika(black squid), Aji(horse mackerel), Buri(yellowtail), Ara(saw-edged perch), Iwashi(sardine), Saba(mackerel), Akami, Chutoro, Otoro, Hokki(Sakhalin surf clam), Ikura, Ebi(shrimp), Uni(sea urchin), Anago(conger eel), Tamago
It was my first visit in half a year.
The neta was large, the shari was a little larger, and the acidity of the red vinegar was a little stronger.
Hmmm, not very tasty this time. I would rate the sushi at A- or even B+ level with this taste. And my impression is that the portion was too large for lunch.
Maybe my tastes have changed …
Recently I don't really like sushi with large pieces of fish …

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guest 9 months ago

3522

Michelin Tokyo 2023

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Though I never rely on Michelin guide, is there any surprises for everyone?

I am really surprised sushi ichijo got a star, compared to places like namba hibiya.

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guest 9 months ago

October Dinner at Azabu Muroi(麻布室井)

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

After training at "Ishikawa" in Kagurazaka, Mr. Muroi, who also worked as the second chef at "Kimoto" for a long time, opened what is now the trendiest restaurant.
I had heard for a long time about Muroi-san's good sense as a sushi chef, so I visited the restaurant with high expectations, but the food was not very good...
The only thing that tasted good was the rice cooked over a wood fire at the end of the meal.
His overly confident attitude was also a negative point. I felt he should polish his culinary skills more and more before he becomes unduly arrogant without reason.
It seems that reservations are already difficult, but personally, I will not be going back for a while.

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guest 9 months ago

Kyoto Best Upscale Izakaya selection

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

①Kappo Ichikawa(割烹いちかわ)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260202/26030196/

②Muromachi Kaji(むろまち加地)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26018600/

③Washoku Horai(わしょく宝来)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260301/26027790/

④Nijo Arigaki(二条有恒 )
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26026084/

⑤Sakedokoro Terayama(酒処てらやま)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26032384/

⑥Takohachi(蛸八)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26005639/

⑦Washoku Haru(和食晴ル)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260201/26026013/

⑧En(燕)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260101/26022259/

⑨Yoshiya(余志屋)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260202/26000701/

⑩Gotoshi(ごとし)
https://tabelog.com/kyoto/A2601/A260202/26006752/

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guest 9 months ago

140

How is Mikawa Zezankyo?

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Brady over 1 year ago

Hi everyone, did anyone go to Mikawa Zezankyo before? How do you like it comparing to other Tempura place like Motoyoshi or Fukamachi? I know it's kind of touristy now, but it's in the area I want to visit so I think I may give it a chance?

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guest 9 months ago

Help decide Kaiseki places in Tokyo

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az about 1 year ago

Hello, I'll be visiting Tokyo for 2 weeks later this year. I'd like to have some Kaiseki while I'm there. Based on what I read, I came up with a few options and would appreciate any help in refining the list. A couple of important points:

1. I'll also be spending about a week each in Kyoto & Osaka so if there are places there that I should go to instead of Tokyo, I can do that.

2. I usually prefer relatively stronger flavors compared to very mild, delicate flavors. I read in a few places that even though Kyoto is known for Kaiseki, a lot of places there tend to have muted flavors.

3. I was thinking maybe 4-5 places total across Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto but I'm flexible on that. Maybe 1 meal in the ~50k range and the rest lower than that?

Kimoto: This seems very expensive
Goryukubo: This seems very expensive
Ishikawa
Myoujaku
Kohaku
Ensui
Guchokuni
Ginza Fujiyama
Suetomi
Shinohara

Other places that came up in my research include Kakiden, Kadowaki, Ichita, Kasumicho Yamagami, Saryo Miyasaka, etc.

Thank you!

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guest 9 months ago

280

Recommended Tendon (Tempura Rice Bowl) in Japan

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Eric Yu over 1 year ago

Hi TTT community,

One of the most nostalgic meals in Japan for me is a good Tendon bowl. What's everyone's favourite Tendon? Happy to explore Tempura places that do a Tendon only lunch too!

Mine are below, and I'm hoping to add some new favourites in my November trip -

1. Dote no Iseya
2. Kaneko Hannosuke
3. Masaru
4. Tempura Nakayama
5. Tenshige

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guest 9 months ago

364

Hashiguchi in late March

Tonk

mirugai over 1 year ago

Hi all! I'll be in Tokyo around late March. I would love to revisit Hashiguchi (I've eaten there in 2017 and 2019) but unfortunately I'll be solo and won't have the benefit of a hotel concierge. If any of the regulars here at TTT would happen to be interested in eating there with me, maybe we can try to reserve together? Drinks are on me. :) I know this is unlikely to work but I thought I'd give it a try!

More generally if others are planning to be in Tokyo around that time, I will post here closer to the time to see if anyone would like to meet for some food or drinks!

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guest 9 months ago

Tempura
1045

(Bookable) Tempura in Tokyo

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JJ over 1 year ago

My two go-to tempura restaurants — Edomae Shinsaku and Sonoji — have become incredibly hard to reserve over the past few years. Edomae Shinsaku used to take reservations on Tabelog, with seats available on the same week, but since moving to Omakase, I could never find any availability.

More recently, I tried booking seats at Ten Yokota via Omakase, but again, seats were snapped up within minutes of release. I also heard that Takiya has stopped taking reservations from hotel concierges.

Anyway, rant aside, does anyone have recommendations for tempura places that are reasonably easy to book 2 months out? I looked at Asanuma, but the chef there seems to prefer a thicker coating of batter (my preference is for less focus on the batter, it should be delicate). I’m also considering Motoyoshi, but am not sure how difficult it is to book nowadays?

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guest 9 months ago

Hyatt Group Hotel Review

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

〇Park Hyatt Niseko
Spacious rooms, plenty of ski lockers and ski rentals.
Wide variety of restaurants.

△Hyatt Regency Tokyo Bay
30-minute walk from the station … a hotel only for visiting Disneyland.

△Hyatt Centric Ginza
For people who just want a room to sleep.

〇Andaz Tokyo
Rooms are large and functional. Pool is comfortable. Good breakfast too.

〇Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Many strange couples, few children.
Selection of restaurants is good.

〇Park Hyatt Tokyo
Building is old but well maintained.
Fitness center, pool, and spa are attractive.

xHyatt Regency Tokyo
Building is old but basically well maintained.
Walls of the room are thin.
Accommodation rates are cheap and good value. However, rumors are that it will be closed soon.

〇Hyatt Regency Yokohama
Rooms are small but new and functional.
Location right next to Yamashita Park is also excellent.

×Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa
Slightly noisy as many guests have children.
While the spa is a key selling point, the hot springs are not good enough.
Rooms are poor value given the price.

〇Hyatt Centric Kanazawa
Good value. Conveniently located near the station. Breakfast is delicious.

◎Hyatt House Kanazawa
Strong value for money. Similar to the Hyatt Place.

〇Park Hyatt Kyoto
Good clientele. Service is perfect although very expensive.
Japanese breakfast is delicious.
Excellent location for sightseeing along Ninenzaka.

◎Hyatt Regency Kyoto
Price changes a lot depending on the season.
Old but well maintained.
Afternoon tea service is high quality.

◎Hyatt Place Kyoto
Best value for money. Conveniently located near the station.

×Hyatt Regency Osaka
Old but spacious rooms.
Located far from the city center so it’s not convenient.

〇Grand Hyatt Fukuoka
Building is old but well maintained.
Walls are thin and noisy.
No children allowed in the pool.

〇Hyatt Regency Okinawa
Excellent value for money.
There are few guests with children, and it is rare for a luxury hotel in Naha City to offer such a relaxing stay.

×Hyatt Regency Seraga Island Okinawa
Quite noisy as many guests have children.

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guest 9 months ago

55

Brunch spot in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Anyone have any recommendation for great brunch spot with coffee in Tokyo? Thanks

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guest 9 months ago

385

Best patisserie and cheesecake in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I’m looking for a recommendation for a nice patisseries and cheesecake shop in Tokyo. Thank you!

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guest 9 months ago

Q&A
165

Best Kakikori in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Where should I go for kakikori? I’m thinking anou Shimura, Himitsudo and Azukitokouri

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guest 9 months ago

Best Kaiseki in Tokyo in each price range

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I feel like Kaiseki is an experience that one should try. However, I feel like not everybody will understand what Kaiseki cuisine want to communicate to us. So it would be better to start off from low price range and to upscale places.

So I would love to know best Kasiseki (can belike 3-5) in each price range from your guys

Under 30,000 Yen
30k-40k yen
40k-60k yen
60k yen++

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guest 9 months ago

(Best Italian in Kobe) Kitanosaka Kinoshita 24/1 Lunch in Kobe (Anyone want to join?)

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Henry over 1 year ago

I have booked Kitanosaka Kinoshita Lunch on 24/1. Anyone happen in Kansai want to join me. (1 seat left available)

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guest 9 months ago

Apr'23 Sushi Reviews Part 2 (Sushi Tokiwa, Ao, Ichiu, Takehara)

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Just_Ingest about 1 year ago

More reviews before they fade from memory!

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4. Sushi Tokiwa (Shibata, Niigata)
鮨 登喜和
• Tsumami: 8.5/10, Nigiri: 7/10, CP: 8/10
• Price: ¥16,500 on Pocket Concierge (basically 15k +10% tax and no fees) + ¥500 for tea for the weekend lunch course (~6 tsumami and ~11 nigiri)
• Reservation: Very easy; plenty of slots are available on Pocket Concierge. You can also message them on Instagram (tokiwa_3daime) as they speak good English.

When deciding to visit either Kyoudaizushi or Sushi Tokiwa, I finally chose the latter because the pictures looked more interesting (lol). To get there, you’ll need to head to Niigata Station (~2 hour shinkansen ride from Tokyo), switch trains and head to Shibata Station (~30-60 minute ride depending on the train), and walk around 15 minutes to the store. It’s a family-run business so head chef Kobayashi-san and his family members (I think) work together at the counter, giving the restaurant a very “homey” vibe. Kobayashi-san is a very jolly and outgoing fellow who speaks a bit of English, and one staff member who he labeled his “English teacher” speaks very good English so they were able to translate all the dishes and fishes to me. The staff personally addressed each patron by name and tried to engage all of us in conversation, which I definitely appreciated :)

Here, the spotlight is on seafood from Niigata; almost all of the ingredients used were from the prefecture, with plenty coming from the waters near Sado Island in particular. (Apparently Kobayashi-san doesn’t even serve maguro if it doesn’t come form Niigata!) However, the cuisine is much more innovative than simply “applying Edomae techniques to local fish.” The otsumami (which was interspersed throughout the course) included dishes like an oyster chawanmushi with local seaweed, a torafugu shirako risotto with karasumi shavings, and “totomame” which I believe is the local term for boiled salmon roe. I thought they were more labor-intensive to prepare than what you’d find at the average sushiya, and all of them were truly excellent.

The nigiri here was even more innovative, using plenty of uncommon fish, ingredient/condiment combinations, and preparation methods. To give an idea, some of the pieces served were: a) nanban ebi which is the local term for Niigata ama-ebi, salted and dried overnight [one of the best pieces of the day]; b) me-dai topped with fermented cabbage which gave the nigiri sour flavor notes and a crunchy texture, c) sakura masu liberally marinated in soy sauce, d) baigai with plum and seaweed which took an excruciating 15 or so minutes to prepare, e) hata shabu-shabu which was cooked one-piece-at-a-time by one of the ladies and finished with a generous squeeze of orange. While conceptually similar, the execution unfortunately fell short of the stuff Amano-san does at Tenzushi, and some of the pairings did not work so well for me. Nonetheless, most of the flavor profiles were distinctive. The team wasn’t joking when they said on Instagram that they’d explain their “cooking methods” in some detail!

The shari was somewhat salty and sour but rapidly diminished in strength, perhaps because some of the toppings were powerful indeed. This was despite Kobayashi-san requesting a small new batch of rice before preparing every single nigiri. The rice (apparently a Koshihikari grown in Shibata) also had tinier grains which was not to my preference, and some of the nigiri had a rotund shape with very little shari, so I sadly thought I was eating tiny Singapore-style sushi sometimes. Nonetheless, it was interesting to watch Kobayashi-san use all three of the main motions (kotegaeshi, tategaeshi, and hontegaeshi) to form nigiri.

On the whole, I’m happy to have tried Sushi Tokiwa, and it was my first time in Niigata so I was able to taste and learn more about the local seafood that the chef was so proud of. However, the extensive travel time, the unusual pacing (there were some long gaps between courses), and the fact that the tsumami outperformed the nigiri by quite some margin means that I probably won’t be back for a while. I would still recommend it if you’re in the area, especially for those looking for bolder and more adventurous sushi preparations, and I thought the value was good for the amount of food served. The sushi is so different from what you can find in Tokyo, so if nothing else, the chef has succeeded in creating a one-of-a-kind experience.

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5. Sushi AO (Omotesando)
鮨 あお / ▲⬤
• Nigiri: 9.75/10, CP: 7/10
• Price: ¥33,000 for the nigiri lunch course (~15 pieces + tekkamaki + tamago) + 2 add ons + kanpyo maki + plenty of tea
• Reservation: Hard; I booked ~60 days in advance on Omakase. You need fast fingers and flexible travel dates, but unlike places like Amamoto, bookings are still possible. Sushi Ao is Omakase-only and won’t accept hotel reservations.

[I was able to connect with KK1337 through TTT and visit Sushi Ao together. Thank you to both KK and Saito-san’s website :) ]

I don’t know what happened during this meal, but this must be what it feels like when Instagrammers combine the words “sooooooooooo” and “good” and leave it at that. Sometimes words are hard to find because there’s really nothing else to say.

This was as close to a perfect sushi meal as I have ever had. Usually, I make notes indicating which pieces are not good, average, good, excellent, or even legendary. As I looked through my notes again, there was nothing here that I found even remotely close to average. Everything was at least good, most of the sushi was excellent, and some of it put me into a sushi coma.

Okazaki-san practices Jiro-style preparations but his shari was much less sour than other Jiro restaurants, and rather, very well-balanced in acidity and salinity while retaining good presence in the background. The individual grains were large and the texture was a bit moist in a very good way. When combined with the very fragrant wasabi, the result was a consistently mind-boggling flavor profile where I think I finally get what Thanos says when he means “perfectly balanced.” Shari was consistently maintained at a good temperature throughout the meal, which sounds simple but is more than what many sushiya are actually able to do. (Nowadays room temperature shari bothers me a little and anything colder gives me shudders)

As a result of this incredible “base” of shari+wasabi, all of the neta, even those that I typically am not crazy about (katsuo, kobashira) were elevated to incredible levels. Shima aji, chutoro, akagai, kuruma ebi, and hamaguri sent me to sushi heaven; anago and tamago were excellent although fell short of Harutaka’s (which are legendary in my books). Nothing was really an umami bomb but I thought everything was just too good in its own way, at least for my personal palate ~_~ “Melt in your mouth” is an overrated statement but in this case, the soy sauce that was used for some of the pieces caused them to glisten and acquire a slightly sticky quality, and when combined with the slightly wet texture of the rice, the nigiri unraveled in my mouth like magic. The “worst” piece was uni which is ridiculous because a) it was still pretty good and b) it’s theoretically a very easy fix as the taisho can just buy a better box. As if all of this wasn’t enough, I was left reeling after eating the kanpyo maki because it was the best kanpyo I have ever had.

Perhaps because I am not one to make strong reactions even when I eat good stuff, I don’t think my dining partner KK realized it, but I was really in sushi heaven here.

Some people complain about the price and I get that; I’m usually cynical about what Jiro-style places charge but in this case, I thought the price was on par with the level. The service was flawless and attentive; my teacup was consistently refilled and never left even close to lukewarm. Okazaki-san is a soft and mild-mannered taisho who doesn’t invade your personal space but still diffuses the tension in the air and creates an elegant ambiance. His movements are graceful and he has an aura of wisdom about him, similar to the way Zhuge Liang is typically portrayed in movies. Like Jiro-san, he personally sees all the guests off after the meal. If I were a betting man I would put money on him becoming a legend within 2 decades.

Taste is a funny thing and it’s impossible to conclusively declare things after just one visit to a sushi restaurant, but I’ll be back and I want to discover why exactly I thought this place was so good; even now, I don’t fully understand it. Surely, personal taste buds play a huge part in determining taste, so maybe this is one of those sushiya where the shari and neta magically worked so well for me that it was pretty much nirvana (whereas plenty of other people seem to think Sushi Ao is overrated). One thing that I did realize after my trip – and as a cheerleader of the Shimizu school I never thought I’d say it – is this: although komezu-based shari is unforgiving and REALLY hard to pull off properly, when it is done well, I think the potential is limitless and exceeds that of aka-shari ~_~

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6. Ichiu (Kagurazaka)
一宇
• “Tsumami”: 8/10, Nigiri: 7.25/10 [but very difficult to rate properly], CP: 7.5/10
• Price: ¥21,450 for the full course (base course + water + tea + service charge)
• Reservation: Still very easy; all availabilities are shown on Pocket Concierge, which I used to book ~1 month in advance.. Same-week seats are still available though. You can also book through Tableall but I don’t know why you’d do that.

This is a super interesting restaurant that I can’t call a sushiya but rather “sushi kappo.” The taisho, Hamano-san, hails from renowned institutions such as Kikunoi, Ginza Koju, and Sushi Senpachi in Kumamoto. He fuses his experience in kaiseki and sushi to create an original meal that is currently having an identity crisis, but I think that the restaurant can only get better from here, especially once the concept is more firmed up.

Hamano-san is a very friendly chef who speaks far-above-average English which he supposedly learns from YouTube every night. (He is able to explain all the courses and ingredients in English and provide good responses to questions that other people asked, such as “Why is the tea poured [a certain way]” or “Why is the hinoki counter so valuable”) He mentioned that a lot of tourists have been visiting recently, so Ichiu is getting on people’s radars. He also has an eccentric sense of taste, from naming his restaurant “One Universe” to designing it somewhat like an escape room.

Based on what I saw online, the course used to be structured into something like 8 tsumami + 12 nigiri, but that completely changed during my visit. Currently the composition is ~10 tsumami, 6 nigiri, a saba bozushi, gohan (i.e. kaiseki rice dish) and dessert. (Well, to be fair, the course actually started with a welcome drink; on my visit, it had plum and kumquat in it.) As many of you probably know, the “tsumami” here cannot be described as mere appetizers; rather, they are more complex kaiseki-esque dishes! My experience with kaiseki is very limited so I can’t compare it to other restaurants, but on absolute terms I thought that most of the dishes were delightful. Examples of such dishes were the takenoko dumpling/hamaguri/seaweed soup and a simple but heartwarming mejimaguro with onion sauce.

If I were to nitpick, though, some of the sauces/seasonings obscured the flavor of the ingredients, as was the case with a dish of tai doused with ankimo paste and a dish of akagai/hotaru ika with sesame sauce. I believe this is partly done to keep the cost of the course reasonable; at ~¥20,000 and serving just one round of 8 diners per night, you can’t go for extraordinary ingredients so you might have to flavor them with other methods. I also thought some dishes had a little too much going on (e.g. a dish of uni, anago, beancurd skin, Japanese watercress, some broth…), so this was certainly no Ogata where you might eat a single piece of daikon and marvel at its absolute perfection and simplicity. Kyo-kaiseki otakus might be offended by some of the dishes here!

Anyway, Hamano-san ended up serving 10 of these kaiseki-style dishes (which he unfortunately went into the kitchen to prepare so you couldn’t see him work), and it took 90 minutes before a single piece of sushi was served. By that point I was pretty much already full xD. As I mentioned, only 6 pieces of nigiri came out so I’ll just list them: ishigakidai, kanpachi marinated in onion soy sauce, shiro ebi, kuruma ebi, kohada finished with sudachi, and kasugo. All the neta was pre-sliced and taken from plates covered with plastic wraps; with all the kaiseki prep going on, Hamano-san wouldn’t have enough time to slice neta on the spot. The shari was at room temperature (argh) and was a mix of 2 akazu + kurozu (black vinegar); the acidity was moderate and anyone would be able to enjoy it. Thank god he didn’t use his master’s shari or vinegaring techniques because then I would have headed for the exit :D

I actually thought that the sushi was very respectable - clearly the chef had plenty of skill to draw out flavor from the less-than-premium toppings - but 6 pieces including 2 ebi was simply not enough variety and made it clear that the focus was not the sushi ;_; The nigiri was followed by an excellent sabazushi, then a sakura masu gohan which you could ask for refills. I almost expected Hamano-san to fully intersperse kaiseki and sushi in his grand finale by using vinegared rice for the gohan, but obviously I am dumb because that didn’t happen at all (maybe he didn’t want to offend the Kaiseki gods). There was no anago or tamago served, and instead dessert was an excellent coconut pudding and mikan orange.

Well, if this all sounds intriguing, that’s because it is! To be honest, I couldn’t help but feel that the meal was “neither here nor there”, and I’m not even sure if a half-kaiseki / half-sushi meal can ever work well at all. At the same time, I felt that Ichiu has tremendous potential, and I assume Hamano-san’s pedigree/skill would make him an ideal candidate for a Michelin star sometime in the future. It is still early days - clearly the service, shari, and course progression are still being tweaked. While the meal was definitely far from the best, I actually left with a sense of curiosity. People often say trite things like “it’s interesting to see how this restaurant will evolve” but I think that genuinely applies to Ichiu. I shall be back someday.

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7. Sushidokoro Takehara (Ebisu)
鮨処たけ原
• Nigiri: 5.5/10, CP: 6.75/10
• Price: ¥10,000 for lunch nigiri course + tea (note: I believe the course price has been increased to ¥12,000 now)
• Reservation: Very easy; you can get same-week or same-day seats. You can book through Instagram DM, which is what I did (they’re able to communicate in English)

This is a restaurant that is associated with a famous Instagrammer who hired a ~25 year old chef. In theory, it is one of those places that looks pretty damn good. From the pictures and reviews, the nigiri shape/formations look good, the shari looks solid, and for me, there is a certain appeal of sushiya where the chef places nigiri directly on the wooden counter. Unfortunately, my experience was pretty underwhelming :-(

The nigiri-only lunch, which was priced at ¥10,000, consisted of 12 sushi + tamago. 5 out of 6 seats were occupied when I went on a Monday and I believe one of the patrons may have been Karashima-san of “Sushi Karashima.” The first piece was hirame kobujime and I was immediately excited when I saw a large and chunky piece of nigiri in front of me, but when I tasted it, the flavor was almost completely flat. The shari was very low in acidity with rather soft grains, and while the first nigiri unraveled nicely in the mouth as you would expect from a place that serves Hashimoto/Tomidokoro-sized sushi, most of what came after was disappointing. Kasugo had no flavor and was completely overwhelmed by both sudachi AND yuzu flakes. By the third piece (sumi ika), the shari had virtually lost all flavor.

Tuna and kohada were objectively pretty good, but the shari was starting to peel away from the neta and the pieces became harder and harder to pick up. The chef slapped the torigai to ensure freshness immediately before consumption, but it broke away from the shari. I get why chefs need to slap the clam but could you at least press the topping onto the shari again after you’ve done that, or try to make sure it doesn’t perform a cartwheel and fly off the rice (P.S. there are plenty of videos of Sugita-san doing this properly)? Darn, I was a bit annoyed!

As the course progressed I found the balance became more and more off and it was like eating large pieces of sashimi rather than sushi, and what shari I managed to chew on tasted like plain rice. Aji was a bit fishy and both kuruma ebi/anago were very good, but once again, it’s hard to call this “sushi” rather than “sashimi.” Tamago was like a cheesecake pudding and distinctive enough. Reasonably high-quality ingredients were used so I thought the value wasn’t the worst, although I have to emphasize that ¥10k is much better spent elsewhere (Ishiyama, Tomidokoro, Kanesho, etc. etc - pick your poison)

Well, I guess the chef was nice, the sushi was picturesque, and there was some English spoken, but this is one of those sushiya that is all “Instagram hype” and lacking substance, so I ain’t coming back!

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guest 9 months ago

Apr'23 Sushi Reviews Part 1 (Tokiwazushi, Yamada, Kanesho)

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Here are some reviews of places I visited for the first time recently. Hope some of you find this useful!

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1. Tokiwazushi (Yokohama)
常盤鮨
• Nigiri: 7.5/10, CP: 7/10
• Price: ¥20,000 exactly for ~20 pieces of nigiri. There are two standard menus: ¥11,000 for the nigiri lunch course and ¥22,000 for the full course, but prices have gone up by 20% and 10% respectively since April 1.
• Reservation: Very easy; I got mine ~3 weeks in advance from a hotel concierge. If you have an account with a Japanese number, you can book yourself through Omakase (there are plenty of open slots)
• Note: Be sure to read the TTT writeup on this restaurant as well!

Tokiwazushi is a ~5-minute walk from Kannai Station (Yokohama); getting there might take over an hour depending on where you’re staying in Tokyo. The taisho, Yuki Hayashinouchi, trained for several years at the legendary Mizutani and - as many gourmets describe - “inherits Hachiro Mizutani’s DNA,” although my friend told me the student and master aren’t exactly on the best of terms lol. Sushi Mizutani was one of my first high-end experiences; a sense of nostalgia, plus rave reviews from reputable sushi foodies, made me want to visit this restaurant. I went for lunch on a weekday and all 7 seats were occupied (I was the only foreigner there). The counter was a little cramped but no-frills and functional.

I had asked my hotel concierge to pre-order around 20 pieces of nigiri and Hayashinouchi-san was able to accommodate my request. After he sliced some neta at a furious pace, we were off to the races. The first 5 pieces came out in around 5 minutes, and the only thing I could think of was that the “Jiro factory of churning out sushi at light speed” was alive and well. The pace got a bit slower after that, but considering that I ate 20 pieces of nigiri in around 58 minutes with some lengthy odd gaps in the middle, I thought the tempo was irregular and unbalanced.

The shiro-shari here is seasoned with komezu, salt, and sugar. Note that sugar is added not so much to add an element of sweetness, but rather, to adjust the overall sourness as komezu can be a bit too tart by itself. The shari was indeed on the sour side, so fans of the Jiro school will no doubt enjoy it, but I thought it was packed too tightly and lacked air. I would say the shari is less strong than Jiro Honten but more so than Mizukami and Harutaka. Unfortunately, I found the sourness a bit one-dimensional (unlike the honten’s shari) and it became a little tiresome towards the end. Neta-wise, most of them were good; pieces that were processed with classical Edomae techniques, like sayori kobujime; kohada; and shime saba were excellent. The tuna, while not of top quality, balanced impressively with the acidity of the shari, and the fair number of clams served (akagai, hamaguri, and grilled hokkigai) were very good.

Nonetheless, there were also a fair number of forgettable pieces. The lighter-tasting shiromi were overwhelmed by the shari; the anago and tamago (which I consider trademarks of Jiro-style restaurants) were disappointing; and as I mentioned, the “flatness” of the shari left me wanting something else at the end of the meal. Notably, the tamago, which was my favorite piece at Mizutani, leaned more towards the “egg omelette” style rather than Mizutani-san’s “ultra-sweet-castella dessert” style. Finally, ice cream came out at the end which reminded me of sushiya in Singapore (lol). The pieces were on the larger side, although I don’t think the standard 11-piece nigiri course would make you full.

Overall, I’d say the sushi is not really superior to what you can find at Mizukami, but it does come at ~2/3 of the price (¥1,000/piece can be considered fair these days!). I thought the neta and preparations were better than Mizukami’s but the shari was not. Hayashinouchi-san was able to speak some extremely basic English but was otherwise particularly quiet and aloof, offering no greetings at all and refusing to make any sort of eye contact until the end, so the meal had a strange tension in the air. Taking into account both the style of service and the fact that only those with Japanese numbers can reserve via Omakase, I can only conclude that the chef prefers a local clientele.

As far as the Jiro style goes, I thought it was an average restaurant so I probably won’t be back. I wouldn’t recommend Tokiwazushi for non-Japanese speakers / sushi beginners (the tempo is a bit too fast, there is minimal English spoken, and not all the fish names are announced) but it’s worth a try if you’re really curious about it, and/or like traditional sushi with few surprises. Just take note it’s a bit far from Tokyo and prices are going up from April 2023 onwards!

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2. Sushidokoro Yamada (Ginza)
鮨處やまだ
• Nigiri: 8.6/10, CP: 8/10
• Price: ¥18,150 for the base 15-piece course (¥15,000 plus tax plus a 10% JPNEAZY fee) and ¥8,800 for 8 add-ons (add-ons are ¥1,000 per piece plus 10% tax)
• Reservation: Easy; I booked ~3 weeks in advance through JPNEAZY. I’m not sure if they accept reservations from other third parties.

Sushidokoro Yamada has been on my radar for a while, but it was impractical to visit as Yamada-san did not accept reservations from foreigners for a number of years. Thankfully, he’s changed his policy recently and anyone can now go :) The restaurant is on the right side of a narrow corridor in a multi-tenant building in Ginza. The interior is adorned with a lot of contraptions - think cranes and decorative figurines - that hang from the ceiling and across the tsukeba so it feels like more of a craftsman’s workshop than a sushi restaurant. The setup was a little strange but casual despite the Ginza location.

Yamada-san looks very scary but he is actually a quirky fellow who is low-key hilarious and a bit of a troll. He wears some sort of headphones (I think they’re called “bone conducting headphones”) from which he can answer customer calls wirelessly while making sushi. He has an iPad next to him and a piece of paper on which he’s continuously scribbling some stuff. Anyway, he does 2 seatings per night (6/6:30PM and 8:30PM++); I came for the latter and there were only 3 people - myself and 2 other foreigners - at the counter. I was a bit worried of communication issues but Yamada-san’s English was surprisingly good and he knew the English names of some of the fish! (Example of his hilarity: he perfectly stated “flounder, squid, tuna” for the first few pieces and then when he served torigai, he said “I don’t know shellfish”)

Only nigiri is served; there is not even gari here. As much as this Yamada has earned a reputation for being a “jukusei sushiya” I think that’s somewhat incomplete if not misleading, and rather, the sushi here is about creating unconventional flavors and a bunch of signature dishes. Specifically, I believe Yamada-san is trying to a) transform unusual, inexpensive ingredients into something special and b) to age some [but not all] of the fish with the goal of amplifying flavor and/or transforming texture. Point a) is particularly appealing to me as I have immense respect for chefs who work with less-than-stellar ingredients, as they have to use skill and finesse to draw out flavors rather than spamming you with tuna and uni. All this is useless without good shari, though, so let me start off by saying that the shari was very solid. I believe Yamada-san mixes several types of akazu and komezu to season his shari; the grains were large, firm, and distinctive, and the acidity was at a comfortable level.

The first piece Yamada-san served was hirame, and it was outstanding from the get-go. I mean, if a place can make you excited about hirame, it’s bound to be pretty good, I think! I won’t go through each and every piece but there were a lot of uncommon neta served, including ebodai (butterfish), masunosuke (king salmon), grilled shiitake mushroom (one of his specialties), bincho maguro (I almost laughed when he said bincho maguro with a completely straight face), and ama-ebi (which was ground into almost a paste as he thinks it tastes better that way). Everything had depth of flavor and was surprisingly very good. I don’t know what he did to the more common neta (aji, sawara etc.) but they were soft and full of clean umami, perhaps from the aging; if you have eaten many of these neta before you will definitely notice that they taste very different here.

Yamada-san also served several clams which were not aged and had mostly traditional flavors (akagai, torigai, hamaguri), all very good. A large scallop with some sort of sake flavor in it was amazing, and a classic kurumaebi was so flavorful and juicy that it would put many other Edomae shops to shame. The tamago was another one of his signature dishes. Nowadays every chef is trying to innovate on tamago but much of it unfortunately comes across as an afterthought to me, yet I thought Yamada-san’s tamago was exceedingly unique. Soft, spongy, and a little sweet, it’s tricky to describe and I have never tasted tamago like that before. When I asked what was in it, Yamada-san said that he mixed scallops and shellfish (rather than the usual shrimp) together.

Even though the shari was not large, I thought the neta/shari ratio was excellent and the flavor profiles were very compelling, so I ordered 8 additional pieces (one of the quirks about this place is that you can’t choose which neta you want; add-ons are still omakase). The add-ons included an incredible hokkigai with pepper, overwhelmingly good aged chutoro, and some of the best uni I’ve tasted. They were all priced at 1,000 yen each so I thought it was good value. I did have several complaints overall: first, because there were only 3 of us at the counter, the tempo was super fast and that was especially the case for the add-ons (8 pieces came out in less than 8 minutes, I think). Second, the temperature control here was not the best, with the rice losing flavor and temperature towards the end - I think only one batch of shari was prepared throughout the course. However, beyond these factors, this was definitely one of the most unique sushi experiences I’ve had, overflowing with creativity, skills, and personality while - importantly - remaining delicious. No kohada, anago, or coffee-flavored kajiki were served, but there was no need for them.

Conclusion: I thought this was a brilliant restaurant where I marked at least half of the pieces as “very good” or “excellent”. Yamada-san is a massive foodie (check out his Instagram) and seems to derive inspiration from other meals so this place pretty much has no limits when it comes to progress. If the smaller touches and pacing were improved, this would easily be a 9/10 or higher meal for me. It isn’t necessarily for beginners, and there are some idiosyncrasies, but I wholeheartedly recommend it to nigiri lovers who have eaten at a fair number of other sushi places. I have no doubt you’ll know exactly why this place is so damn different, and for all the right reasons.

========================================

3. Sushi Kanesho (Asakusa)
鮓 かね庄
• Nigiri: 7/10, CP: 9.5/10
• Price: ¥10,800 for 14 nigiri including tamago + rolls + kanpyo roll add-on
• Reservation: Very easy; plenty of slots are available on Ikyu. You can also message them on Instagram (sushi_kaneshou) as they speak English. I booked through Ikyu ~3 weeks in advance. For those looking to use Ikyu, just translate the web page into English and it should be pretty straightforward.

Sushi Kanesho is highly acclaimed by both Saito-san and the sushi writer Hikari Hayakawa. It is one of the restaurants featured in Hayakawa-san’s relatively new book “新時代の江戸前鮨がわかる本 訪れるべき本当の名店”. There is no excuse for sushi lovers not to read this informative book as you can now use Google Translate to point your camera to the text and “read” it in English. Sushi Kanesho’s taisho, Watanabe-san, comes from the long-standing “Sushidokoro Kanpachi” which closed its doors a few years ago. Since starting his own place, a few adjustments have been made: sugar is no longer used in the shari and the maguro has been upgraded, but some of the classics like Kanpachi’s kyuri maki remain to this very day.

Watanabe-san is one of those chefs who looks intimidating in YouTube videos but he is in fact the complete opposite. Boisterous and very friendly, he addresses each guest by name, is keen to joke around, and speaks enough English to get by. Beyond his hearty disposition is a steady persona that I would describe as “authentic.” He aims to keep prices reasonable in today’s sushi bubble, and he does only one seating a night with staggered starts as he wants to ensure that everyone can relax and enjoy sushi to their content. A few guests tried to walk in when I visited, and while he was clearly able to accommodate them if he rushed some of us to finish quickly, he told his disciple to say the counter was full and effectively “closed” for the rest of the evening.

There is an abridged nigiri course that starts at ¥5,800 during lunch, but I went for dinner and ordered the ¥10,000 nigiri course. (There is also a full course with tsumami that goes for ¥18,000+.) After a very refreshing wakame salad, the nigiri course kicked off with a very well-balanced kohada. I thought it was interesting that Watanabe-san didn’t start with white fish and instead something that showcased his skill, which was certainly at a high level. Most of the pieces that came next were good or very good, with the highlights being toro, vinegared kasugo, and aoyagi (I usually hate aoyagi as a bad one can smell like farts but Watanabe-san’s was very good). The nama kinmedai was also as glorious as it could get (some chefs overcomplicate kinmedai by grilling it or pairing it or mustard etc. yet the actual raw product tastes very good so I appreciated Kanesho-san leaving it “as is”). The nigiri was on the larger side and felt like proper Edomae; flavors were clean and on the traditional side. Himo-kyu maki was served at the end and while I am not crazy about cucumbers, I thought the rendition here was excellent and the bright/refreshing flavor profile made me genuinely satisfied.

To be sure, there were some weaker pieces - the uni was not the best (but I can’t ask for anything more at this price point), the kuruma ebi was a little dry, and the sayori had no flavor even with a piece of seaweed stuffed underneath it - but on the whole, I thought the neta was extremely solid when taking into account the price. The shari was very lightly seasoned and was consistently served at room temperature so it left much to be desired, but it was not devoid of flavor and both beginners and sushi maniacs would be able to appreciate it. In fact, the overall approach here - absolutely simple and straightforward, old-school neta topped on a somewhat neutral shari - reminded me of Hashiguchi, but at less than 1/3 of the price (lol). The course ended with classic kurakake tamago and I added on a pretty decent Kanpyo maki; the taisho also joked with everyone at the end, asking us if we wanted tekka don or ramen in case we weren’t full.

There is nothing fancy about Sushi Kanesho but the ease of reservations, extreme value in today’s day and age, very comfortable atmosphere, and classic old-school sushi are all right up my alley. The lack of annoying camera-bearing influencers and fad chasers is also appealing. You may call me crazy but I still think this is better than several places that I consider “the whatevers of the sushi world” like Tsubomi and Kiyota. The quality was about right for the price and while Sushi Kanesho is not on the top of my list to return, I wouldn’t mind coming back at all. In fact, if I lived in Tokyo I could see myself returning several times to satisfy my sushi cravings without blowing a dent in my wallet!

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guest 9 months ago

Sushi
224

anyone have visited Takaoka or Sushiei recently?

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I plan to make a trek to either Takaoka or Sushiei in this upcoming Feb'22. Please share your thoughts on both places if you've visited them. Thank you!

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guest 9 months ago

110

Any Uchoku style tsukemen in Tokyo?

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Could you please recommend similar to Uchoku tsukemen shop in Tokyo? Tahnk you.

I think Uchoku already closed

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guest 9 months ago

10 Best Tonkatsu Restaurants in 2022

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

1. Narikura(成蔵)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1319/A131905/13236380/

2. Kippei(吉平)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1310/A131002/13237293/

3. Chawanbu(車力門ちゃわんぶ)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1309/A130903/13234679/

4. Tonkatsu Keita(とんかつけい太)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1319/A131907/13241723/

5. Katsu Puripo(Katsuプリポー)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13264309/

6. Tonta(とん太)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1305/A130503/13003984/

7. Hasegawa(はせ川)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1312/A131201/13019126/

8. tonaktsu.jp
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1306/A130602/13264557/

9. Tonkasu Iwai(とんかついわい)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1314/A131401/13170377/

10.Tonkatsu Daiki(とんかつ大希)
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1315/A131503/13263034/

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guest 9 months ago

392

Welcome!!

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

Welcome to our community!
I want this to be a two-way exchange of information, not just with me but with all of you. Please feel free to post your questions as well as your restaurant reviews, dining companionship, and so on.

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guest 9 months ago

Sushi
112

Sushi Taira (すし 田いら)

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JJ over 1 year ago

Has anyone tried Sushi Taira? Since they discourage the posting of reviews online (and they don't even have a Google Maps pin, due to store policy), I don't really have much to go on, including details of the course, or style of the nigiri. That said, I was interested because the few reviews that do exist are pretty positive: https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A130702/13271063/

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guest 9 months ago

Tokyo Q&A
112

Patisserie

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Is there any recommended patisserie? Hopefully with little queue/waiting time.

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guest 9 months ago

28

Sushi nagashima

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Anyone has any review of sushi nagashima in shirokane?

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guest 9 months ago

Kadowaki

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Wanderlusting over 1 year ago

Kawdowaki has all the accolades, 3 michelin star, Tabelog Bronze, 4 of us in a private room, had the crab course. While the crab was nice, we thought it was overpriced at 20k+ yen extra pp. The tempura was average, the shabu hamaguri was good and the truffle rice definitely lives up to the hype. The dessert finale was amazing and I dont usually like dessert. I think overall the meal was delicious but a little overpriced, there was inconsistencies with the different course and I think Tabelog bronze or even silver is an accurate. Not sure about the 3 stars. I would definitely go again and maybe try the Uni caviar somen and sit on the counter. The ease of booking is a major plus.

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guest 9 months ago

Tokyo
440

Italian in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Plan to go to Dal Matto but it close on the day I want to go. So I neeed a recommendation for casual Italian places in Tokyo, preferably with great pasta

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guest 9 months ago

Ishimaru(saitama)

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Has anyone been to ishimaru in saitama? Any background on the style of sushi served?

Compared to matsunosushi in shiinamachi, which is more recommended?

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guest 9 months ago

Sushi
550

Inomata

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Wanderlusting over 1 year ago

Hello all, just been in Japan for 3 weeks for work. Snuck in a visit to Inomata, every piece was amazing. Highly recommend the short trip out there. Easy to book on everyone’s favourite booking website as well.

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guest 9 months ago

Coffee shops

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Is there any recommendations for coffee shops in Tokyo?

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guest 9 months ago

440

AutoReserve

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thetokyogourmet over 1 year ago

Has anyone used AutoReserve?

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guest 9 months ago

TTT Gathering on October 29

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kk1337 10 months ago

Hi all,

A handful of us have been considering a meet-up in Tokyo.

If you have an established username, some contribution history to this platform, and you're free on October 29th, feel free to drop me a message on Instagram (@KK1337).

We'll sort out the specifics via DM, but we're leaning towards a casual izakaya setting.

Justingest and myself are confirmed attendees. We're looking forward to potentially seeing many more of you there!

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JJ 9 months ago

5

Suggestions to finalize Osaka itinerary

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az 11 months ago

Hello, planning for Tokyo & Kyoto had me kind of ignore Osaka and I just started working on it. I'm there for a week and would appreciate any help filling in gaps! The priority is to try stuff that Osaka does well.

The 2 places I have reservations at are Sushi Sanshin & Yakitori Ichimatsu.

In addition, I'm considering the following:

1. Horumon: Nama Horumon Dokoro Osamuchan. I have a bunch of Yakiniku places planned so I'm primarily looking at this for the Horumon. Don't know if I can get reservations or if there are other places that I should consider.
2. Okonomiyaki: Hirokazuya & Jibundoki (apparently this requires reservations)
3. Unagi: Unagiya & Yoshitora. This is to compare it with Unagi in Tokyo.
4. Oden: Hanakujira
5. Fugu (Tecchiri?): Ajihei. Is this worth it? The fugu I've had in NYC was good but I don't think I liked it enough to make an entire meal out of it. Not sure if it'll be different there.
6. Hakozushi: Takotake & Yoshino
7. Whale: Doozono. Not sure if this is worth it.
8. I wanted to do Wayōshusai Hide but I don't think I'll get reservations now.
9. Curry: Columbia 8, Botani & Kyuuyamutei
10. Okonomiyaki: Any suggestions?
11. Iyaki: Not sure if/where

Any other specific restaurants that I should consider?
Ant, I'm guessing there are dishes that Osaka specializes in that I've missed. Please feel free to suggest some! Thank you!

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az 10 months ago

17

Shizuoka recommendation

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Justeat about 1 year ago

Hi! I’m planning a visit to Shizuoka prefecture.

Anyone have any food recommendation? Please suggest! Thanks!

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DanielfromHK 11 months ago

Sake bar in Tokyo

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Justeat 11 months ago

Any recommendation for sake bar in Tokyo (can include food and not include food as well.)

I'm looking at Sanchokuya Taka on Omakase. If anyone have any suggestion, please share

Thanks!

Tonk

mirugai 11 months ago

8

What happened to Q&A?

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Lynch91 about 1 year ago

It was such an incredible source of informations. I can not find it anywhere on the site. Is there a plan to put it back online?

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guest 12 months ago

Review of Sushi Mizukami (Nov2022 Visit)

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Sushi Mizukami
鮨 みずかみ
Nigiri: 7.9/10 CP: 5/10

Mizukami-san trained at Jiro Roppongi for 15 years before starting his own restaurant in 2018. The interior is warm, stylish, and mainly illuminated by white colors and tones of light wood. The counter seats merely eight, with Mizukami-san serving four diners and a sous chef serving another four (more on this later; suffice to say we breathed a sigh of relief when we were seated in front of Mizukami-san!). Mizukami-san began conversing in perfect English; “what would you like to drink?” “Please place your mask on the area underneath the counter; do you see it?” Well, surely because Jiro Roppongi entertained a lot of foreign visitors, Mizukami-san must have developed excellent customer service and linguistic skills besides just sushi techniques :)

For our dinner, we ordered the nigiri-only course, consisting of ~20 pieces of sushi. Perfect, I thought - a sushi fest with no appetizers, just the way I like it. The meal commenced with what I like to call the “mostly predictable set of 7 starting nigiri served at Jiro-school restaurants”: white fish, squid, another white fish, akami, chutoro, ootoro, and kohada. What immediately jumped out to me was the shari, which was seasoned with rice vinegar. Although it was assertive, with Mizukami-san commenting it was "more sour than at many other places," it was much less sour than the shari at Jiro Honten. (Also, when comparing to Harutaka, I’d say Harutaka-san’s shari is saltier but Mizukami-san’s is more sour). While the shari mostly overpowered the white fish, it turned out to be fantastic overall with all of the other neta - tart yet refreshing! The tuna was of high quality; the akami was not marinated but had sour and minerally flavors, as did the chutoro and ootoro. The sour/sour combo of tuna and his Jiro-influenced shari seems odd but I found it particularly divine, with wonderful balance. The kohada was decent although nothing to write home about. Overall, a pretty strong start!

Then came a lightly-grilled hokkigai; aji (served with no condiments and minimal sujime); kuruma ebi; ikura; sanma; uni; and saba. For some of the pieces, Mizukami-said, “please be careful with this, it is very delicate,” and I was thinking damn, this guy’s English is GOOD. But the more important thing was that his sushi was also GOOD. The kuruma ebi was the standout of the night - “this was just cooked, it’s still warm,” Mizukami-san said, as he sliced it into half, even for all the gents. The prawn was cooked just the right amount, retaining a soft crunch, and the miso sandwiched underneath the head made for a fantastically savory bite. Meanwhile, the hikarimono were all executed well, although not as perfectly as some of the more old-school places, and the nori he used for his gunkanmaki was immaculately crispy (I still don’t get why so many other places serve soggy nori). All throughout, the rice remained noticeable in the background, sour but never overpowering, maintaining its nice hard texture through the night. I think this rice is much less oppressive than Jiro Honten’s rice, reflecting a more modern, middle-of-the-road approach that should appeal to the younger generation of diners while still adhering to the spirit of Jiro-style flavors.

Hamaguri with tsume sauce signaled the near-conclusion of the course, and it was followed by smoked katsuo, toro taku rolls (I don’t know why he serves this as I thought some hardcore Jiro-school chefs like Mizutani-san would throw you out if you asked for negi toro rolls or something), and anago. The tsume was very well done as it had the distinct aroma of sake built into it, and it made the toppings more complex. I added on an akami, shako, and kanpyo maki; the former two were splendid, but sadly his kanpyo was completely overwhelmed by the shari. The meal finally ended with tamago. I love the sweet Jiro-style yam/shiba-ebi based tamago, and Mizukami-san's was pretty good although inferior to Harutaka's and the Honten's.

On the whole, if I were to nitpick, some of Mizukami-san’s fish was served a bit too cold, and there was nothing that really made me jump out of my seat except the kuruma ebi. On the other hand, every single piece of sushi I had was at least decent or good (there were no bad pieces), with the meal being very well-balanced from start to finish. The variety of ingredients served, including ones that required skill to prepare well, was also compelling. Finally, the size of the sushi was above average - definitely not as large as Jiro Honten or Harutaka. I found it about right and was comfortably full at the end.

Mizukami-san is not super in-your-face friendly but he does make the effort to ask where you’re from and how you heard about his restaurant. Otherwise, he was quite immersed in his work, and did not chat much even with the two other Japanese diners he served. ***At this point I’d like to mention again that there is a sous chef who serves four guests at the counter, and he shapes nigiri for them as well! More intriguing yet, this chef was talking heartily to the four customers, who in turn pretty much ignored Mizukami-san himself. I have no idea who this chef is and what his relationship to Mizukami-san is, but I know some chefs are sticklers about making ALL the nigiri for ALL of the customers at the counter, especially if the sushi restaurant bears their name. And by virtue of the sous chef being so boisterous, it did not really feel like Mizukami-san was in command. Hmm, this was a strange dynamic I haven’t seen at any other place. ***The much more important implication of this, of course, is that if you’re planning to visit here, you may wish to request Mizukami-san (although I don’t know if it’s possible). It is, after all, “Sushi Mizukami,” not “Sushi Mizukami where Mizukami-san only makes nigiri for half the counter" . . .

The bill came up to ¥29,500 per person. This was hardly ideal, and I non-jokingly joke that Jiro-style restaurants always find ways to overcharge people, although to be fair 1) I felt that Mizukami-san’s neta quality was pretty good and 2) The sushi was better than what I had at some other places at the same price level. I had an enjoyable time here, and I give high marks for the shari. For sure I’d recommend a visit!

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guest over 1 year ago

Some under-the-radar sushi shops in Tokyo

Tonk

mirugai over 1 year ago

Hi all,

I've gotten curious about Jizouzushi or Sushi Imamura. Any recent experiences with them? I'd be attempting to book by calling myself, as a foreigner, with just enough Japanese to get by---worth a shot or no chance? In general I'm always happy to hear of any relatively welcoming under-the-radar shops that are fun, delicious, and not trendy at all. :)

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Yee How about 1 year ago

Sushi Ao in Late March

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Hi TTT members,

I've got 1 extra seat at Sushi Ao on March 31st, lunch, at 12:30PM.

If you're in Tokyo at that time, might anyone with a registered TTT username + history of posting on TTT like to join me?

Thanks a bunch!

(Link: https://omakase.in/en/r/ut138135)

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Shi over 1 year ago

1

Tendon shop in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Please help recommend tendon shop in Tokyo that also have vegetarian tendon. Thank you!

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thetokyogourmet over 1 year ago

2

Sushi shop that truly focus on their Hikarimono and Shiromi

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Justeat over 1 year ago

We've seen a lot of places boasting about how good their tuna is. I would like to discover the place where they're focusing in high quality Hikarmoni and Shiromi. Thank you!

Top of my mind are Sugita and Hashiomoto.

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JJ over 1 year ago

Review of Kiyota (Nov2022 Visit)

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Kiyota (not Hanare)
きよ田
Sashimi: 8/10, Nigiri: 6.5/10, CP: 4/10

Alongside Jiro and Sawada, Kiyota is one of Ginza’s legendary sushi temples. Its decorated ~60 year history began with the first-generation chef Shigezo Fujimoto, who was said to be one of the most skilled chefs of his time. (He was also the master of the chef Kikuo Shimizu who authored the informative book “Edomae Sushi”, available in English.) The second generation chef, Niizu Takeaki, was also reportedly very skilled and particular about tuna; the third generation chef, Masashi Kimura, has been described on TTT by Saito-san as one of the leading sushi chefs in Japan, and he helms the notoriously expensive Kiyota Hanare. The fourth generation chef is Norihiko Yoshizawa, and it is he who stands behind the counter at the main shop today.

The space inside the restaurant is evidently luxurious. Like Namba Hibiya, the floors are carpeted and evoke a posh feel. The perfectly smooth hinoki counter is suave and maybe a bit too bright, thanks to a row of seven penetrating lightbulbs that dangle right above. A shelf towards the left of the counter holds numerous cups and glasses, some of which have the characters “きよ田” ingrained onto them, so I imagine they are custom-made. Behind the counter, a long and well-lit shoji screen, plus sinks with golden faucets, also add to the sense of opulence. The entire space is completely isolated from the outside world; I felt like I was in a secret underground bunker.

Kiyota used to be one of the most expensive sushi restaurants in Japan, but today this is no longer the case. I went for dinner and ordered a “nigiri-centered course” that was quoted at ¥~38,500. Granted, there is a ~¥55k menu, but then again top sushi-ya like Hatsune, Tenzushi, and maybe even Sugita are charging close to or more than that amount. While Kiyota used to be introduction-only and a favorite gathering spot of socialites, individuals with boundless corporate expense accounts, and perhaps sketchy characters (these categories are not mutually exclusive btw), today it seems to have fallen out of favor, with people gravitating towards trendier and more modern restaurants. As such, it’s very easy to get seats at here; there are plenty of empty slots on Omakase.

My meal actually started off on a high note, with several courses of sashimi. Tai and hirame kobujime were very good, with strong depth of flavor for white fish. Ikura was lightly marinated in soy sauce (every other place I went to served it raw as it’s in season) and was soft, custardy, and well-balanced. Awabi sashimi was soft and oceanic. A sashimi “trio” of shimofuri, akami, and kohada was then presented all at once. To go on a bit of a tangent here: “Harakami” is the belly part of the tuna near the head; it is further divided into categories like “harakami-ichiban” which is closest to the head, followed by harakami-niban and harakami-sanban which are further away from the head. Apparently the cut closest to the head (harakami-ichiban) is the most prized, and fetches ridiculous prices to the tune of ¥50,000-100,000+ per kg. Well, I’m sure you know Kiyota is known for sourcing some of the highest-quality tuna in the nation, and makes extensive use of “harakami-ichiban." The price of the meal reflects this.

The tuna here lived up to my expectations: the toro was the smoothest and most buttery that I have ever tasted, melting in the mouth and leaving plenty of fatty notes on the tongue. The akami was less compelling (I prefer versions that have more blood and iron flavor) but was still pretty good. Kohada sashimi was pure and well balanced. The final appetizer dish was a grilled slab of ootoro, charred to near perfection and dissolving in the mouth like butter once again. Overall, I thought the sashimi was a simple yet formidable degustation of the ingredient quality, and I was very pleased.

Unfortunately, nigiri is where the course started going downhill for me. There were three main reasons as to why. First, the shari was very purist, lacking salinity and virtually any acidity. While the neutrality of the shari made it synergize with all sorts of toppings, I can’t say I enjoyed the seasoning; it reminded me of the shari at Kanesaka / Saito-style sushiyas like Tsubomi that I considered a bit too plain.

Second, I found some of the pieces to be unbalanced in completion. Yoshizawa-san uses hontegaeshi to form nigiri, which is a cool technique that I see less and less in the modern day. I’m not sure if it’s because of that, but the resulting sushi takes on a long, submarine/torpedo-like shape where the fish wraps all around the rice, and the rice is more rectangular than circular. (This is similar to the shape of sushi at Sawada. The polar opposite of this would be the shape of sushi at, say, Tomidokoro, where the rice is more oval and bulbous.) Anyway, I don’t like the way this “long” nigiri breaks apart in the mouth, and also there were some pieces where the shari disappeared within like 0.5 seconds of chewing. If I were to guess, I don’t think Yoshizawa-san has had enough experience forming nigiri, as the proportioning was very inconsistent. It didn’t help that the size of the sushi here was probably the smallest that I’ve had at any sushi restaurant in Japan (petite-size sushi is not to my personal taste) :(

Third, besides the tuna, I thought the neta here was mostly pedestrian. Four ingredients from the sashimi course were repeated in the nigiri sequence as well, and I must say they worked better as sashimi (not a good sign, lol). Throughout the course, we were also served several small maki including uni maki, kobashira maki, and akami/toro maki; none of these stood out. The silver fish was very basic, and the other neta used were very conservatively prepped, again reminding me of Saito-style sushiya where the fish is minimally aged. I was incredibly excited to try the anago with kinome leaf, which is the piece of sushi that reportedly made Yuji Matsuo of “Sushidokoro Tsukuta” want to become a sushi chef (and he actually ended up training at Kiyota!!). Yet it was a letdown, with a fascinating crispy texture but flat flavor reminiscent of grilled codfish. Maybe the best items served during my dinner were tuna, kappa maki, and kanpyo maki, which was disappointing to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, I perfectly enjoy ultra-simple and purist sushi e.g. at Hashiguchi and Chikamatsu, but I felt that while Kiyota tried to emulate a similar philosophy, the execution was just not great.

The service was polite and efficient, although there were some mix-ups during the meal. The main sous chef, who sliced some of the sashimi, erroneously seasoned some of the akami sashimi with soy sauce, which Yoshizawa-san pointed out (but strangely, he also did not replace those pieces). The sous chef also cut the kohada in some incorrect manner, which Yoshizawa-san also noticed; the result was a few pieces of kohada were wastefully thrown into the trash bin. And a few times Yoshizawa-san asked for some stuff from the kitchen but was met with no response, so he had to yell a few times or go in there himself to sort things out. The overall coordination between the team was not the best (if you want a real and proper show, go to Sakai in Fukuoka or a Sho-style restaurant). Thankfully, everyone was nice and there was some English spoken. I had expected the ambiance to be uptight, but it was actually quite pleasant.

Overall, I’m sorry if I’m offending millionaires, actors and actresses, tuna savants, corporate executives, the Japanese underworld, and lord knows who else; but I can’t seriously recommend Kiyota to any real sushi foodie. I found the sushi here to be more cosmetic and glitzy than anything, and I do not believe it would satisfy a diehard foodie, especially if you enjoy more traditional preparations and value items like kohada, kanpyo, hamaguri, anago, and tamago. I feel like while it might have been a very popular place in the 80's or 90's, Kiyota has had its day in the sun. For the same price, and for those looking for top-class tuna / premium ingredients, I’d recommend Inomata over Kiyota in a heartbeat.

Endnote: During my sushi trip I went to a number of konbini, purchasing and devouring a few pieces of salted tori karaage each time. I have to say all the chicken was really good. As I left Kiyota and walked into the Ginza night, I thought to myself, surely tori karaage is more filling and satisfying than what I just ate. . . ~_~

>.<

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thetokyogourmet over 1 year ago

What’s your favorite alcohol drink with sushi

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Justeat over 1 year ago

We’ve seen many ppl drink various alcohol wjth sushi ranging from sake to even highball

So what’s your favorite alcoholic drink with sushi? Mine is sake so what yours?

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DanielfromHK over 1 year ago

Review of Sushi Arai Dinner Dec’22

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I have a chance to visit Sushi Arai main counter so I would like to share my personal review to all the member of the community

First of all, I could not remember exactly of what’s served due to the fact that Arai-san does not allow picture to be taken anymore but allow me to share some of my favorite dishes

Tsunami
Chawanmushi - very nice to start a meal. Great texture.
Boiled Octopus - very flavorful and the juice inside is exploding while you chew it.
Kujiri (whale tail) - also very flavorful. Come with special Ponzu. No smell at all. Love it
Ankimo and narasuke : Sho-style a bit sweet but very smooth

Disappoint dish
Seiko-kani : source is too salty. The crab is not sweet at all

Sushi

Let’s start from the shari. His shari is very balanced. It’s not a strong flavour like it used too but still impactful. The poor point is that the rice is designed to match best with his tuna while it make less impact with other neta (even though of course not bad at all)

Of course, his tuna is the best. No doubt at all. So at that night, we’ve been served with 4 pieces of tuna ( 1 akami, 2 chutoro, 1 otoro) All of them is super great especially the second piece of chutoro and otoro

Another memorable pieces would be
Sumi-ika - nice crisp sumi ika
Kohada - refresh taste and again it such a showcase what’s he inherit from his time at Sho
Hamaguri - come at very big size and super sweet. The tsume is very nice
Anago - it feel so fluffy

Overall, great meal and I could not complain but the price is fallen in high side (50k each). Would I go back again? Maybe in the next two years.

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Setsugekka vs Yoroniku Ebisu

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Justeat over 1 year ago

What do you think ablut both places?

Deciding between Setsugekka and Yoroniku Ebisu premium course. If anyone has any other suggestion, please let me know

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JJ over 1 year ago

Tempura 2022

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Yee How over 1 year ago

Is there any new tempura places opening in Tokyo these last few years worth visiting?

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JJ over 1 year ago

Review of Shinbashi Tsuruhachi (Nov2022 Visit)

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Just_Ingest over 1 year ago

Shinbashi Tsuruhachi
新橋鶴八
Food: 7.5/10 CP: 7/10

I have wanted to visit this sushi-ya ever since I read Shuto Saito’s TTT article featuring it. Thanks to the help of my friend, I was finally able to go!

The restaurant is located on the 2F of an unglamorous building in Shinbashi. You have to navigate through alleys of massage parlors before you finally reach the entrance. To be frank, in terms of location this was my least favorite sushi place. Thankfully, once you pass through the noren you can forget about the exterior for a while (although there is no restroom inside the sushi-ya, so if you need to do your business, you need to go back into the mall and pass those massage parlors again, RIP)

The taisho is Igarashi-san, and his background has been covered in the TTT article I mentioned. After a quick welcome, we sat down at the compact counter and started off with three courses of sashimi: karei, shako, and mirugai. The 3 slices of karei were humongous (foreshadowing the size of the nigiri); the shako was very good; the mirugai was a bit whatever. Clean flavors shone throughout.

Then we had 14 pieces of large nigiri. My thoughts on the main features of the nigiri:

1) When I say they were large, I mean they were really large. The toppings were ginormously thick-cut, and the shari was seriously sizable. I found the size of the overall nigiri to be a mixed bag: some of the pieces were difficult to put in the mouth and chew (e.g. katsuo, anago were overwhelmingly large), but the slightly smaller/more balanced ones were comfortably wholesome.

2) For its reputation as an “old-school” place and naturally inviting comparisons to the “Shimizu/old school aka shari” style restaurants, the shari was weaker than I expected it to be. It was a combo of somewhat sour and salty but not overwhelming in any way (it was nowhere as strong as the shari at, say, Shimizu). It worked well with most of the neta, and it was not punishing on the palate, so I felt I could eat many pieces without getting fatigued. My only gripe was that it got stickier throughout the night, and it was not as warm as I would have liked, so the texture and temperature were less than perfect.

3) Most notable to me was that the nigiri was NOT brushed with nikiri shoyu. I’ve never encountered this at another high-end sushi place before! Instead, you have to dip the pieces in soy sauce yourself, and the shoyu provided was NOT nikiri shoyu (i.e. not sweetened with sake/mirin). Or you can go really old-school and eat the sushi with no shoyu at all. Certainly Igarashi-san did excellent work with less than top-of-the-line ingredients, so the "unseasoned" nigiri was good, but at the same time I feel that not using nikiri-shoyu prevented the sushi from reaching great heights. (I did not like the shoyu he gave, which reminded me of a generic supermarket product. Oops)

We ended with the infamous Tsuruhachi tuna futomaki and half a kanpyo maki. Usually I can eat a decent amount of kanpyo but I was too full here - be prepared to consume a serious amount of rice at Tsuruhachi, lol. Highlights of the meal were a monstrously fatty iwashi; hamaguri with enticing tsume sauce; and the maguro futomaki (some people may look at this and call it one-dimensional but I thought it was really delicious). However, if I’m being honest there were also a number of particularly average pieces, including akagai, ikura, and uni. And as I mentioned, it didn’t help that I did not enjoy the soy sauce here.

When it came to preparations, from slicing the toppings to shaping the sushi, Igarashi-san was a one-man show. He would also pop into his kitchen from time-to-time to do on-the-spot grilling of several neta. His movements were brisk and dexterous, and he operated quickly and efficiently without being flustered, maintaining a good tempo throughout the meal. He is obviously a very skilled sushi master and it was a pleasure to watch him work.

On the flipside, precisely because he’s a one man show, apparently he sometimes works so much that he ends up spending the night at his shop. I wonder why some sushi masters do not hire apprentices. Besides the obviously brutal nature of the work, could it be that many young trainees prefer to flock to more “sexy” places like Saito, Sugita, Namba, which are more than well-staffed? I also grimly wonder that, if that were the case, would truly old-school sushi restaurants like Tsuruhachi disappear eventually? Would they be replaced by a modernist sushi ecosystem where okonomi is unheard of; where ¥‎35,000+ meals are the norm; where chefs fight to the death for the most expensive ingredients; where classic items that require technical skill (e.g. hamaguri) fall out of favor; where reservation books are perennially filled by champagne-chugging socialites? Some of these things are happening already, and I shudder at the thought.

The bill came to ~¥‎18,000 per person. This was slightly less than what I paid at Sushi Take earlier in the day for a similarly generous quantity of food, so it was a good-value meal. My impression of Shinbashi Tsuruhachi is that if I lived near the area and could speak Japanese, I could see myself coming here with relative frequency to order 8-10 nigiri per meal. But as it turns out, I don’t live in Japan, the entry barrier for non-Japanese speakers is high, and the sushi did not blow my mind, so my sushi journey continues!

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Shi over 1 year ago

6

Sake bar with nice food in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Any recommendation for nice Sake bar with great food in Tokyo?

Preferably, if bookable online. Thank you.

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kk1337 over 1 year ago

Tuna broker in Japan

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Yamayuki, Ishiji, fujita are among the top tuna broker that appearing in my mind.

I wonder what’s the key difference between each broker? I understand that’s this is related to the owner preferences as well which kind of tuna they like.

I also wanna know which broker your guys like.

I used to trap into Yamayuki but recently I’ve tried some from Ishiji as well and start to like it.

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Justeat over 1 year ago

5

Tokyo Late Night Dining

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Henry over 1 year ago

I found that my previous post cannot be reached anymore. Hello Saito San and everyone, would there any recommendation for late night dining in Tokyo? I heard NISHIAZABU K+ is quite good and open till mid-night. Any other recommendation? 

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

Ranjatai→Toriaroma

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Leo Saito over 1 year ago

Ranjatai, the famous yakitori restaurant that regrettably closed in 2020, has reopened at the same location as before as Toriaroma! This is definitely a place I want to go!
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1310/A131003/13000425/

Teuchi Sobakiri Takumi(Soba)

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Kengo Yamada over 1 year ago

Not only is the soba delicious, but the tempura is on the level of a specialty restaurant. Highly recommended.
https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1310/A131002/13208650/dtlphotolst/smp2/

Late Night Dining in Tokyo?

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Henry over 1 year ago

Hello Saito San and everyone, I would like to ask if there any good Late Night Dining recommendation in Tokyo? I'm planning to visit Tokyo in Jan for watching live shows and there will be 2-3 night I have to dine after 21:00.

Late Night Dining in Tokyo?

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Henry over 1 year ago

I found that my previous post cannot be reached anymore. Hello Saito San and everyone, would there any recommendation for late night dining in Tokyo? I heard NISHIAZABU K+ is quite good and open till mid-night. Any other recommendation? 

No Pork and Beef in Ginza

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LTHeracles over 1 year ago

I'm going to Tokyo with my parents that don't eat beef and pork. Can you recommend any restaurant for them to try? I basically want to eat ramen, tempura, unagi and yakitori. If we go to a tonkatsu and yakiniku restaurant, will they be able to eat anything like fish or chicken? We are currently planning to stay in Ginza. Thanks

Great Sweets

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jc99001 over 1 year ago

Hi all - just curious to know about any can't miss sweets. I'll be going in the winter and my accommodations are in Ningyocho. I enjoy all kinds of sweets - both western and eastern. Basically looking to try anything new and interesting/experimental. Primarily based in CA/SF, so have had pretty good exposure to the typical trendy Japanese desserts [fluffy pancakes, soufflé cheesecakes, mochidonuts, daifukus]

1. Looking for any parfait recommendations
2. Any pastry spots worth trying? [Curious about Ringo's apple tarts or anything similar!]
3. How is Patisseriee Mayo? Curious about other dessert tastings in Tokyo!
4. If possible, I'd love to do some kind of sweets/pastries crawl so happy to know if there are any battleground neighborhoods that have an awesome sweets presence.

Thank you!

Yakiniku in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

I’m considering between Sanjuku Toraji and Shimiru Tokujuen. If anyone have any recommendation, please kindly suggest. Thank you

Narisawa

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Shi over 1 year ago

Considering trying to visit Narisawa on the recommendation of a friend and was wondering if any of the TTT community had any thoughts or experiences to share

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Green tea specialist shop in Tokyo

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Justeat over 1 year ago

Any recommendation for green tea specialist shop in Tokyo? Thank you

Any food recommendations for Kyoto?

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hambogo over 1 year ago

Will be visiting Kyoto around Christmas time for 4-5 nights and looking for any food recommendations.
I'll be staying at Hyatt Place Kyoto and Park Hyatt Kyoto.
This is my second time visiting Kyoto, last time only stayed for 20 hours and had Kichi Kichi omurice >_< (good performance, not so impressed with taste)


Ebisu Endo or Sushi Mizukami?

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goochmonger over 1 year ago

I have two options confirmed open for dinner one night in May. Ebisu Endo via Omakase amd Sushi Mizukami via Pocket Concierge (nigiri only for Mizukami). I am open to either style. Both would be new to me. Which would you suggest I book?

Osaka Recommendations

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goochmonger over 1 year ago

Have two free evenings and one open lunch in Osaka. We’re doing Yakitori Ishimatsu the first night we’re there after we arrive and touring Kurumon the next day for lunch, so looking for recommendations outside of that. Need to go easy on fried food as doesn’t always agree with fiancé. Not looking for anything fancy, just simple and delicious. What are some must hit spots? Including just snacks or coffee/tea.

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Looking for Recommendations for Tokyo Sushiya with great Otsumami!

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Jazzmint about 1 year ago

Looking to visit Tokyo soon. I love nigiris but I also love a place that serves otsumamis to balance things out and for a change in taste palates. Any recommendations for a good Sushi place that does that? Thanks in advance!:)

Sushiya no Masakatsu

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Shi about 1 year ago

My friend Saitoさん recently opened his own shop - sadly I haven't had the opportunity to visit yet since he opened right after we left the country but wanted to let my friends on TTT know in case they were interested. He's still quite young but I'm cheering for him - will def be stopping by when we return early next year.

https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1302/A130204/13283086/

Ginza Shinohara seats

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iambenjaminw 12 months ago

Hello I have 2 seats at Ginza Shinohara on 1 Aug 8.30pm if anyone would like to go. PM me at iambenjaminw on Instagram if you are interested!

Sushi Advice

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Velarislocal 7 months ago


On my upcoming trip to Tokyo I am deciding between the following Sushi Omakase meals. I would like to do two while I am there and I have access to all of these reservations. Please let me know which to prioritize


Sushi Arai - i believe it is the second counter

Sushi Yuu

110NZ by LDH Kitchen - chef from Saito in an art gallery

Ebisu Endo

Sushisho Masa

Sushi Shunsuke



Please help me narrow down to the two best, and if there is something that is easy to book in the next 2 weeks I should add.



I also am looking to get a Tempura Res and a Yakiniku Res. Looking for reccs. All my research has been very Sushi focused. On a past trip to Japan I went to Sushi Masuda and Yasuda. Excited to venture out more!

Seeking suggestion similar to my favorite sushi spots!

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az about 2 months ago

Hello, using the excellent information provided here, I visited 5 sushi spots in Japan late last year. Obviously I liked some more than the others.

Ranked in order:

1. Sanshin in Osaka: Fantastic! Probably one of my fav. sushi meals ever!
2. Inomata: This was great!
3. Sushi Namba Hibiya: Got lucky with a last minute reservation! Nigiri only though. This was pretty good and I could go back.
4. Suzuki: This was for lunch. This was fine but I could probably get something similar in NYC.
5. Sushi Take: The chef used a very-very large amount of rice in her nigiri. I've never seen anything like it. It just felt off balance. I would not go back.

On my next trip I would love to try new spots that might be similar to Sanshin or Inomata but I'm unsure what are their style makes them different than the rest. Like I think Sanshin is relatively non-traditional but I'm not sure.

Would the kind experts here have any suggestions on some other places that might be similar to Sanshin and/or Inomata? Thank you very much!