Tokyo Table Trip

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Request for collaboration

- "TripAdvisor ratings and reviews cannot be used as reference" "Foreigners cannot read Tabelog reviews" We have listened to the dissatisfied voices of foreign travelers, and created a TokyoTableTrip original review page.
- There are many site visitors who travel to try out the high gourmet foods in Japan as well as throughout the rest of the world. Reviews that are very dependable are expected to be gathered.
- The target is, first of all, "sushi restaurants," which everyone is most interested in. Frank and harsh reviews are also warmly welcome.
- We are certainly hoping to see reviews from perspectives different from Japanese people who are fully accustomed to Japan's restaurant practices and customs!
- For the sushi restaurants that have a fixed number of reviews, we are thinking of creating a page just for the restaurant and summarizing the reviews for that restaurant.

Assessment Basis

- 10 point assessment with increments of 0.5
1 (do not want to visit again) ⇔ 5.5 (if there is another chance to come to Tokyo, might visit again) ⇔ 10 (if there is another chance to come to Tokyo, will definitely visit again)

Review Description Example

Ginza Kyubey, Ginza main restaurant (target restaurant name) July 2018 (day visited)
4.5/10 (Rating)
(Review content)
I was disturbed by the style of nigiri where citrus was sprinkled on toppings such as flounder, squid, chicken grunt, fan mussel, and sardines.
It seems the objective was to reduce the greasiness of the toppings, but the result was that the appeal of the various types of sushi, their natural flavor, has been reduced by half.
Can this really be called "Orthodox Tokyo style sushi"? I felt great doubt about this.
Perhaps because there is only one person, the restaurant manager, in charge of stocking ingredients, I felt that the communication about information related to the ingredients (season, production area, etc.) was lacking...
Precisely 10% of the bill was collected as a service charge...
Well, with the current system it seems it will be difficult to impress those who have a taste for sushi.
This was also my first time visiting a high grade sushi restaurant so it has left a deep mark in my memories, but I am afraid to say that I do not think I will be coming back.
(Upon asking sushi chefs native to Kyubey, it seems that presently the restaurant serves the best sushi is "Hotel Okura Branch.")

Leo Saito (do not forget reviewer name! *handle name may also be used)

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Viv

Sushi Ichijo - 8

Adding to Yeehow's review :)

Had Sushi Ichijo for lunch before the returning fight from Narita Airport. We ordered the 12-piece lunch set. The lunch last a good 50 minutes. From Ichijo, it takes about 1hr to reach Narita.

Shari is sour and umami. It seems that the chef had trained at Shimizu before, but his shari is not a pure recreation of Shimizu's shari. In addition to two vinegar blends, he told us that he had added something special. We enjoyed his shari a lot and ordered some plain shari to taste, without neta. Good sushi pieces included: hamaguri, kohada, chutoro, ika, kampyo.

The chef was very nice, funny, and down to earth. The lunch was 11k including tax and service, very good value. The place seems quiet somehow for a Saturday, maybe because it was rainy. We would love to go back again some time.

8 months ago

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Yeehow

Sushi ichijo(counter lunch course)- 7.5 - 8

Sushi ichijo has been reviewed extensively by just_ingest and d. It's another sushiya which accepts infants at the counter and is available for lunch(if your kid do not disturb the other customers).

The ambience of sushi ichijo is quite silent, it is probably not a place for alot of instagrammable pictures. The hospitality is prompt and good, your tea cup and gari will be topped up as soon as it's empty.
The shari is very well-seasoned with akazu with a more sour taste but not overpowering and the nigiri pieces are large and rustic. I personally like the taste of his shari alot.

Memorable items
-ika
-kohada
-tamago

Not bad items
-chutoro
-akami
-kampyo

Personal thoughts:

Sushi ichijo is not a sushiya for a blowout meal if you are expecting good neta(material). It's more of a place for a sushi geek/aficionado who value delicious rice and hikarimono(silver/blur fish)/kai(shellfish). His neta are all pre-sliced and his wasabi usage is a tad heavy. Chef ichijo does not speak much english, so it might be best if you know your neta well.

There have been previous comments about overcharging, but one can always try out his lunch deal. It's pretty good value(7 nigiri + kampyo roll -5400 jpy, 12 nigiri + kampyo roll - 10800jpy) and will give you a glimpse into his repertoire. Personally, i would look to revisit sometime in the future.

11 months ago

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guest

Is the neta and shari the same for lunch and dinner, just at a cheaper price?

11 months ago
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Yeehow

@guest The shari is the same, just that there is no sashimi and slighly lesser pieces for lunch course. The couple beside me seems to be getting hamaguri, akagai, tairagi for their omakase course. Fyi, one can order dinner omakase during lunch as well.

11 months ago
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guest

Is neta quality itself the same? Neta quantity is less (ie less nigiri pieces) but i'm more interested in quality

11 months ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Neta quality is the same, I think.

11 months ago
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Yeehow

@ guest I concur with Saito-san the neta quality is the same.

11 months ago

Yeehow

Sushi obana(private room)- 8.5 - 9/10

Sushi obana was first recommended by Saito-san on the 4 best restaurants in tokyo outskirts. I was always intrigued to visit it but was discouraged by the agonizing long journey. My focus will be solely on the private room experience as Localtaste and Just_Ingest have written wondwrful reviews previously.

The ambience of the sushiya is relaxed and hospitality is top-notch. Language is not an issue as one will be served by both Chef Obana's wife and son, who speaks English reasonably well . The neta is definitely some of the best you will ever have and aka-shari is used. The otsumami here are of high quality and there are various personal renditions that one won't find elsewhere. The private room is a big tatami room, not directly connected to the main counter. This allows one to be at ease that your crying toddler is not going to affect other customers.

Memorable pieces
- Hirame
- Straw smoked bonito
- herring egg
- scallop with kombu soy sauce & mustard
- kohada
- otoro
- hamaguri
- ikura
- shako
- nagasaki uni
- hokkaido uni
- vanilla ice cream monoka

Not too bad pieces:
- Uni parfait
- Sawara
- Ika
- Radish sprout marinated in kelp
- Kuruma ebi bowl
- Anago in tsume

Personal thoughts:

I believe the aka-shari is not heavily seasoned intentionally to let one focus on the amazing neta quality. Hirame which is frequently flavourless in numerous sushiyas felt immensely rich in sushi obana.

The ikura and hokkaido uni(proclaimed as no.1 uni in japan) is just mindblowing. I seriously do not know how chef obana is able to offer so much high quality materials at such a cheap price. I am sure it will cost 50000jpy if his sushiya was to open in tokyo.

Chef obana's wife is trying her best to learn English to serve foreign visitors better and does a very nice ice cream monaka, which is rare in sushiyas. I would definitely return for more creative renditions and fabulous hospitality.

I know some TTT readers have quizzed Saito-san on comparing Takaoka and Obana. I believe both sushiyas are great, with different personalities. Takaoka: Humble chef, wonderful rice and few imperfections. Obana: Hospitable/Friendly chef, high quality and quantity of otsumami and neta, alot of unique and creative renditions. I would give the edge slightly to sushi obana due to its wilingness to create unique renditions and the numerous high-quality otsumami and nigiri.

Price/pax: 32,400JPY

11 months ago

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Yeehow

Just for reference, my meal finished in 1 hr 40mins. In case any TTT readers would like to plan the timing of the limited express to take back to tokyo.

Contrary to other sushiyas, chef obana was very welcoming even if you arrive early(in my case, i arrived 10mins before the allocated time). Probably much better than having to stand in the cold wind.

11 months ago

Yeehow

Sushi ranmaru(counter : sous chef 'Masa' masaharu sagawa) - 8/10

Sushi ranmaru was 1 of the restaurants recommended by Saito-san to visit early in 2019 and is renowed for excellent cost performance. It's the sister store of rinda and aka-shari is used for nigiri. The nigiri is very edomae but it does has some interesting twists to its otsumami(like amadai mixed in uni and fried botan ebi head).

The ambience of the sushiya is fun, both chefs shimazu and masa are friendly and knows English to communicate sufficiently with foreign visitors. You can be rest assured that both chefs and staff love babies, they have zero issues with crying toddlers and will reassure you promptly with a line of "daijoubu".

Memorable pieces
- nodoguro
- salted anago
- fried botan ebi head
- oyster
- amaebi mixed with uni
- bafun uni
- aomori uni
- chutoro

Not too bad
- awabi
- bonito with onion soy sauce
- botan ebi done two ways(nigiri and grilled)
- ranmaru roll

Personal thoughts:

If one intends to be served only by chef shimazu, it's best to get your concierge to indicate explicitly.

With that said, i believe Chef masa to be no less talented than chef shimazu. Especially for families with babies, chef masa knows many tricks to soothe your crying baby as he himself is father of a two-year old. My baby got a minature otoro nigiri as a gift and broke into laughter.

Fried botan ebi head was really creamy and i believe it is a play on fried kuruma ebi heads on high-end tempura places and i totally love it.

I do not know how chef shimazu keeps his omakase price at 18000jpy, the neta he is using is of very high quality and it is a complete steal at this price-point. I would definitely come back to ranmaru and see how they evolve further with better shellfish preparation.

Price per pax:24000jpy/pax with 1 ranmaru roll add-on

11 months ago

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@Yeehow Does this mean that the omakase was 18,000 yen and adding the ranmaru roll resulted in the price being 24,000 yen? So does that mean the ranmaru roll was about 6,000?

11 months ago
Tinyfin

Just_Ingest

IG: Sushisibz

@Yeehow nice review, love the mini ootoro story, haha. Just wondering what are your thoughts on the shari here. And if you were to return, would you prefer a nigiri lunch or the full course again?

11 months ago
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Yeehow

@guest it is 18000jpy but i believe there is a table charge and tax in addition to it. I have read on a seperate website the ranmaru roll costs 5000jpy. It was a humongous roll which i shared with my wife.

11 months ago
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Yeehow

@Just_Ingest thanks! The shari is pretty well-seasoned, abit stronger than sushi obana and slightly small. I would recommend someone who like punchy flavours to ask for more rice to enjoy the shari more. Was given the option after the first piece which i felt made the experience much more enjoyable.
Personally i feel that the nigiri full course might be better, the otsumami might still need some further improvement.

Another interesting story was when chef shimazu overheard chef masa saying "do you like it?" while serving the second piece of uni nigiri(aomori uni). He immediately shot out to me gesturing at chef masa," This guy is f***ing mad!" And when chef masa exlained to chef shimazu that my favourite is uni, chef shimazu ordered him to give me an extra big piece of aomori uni(1.5x size of what other guests are getting). Wow it was just so funny!

11 months ago

Yeehow

Sushi Takaoka(counter) -8.5 - 9/10

For every hardcore sushi fan, the counter experience is second to none. It is pretty elusive for parents bringing a baby, the easiest way is probably to do a private charter or go to kyubey.

Sushi takaoka is a very familiar sushiya for TTT readers. It's been reviewed extensively by shuto saito and localtaste previously. It's easy to reserve and the nigiri are very high quality and any hardcore sushi fan would love it. It is also an unwritten secret that sushi takaoka accept babies if you go for the 5pm dinner slot.

Memorable pieces:
Saba bozushi
Shimaaji
Otoro
Hamaguri
Bafun uni
Ikura
Kuruma Ebi

Not too bad pieces:
Steamed hokkaido amadai
Uni platter(hyogo, nagasaki, kyushu)
Hamaguri chawanmushi

Compared to previous visit, it seemed that the shari at takaoka has improved and became less al dente, but still maintains the chewy mouthfeel when one bites into the rice. The neta seemed to have been improved greatly as well, as the saba bozushi, bafun uni and ikura which felt underwhelming previously are now highlights of the meal.

The service level has also been improved a notch as he will now display a map of chiba and tokyo bay to show where his catch comes from. I suspect a certain influence by how inomata does it. Similarly, he has replaced the floating sushi plates with round plates with wavy-design on the counter-top allowing better aesthetics and customers to take better pictures of his nigiri.

Personally, i cannot recommend sushi takaoka more and it's definitely one of the sushiya one should consider if you are bringing along kids/infants.

Meal Cost per pax:24,000jpy
Meal Cost after addition of 1 kuruma ebi, 1 bafun uni and 1 saba bozushi:28,600jpy

11 months ago

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Thanks for your reviews!
What's the vibe like at Takaoka? Is it very quiet?

11 months ago
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Yeehow

@D Rather than describing it as quiet, i would call it elegant/serene. I seem to recall a piano music playing in the background. If you visit on the weekday 5pm slot, you could be the only guests there. Perfect date spot for impressing your wife.

He may not be the most boisterous chef around, but he is very willing to share if you try to ask him about his materials/prep work. He also has a funny side to him. When he heard that i visited sushi yu,he keep on doing the sushi yu gesture of sticking out the sushi on his palm.

11 months ago

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