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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guest

Just went to Sushi Hashimoto. As an update, the price is now 23,000 not 12,000 anymore. It was my first time there but neta seems quite similar to previous reports. I have to say I was quite impressed but the otsumami, but less so by the sushi. Still full and hard to book for the near future.

12 months ago 1602046002

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thetokyogourmet

https://thetokyogourmet.blogspot.com/

Hi. It was 27K for me incl tax when I went in May and I wasn't impressed at all. My review is at https://thetokyogourmet.blogspot.com/2020/08/sushi-hashimoto.html

11 months ago 1604352911
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thetokyogourmet

https://thetokyogourmet.blogspot.com/

Hashimoto has been running an 11K (now 13K) nigiri-only lunch. It didn't much change my mind but I updated my review at https://thetokyogourmet.blogspot.com/2020/08/sushi-hashimoto.html Limited opportunity to get a taste of Hashimoto.

4 months ago 1623012471

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.

almost 2 years ago 1575810237

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Just_Ingest

IG: Sushisibz

SUSHI OBANA
Otsumami: 8/10
Nigiri: 8/10
CP: 7/10 (¥30,320)

If you are a sushi geek, you will probably be willing to travel great distances for great food. No physical barriers are going to stop me from visiting a highly-acclaimed sushiya! I will cross oceans, brave avalanches, and scale volcanoes to eat good sushi, so a 90-minute train ride to Gunma is pretty much child's play. (The only barrier I'm scared of is language barrier)

Specifically, that 90-minute train ride from Tokyo will take you to Sushi Obana. It looks like a mailroom from the outside, but it also hides one of sushi's "best kept secrets" (please read Localtaste's review here: https://tokyotabletrip.com/en/408). Enter the glass sliding doors and you're welcomed into a bright and spacious 9-seat counter. Some sights that I immediately noticed: a painting of awabi/uni behind the counter (I think he changes the painting every season because once I saw tai featured), a stack of hard ice formed into the shape of a mountain (or turd, if you like) on Obana-san's workstation, and a modern-looking metal fridge near the wooden cabinets. Exciting!

Obana-san popped out from behind the kitchen and greeted us warmly. I'm going to cut to the chase and say this place earns 11/10 points in terms of hospitality. To benchmark, I had an even better time than at Tenzushi and Inomata. Obana-san and his wife are not only very kind, but also hilarious. I wasn't so much interested in Obana-san's background at Kyubey as I was in his recreational pursuits, so here are some fun facts:
1) He's been to Singapore and is a big fan of a steak place called Masa
2) He's an avid surfer (20+ years) and likes to go to Lombok to surf
3) His namecard says "Master Chef/Surfer" on it (wut?? xDD)
4) He will appear in an English book that surveys sushi chefs, due for release next May
5) He's going with a few sushi chefs to Hokkaido next month to eat sushi (and probably ski??)
6) His wife is learning English. She brought out a pamphlet entitled "Restaurant English" that she said she was struggling to learn. That was so endearing.

Interacting with Obana-san, I remembered that sushi chefs have lives too. He's not like Yamaguchi-san (@Mekumi) who is probably super overworked and has 21-hour days. No, this guy is having lots of fun behind the scenes!

Okay, okay, let's move on to the food. I enjoyed the otsumami here, and was very impressed at how Obana-san was able to extract tons of natural flavor from his ingredients with very simple cooking methods. Some highlights: awabi is boiled with only water, which had surprising depth of flavor and oceanic umami; fatty and thick-cut aji sashimi with negi/ginger on the side; hotate with mustard in a sweet seaweed-based soup. For most of the dishes, I was instructed to apply a little bit of wasabi/salt, and for many of them, nothing at all. This is an exhibition of super-high-quality neta processed to excellence.

The nigiri is also very solid. Obana-san uses aka-shari but it's of the particularly mild variety, so it's a little stronger than Sushi Take's but nowhere as close as Shimizu's. Personally I would prefer if the shari was punchier, but that's okay. His neta are, once again, of excellent quality, reportedly some of the finest in the nation. One of the mysteries that I didn't solve is that Tatebayashi city seems pretty landlocked so how does he get his fish everyday?? Anyway, the kohada was strongly vinegared and sublime, his tuna was mouthwateringly good, and his uni was top-of-the-line. My favorite piece was his famous ikura which was apparently washed for 1 hour before being marinated in shoyu. Some funny comments about this Ikura: his wife proclaimed it was "Obana original" while Obana-san said it was "top secret and can only find in Sushi Obana." But they radiated zero arrogance when saying these things. It was more like a dude made something delicious then was mildly amused at himself for doing so, then went on to say, "hey, don't you think that's pretty cool? Not bad, huh??" That's the vibe at Sushi Obana, and it's brilliant.

I will also say that the nigiri here - while lacking a strong "wow" factor - were sooo beautiful. They were glazed with a lightly-flavored nikiri that made their surface gleam and glow in the light. Cohesion and formation were flawless, with the shari having a good amount of moisture in it. And did I mention the offerings here were very creative, with lots of signature dishes that you could look at and immediately say "that's Sushi Obana"? There's a clear respect for tradition, as the courses are pretty minimalistic, but there's also a healthy but controlled dose of originality. That adds to the fun times here!

Obana-san doesn't get a lot of tourists, but he (and his wife) will muster all his English to explain the food and chat with you. Eating his omakase, I got the feeling that while he was certainly serious in his preparations, he genuinely liked his job and wanted to have lighthearted fun. It's like your Dad is cooking a sushi meal for you and he just wants you to enjoy it and have a great evening filled with laughs. While the food might not be my absolute favorite, it's a step up from at least half of the sushiyas I've visited and the hospitality alone compels me to return. Some people have asked if it's worth the round-trip, and my answer is that it's worth visiting Sushi Obana at least once. For me, I will be back :-)

OTSUMAMI
*Obana's distinctive dishes are marked with "*". This is saying a lot, because many chefs only have like 1-2 signatures. Also, yes, it's a lot of food - so come hungry!

1. Komochi kombu (3.5/5)
2. Ara sashimi (3.5/5)
*3. Awabi (4/5)
4. Smoked katsuo (4.5/5) ===> textbook superb prep. Thick slices, smoky flavor, meaty yet soft. Unfortunately served cold, but otherwise this would have been perfect
5. Okra from Tatebayashi city
6. Botan ebi (3.5/5) ===> large and very creamy! Not marinated, so it's not super sweet. The more courses he served, the more I understood his otsumami philosophy: showcase the ingredients as they are, because their quality is already so high
*7. Uni parfait (3.5/5) ===> rice mashed with uni, topped with uni
8. Tako sashimi (4/5) ===> thick cut and very chewy with tons of brine flavor. Very different to all the other soft tako preps I've had.
9. Aji sashimi (4.5/5) ===> DIVINE
10. Local Tatebayashi edamame
11. Grilled anago (4/5) ===> crispy skin. Excellent
12. Hotate with mustard (4.5/5) ===> wow, fantastic. Sweet and briny
13. Ika geso shiokara (3.5/5)

NIGIRI
1. Kuromutsu (4/5)
2. Shinko (3.5/5)
3. Kohada (4.5/5) ===> love this aggressively-flavored prep
4. Akami (4/5)
5. Chutoro (4.5/5)
6. Ootoro (4.5/5) ===> his tuna is straight-up tremendous
7. Shin ika (3/5)
8. Kasugo (4/5) ===> soft, slightly salty. Good depth of flavor
*9. Kaiwaredaikon kobujime (3/5) ===> I was so looking forward to this vegetable nigiri but found it a little weird. Crunchy and spicy
10. Hamaguri (3.5/5) ===> I've had better. Very large cut though.
11. Ishigakigai (4/5)
*12. Ikura (5/5) ===> strong umami and saltiness but very balanced!
*13. Kurumaebi bowl ("ebi don" he said) (3.5/5) ===> shari seasoned with sauce made from ebi's head that's over 10 years old. The sauce is aromatic yet gentle. Another Obana special.
14. Murasaki uni gunkan (4/5) ===> #1 box of the day
15. Aka uni gunkan (4/5)
16. Anago with tsume (3.5/5) ===> it's an interesting crispy/tough prep, starkly contrasting with the other creamy/melt-in-the-mouth preps
17. Tamago (3/5)

(I think he has rolls but I didn't ask for them as I was too full)

about 2 years ago 1566959378

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guest

How far in advance do you recommend booking?

about 2 years ago 1566963791
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guest

Enjoyed reading every one of your reviews! Looking forward to your review on Chikamatsu:)

about 2 years ago 1566972003
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guest

@guest you can only reserve sushi obana from the start of the month before your scheduled visit date. In other words, 1st Sept for Oct visit.

about 2 years ago 1566974522
Tinyfin

Just_Ingest

IG: Sushisibz

@Guests I don’t know if the policy has changed but when I booked, ^ was not the case. They were taking reservations up to 6 months in advance and I got mine 3.5 months before.

However, there were empty seats on my visit. Visiting here takes time and costs a little over 4K yen for round trip tickets so I don’t imagine it’s extremely popular. If I were to venture, you might be able to get a booking for a weekday even 2-3 weeks in advance. Good luck

about 2 years ago 1566976135
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guest

how would you recommend in making reservation here?

almost 2 years ago 1571803187
Tinyfin

Just_Ingest

IG: Sushisibz

You should go through your hotel concierge.

almost 2 years ago 1571974162
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guest

You can go thru jpneazy as well. Not too hard to book.

almost 2 years ago 1572103882

ChuToroZuke

Review:

Shinbashi Shimizu 10/10

I had the pleasure of being invited to Shimizu recently (thank you so much!!!!), and this was literally the opportunity of a lifetime. If you are a hardcore sushi freak, geek, fanatic, addict, you must come here and experience true Edomae style sushi, or else your life and experiences are not complete.

Shimizu san's sushi is definitively old school, but the balance of flavors and textures is incredibly notable. Shimizu san's presence is extremely masterful but subdued in a way that you won't feel like you're being scrutinized too much (although I would highly recommend you brush up on your sushi etiquette before coming here, the more you are aware, the better your experience will be). Watching him work in complete silence (with the cooperation of the other guests of course) was quite an experience in itself. So when people overuse they words "zen" and "temple" when describing sushi or Jiro, they have not come to Shimizu yet maybe.... He keeps a tight eye on everything and even if you know he is not looking at you directly he quickly makes observations and knows that he got you captured in his spider web of addiction when you close your eyes and grip your fist in pure pleasure as if you just exploded from having the best piece of nigiri ever (more so than watching Japanese AV). I cannot say many other places bring out the sushi beast in me... (probably less than a handful!)

His shari is mostly akasu based with the right amount of salt, but what is absolutely incredible is that he is able to draw out the aromatics of the mixture and take that to the next level, and in combination with the neta, brings out a delicate balance that thus far I have not yet experienced elsewhere. If you are a fan of textures, mouthfeel, Shimizu is KING. I have yet to have shari at this level thus far. The Japanese have a term for "kaori" which means fragrance or aroma, but that is a bit scratching on the surface....but Shimizu's shari definitely reigns supreme in "kaori".

Shimizu san is probably one of very few chefs where I can taste almost every bit of work (or at least sense) of what he put in, to make that piece of sushi. The techniques, the knifework, the crafting/molding of the nigiri, the temperature control, and mouthfeel/texture, and to the way it feels and makes me feel. Holy XXXX.

OK neta... pretty much everything is wicked, but some of the highlights and relevations for me include:

madai konbu jime - I've never had madai marinated with kelp to the point where the texture became very firm, but it enhanced the bite of the fish. Very masterful

kurumaebi - he cooks it medium well, the texture/bite is increased but does not sacrifice on the flavor

shellfish - he is legendary for shellfish and his steamed abalone blew away what I have had so far.

sanma - it's the season now for it and I couldn't help but notice the ridiculously beautiful section of fat on the side and remarked. And the way it felt on my fingers was a bit perverted, but it was oh so delicious :-)

anything with tsume - whether he uses the tsume on anago, shako, ika geso, it's all so good and pleasant

kohada - he seems to marinate it longer than others and the texture is thus a bit firmer but oh wow heavenly texture

ni hamaguri - probably one of the most definitive pieces for me. Just dead perfect. Not too soft, and just the right chew/bite

Tamagoyaki - this is the classic thin omelette style similar to Bentenyama or maybe Kizushi. Delightful. Shimizu san suggested nigiri style with rice and you better listen to the master.

So yes, I am a fan, and an addict! :-)

about 3 years ago 1537272380

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Jasoooon

Thank you for the review, write up was excellent and now I want to try. Can you share their reservation policy? Hard to book?

almost 3 years ago 1539226362
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Summer

ChuToroZuke :) I'm planning to visit too! Could you please kindly share how did you reserve and how long in advance? Thanks a lot!!!

almost 2 years ago 1571169197
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

If you must know, chutorozuke was invited by saito-san.

almost 2 years ago 1571340860

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

about 2 years ago 1568219227

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D

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

about 2 years ago 1568635712
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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.

about 2 years ago 1568693336

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