Just a quick note. I bought a bottle of Sharaku 写楽 (#10 on this list), at my local wine store. I picked the junmaishu (gold characters on the label). I'd say it's about 3 months old, they just received the shipment last week. They also had junmai ginjo (bronze characters, oddly no back label with date), and a pricey black label junmai daiginjo in a box.
I thought I'd start with this sort of entry level bottle, before taking a leap with the pricier options. (Not that I have any place to corkage it anyway... sigh)
Any thoughts @ChuToroZuke? Any more information about the company, its history and reputation? I think this brand gets overshadowed by some of the other names on this list, but I'm quite happy I came across it! I believe I've had Miyaizumi 宮泉 before, but this is my first time trying Sharaku.
@localtaste Oh interesting I didn't even consider that it was in Manhattan - though unfortunately it seems like there's been a mixup as I'm based in Atlanta and only have the opportunity to take occasional trips to NYC though when we do visit we tend to stay in the noho/lower east side/alphabet city area so will be quite convenient! If we get the opportunity to visit soon will definitely keep you posted but like so many others during this time we've been in lockdown to minimise the spread of covid.
Still truly appreciated though, when responsibility keeps us at home the correspondence here is a small solace from the outside world!
@guest wow I have to agree with the OP guest, unagi shun one of the most overrated unagi imo, it’s not bad but nothing special to travelled all that way from Tokyo can definitely find as good or better within Tokyo.
Upon your advice both my wife and myself opted for the Western set, it was quite tasty however as we expected it was not quite at the level of restaurants on the ground. Despite this disparity it was still a very enjoyable experience and I was happy just to have the opportunity to try it!
I found the seasoning of the food to be just about right considering the atmospheric conditions which was a relief as the outbound business class meal on JAL tasted quite salty to me. I did wonder if that was due to the higher humidity from flying on a 787 and not having the food adjusted for that.
Given the opportunity I would be curious to try the kaiseki options as well just for the sake of comparison but wanted to reiterate I was quite happy with the entire experience.
Hi, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The concierge was lovely, even though they failed to get seats at Tenzushi - which we were told should be done more than 3 months in advance. Hotel was a bit old but decent for the price range.
Also just to provide a report on Chisou Nakamura. Lovely kaiseki meal with modern touches here and there. Nakamura-san was also a great host despite speaking very little English. Really appreciated how he tried to joke with us and use Google Translate to show us rare ingredients during the meal. Would definitely recommend
I'm actually very drawn in by a restaurant owner's 'story'. When I bought my Tokyo Michelin guidebook in 2012 or so, the thing that stuck out most in my mind about their writing, was when they (as though going on a tangent) comment on how the chef is a fisherman that likes to adventure, and goes out to find their own ingredients, or spent years endeavoring to open their own place, etc... I like that sort of thing, when they describe the personality and background of the person.
These days, I'm starting to grow more interested in trying local sake, rather than big name labels. It's exciting, and I feel more like an insider, and less like a tourist. However, I will say that well known brands are useful to 2 things: 1) impressing people when you bring a bottle back as a gift that they know is hard to get. And 2) it's more exciting to try something that you've seen over and over again, that you eventually come to recognize. If you try a sake that you only just saw for the first time, it might taste great, but it's difficult to feel as excited when you haven't spent a sufficient amount of time memorizing it, getting hyped about wanting to try, and eventually committing yourself to seeking it out.
On another note, because of your reference to katsuo shuto, I curiously asked my local sushi ya about it, and he brought out his secret personal stash for me to try, with some Denshu. Stuff stinks (haha), but really does go well with sake.
I tried going to the restaurant in August, after watching an episode of Nhk's Japangle, featuring the chef Yasushi Matsumura 松村康史. I foolishly arrived after 7pm, well before they were supposed to close at 9. All the chairs were stacked up, and no customers, just staff inside, with all the lights dimmed out. I thought, did I mistakenly go on a day they're closed? After asking, I discovered they were indeed open, but done for the day, as all the soup ran out. I was recommended to come another day, before 5, no later than 630. I think I'll try to go again this time.
Here's the video below. His section starts at 16 minutes 15 seconds. Interestingly, the ramen he made for the show, is not at all what he serves at the restaurant.
Ooh, ok! Thank you for clarifying that. I will add it to my notes. From the times I've seen the technique, I thought it was to tense up a fish, prior to serving it as sashimi. It also seems an excellent technique for cooking shrimp rare. I did not know it was a component of a zuke process.
@guest I was also thinking you probably prefer the one on the right. I think u should go with your gut feeling on the cut you prefer. Personally, I think Maruyama Kippei’s cut with fat is pretty good. But if u scroll down, tanse away would also prefer leaner cut so I don’t suggest going against your preferred cut.
You can just show the lady there the pic you wanted and say ‘one’ for one ticket. (You can save my picture or download from google map. They can speak simple English.
You can also choose Japanese language menu on the ticket machine and use google translate from your cell phone. But I think the best way is just show them the picture and they can help you at the ticket machine.
I downloaded these two pics from google map. The thick one looks very nice too if u like red meat and medium rare.
Next time I visit, I will snap the pic from the Japanese menu in the ticket machine for comparison.
Hi. Thanks for the insight on subtle language nuances.
I am clearly not a master at lines, as I wouldn't arrive late, and get stuck waiting if that was the case, haha.
In the case of Tomato Curry, I would have appreciated a bit more 'caring' human treatment, in an attempt to help a little bit on the part of the lady. I believe she might be the chef's wife. As a customer, you've invested in waiting a long time in line for them, the least she can do is speak to us for a few seconds. Rather than just leaving people in line with no answers. After her brief nod and apology, she wouldn't listen to anything else we asked, quickly walked away, and went back inside. Basically ignoring us. At most, she might gesture her hand, to please wait in line. And it was a Japanese speaker with me, who was trying to talk to her. I've never encountered this level of casually dismissing someone in Tokyo. I waited 2 hours, and was treated like this, before I ran out of time. Apologize, as I realize I am now ranting. Mostly all the waiting line establishments I've gone have been very professional, or at least kind. I value kindness.