Houndin' Around the World - Tokyo
I will be traveling to Tokyo the second week in September and staying at the Park Hyatt. I don't know very much about the city, and I'd like to experience the best the city has to offer, so I need help!
I love Japanese food, but I'm not looking for any one type of restaurant in particular. I love this place in New York that serves Krushiage(sp?), so I'd like to get my hands on that if I can. Also, I love Sake and Sochu so any recommendations for places with a wide variety of both would be wonderful. Would also like to go for a tasting menu somewhere.
Thanks a million for your help!
I lived in Tokyo for 7 years back in the 80's but when I return now I still alway manage to hit a few of my favorites. One place that has world class tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlets) is called Tonki. It is located very close to Meguro station on the Yamanote line. Everyone knows this place so if you get off the train at the station it is less than a five minute walk. Another place I like is Nan-Ban Tei for yakitori. They serve more that just the traditional chicken but because it is popular with foreigners they have an English menu. All you have to do is choose one of the courses and tell them what you want to drink. There are several branches in Tokyo but the one I like best is very close to Roppongi Crossing down a small side street.
If you have the time and don't mind taking a 50 minute train ride out of Shinjuku station I would highly recommend a place callled Ukai Toriyama. It is located in a small town called Takao which is the last stop on one of the lines going out of Shinjuku. Their web site is www.ukai.co.jp/toriyama. This place is beautiful and a real dining experience. If you go with a Japanese freind or freinds you will have a great time but they do have an English menu which is very easy to figure out. Plan to make reservations way in advance because on weekends it is full everyday. When you arrive at the Takao-san Guchi station the restaurant has a shuttle bus that comes every few minutes. It is about a 15 minute bus ride from the station. I can't recommend this place too highly. For a true Japanese experience do it!!!
And for kushiage, Tatsukichi in Akihabara is pretty good, with a decent sake selection too. (They also have a Shinjuku branch which might be more convenient for you - again your concierge should be able to help.) Hantei up in Nezu is a lot of fun, with great atmosphere, but I'm not sure it's worth the long trip to get there.
Bento.com has the data for both: (http://www.bento.com/searchg.php?q=ku...)
By the way, thanks for the feedback on your Stockholm visit. It looks like you're really getting around!
In the meantime, here are a few sake suggestions, since I'm not sure that sake pubs have been fully covered here.
Hasegawa, the tiny stand-up sake bar in Omotesando Hills, is a pleasant place to start - they have about a dozen sake for tasting in very small tasting-size glasses.
Buri in Akasaka has a good balance of sake selection, food quality and atmosphere. If you're a sake geek looking for unusual, limited-edition stuff, you could sit at the counter at either Akaoni (Sangenjaya) or Sasagin (Yoyogi-Uehara), both presided over by serious sake experts. Tsukushi-no-ko (Ikejiri-Ohashi) may have the very best selection of limited-edition sake, but the food is pretty mediocre.
Toki no Ma in Ebisu also has lots of limited-edition sakes (plus shochu), and an excellent food menu, but I think the only counter there is the sushi counter. Seigetsu in Kagurazaka has a very comfortable counter, and good selections of sake and shochu, and a very warm, friendly atmosphere.
The sake page at bento.com (http://www.bento.com/r-jreg.html#sake ) has contact info for all these and more. Some of the places have English menus - you can ask your hotel concierge to check which ones do and don't.
There's plenty of recs for all sorts of restaurants already posted on this Japan board. Why don't you do a search and collect some that sound interesting and post a rough itinerary based on that? Then people can comment, suggest, etc. People do that for New York all the time and it seems to be a good way to collect info. You'll be based in Shinjuku, the largest sub-city of Tokyo. It's a great spot to operate from. Tokyo is an amazing place, I'm sure you're going to have a great time. And Kushiyaki restaurants abound.