trip to Tokyo - my experience
I just went for the fist time to Tokyo and had a hard time before I left to get some recommendations for food - everyone was very vague, and this board was the only one where I got some tips. Thats why I am posting, maybe it helps someone else. I went for business and had only two days so my exploring time was limited.
Here are my premises: I wasn't afraid to spend money, and I have eaten almost anywhere (family in the wine biz, I am in a very food related biz dealing with many chefs) so I was looking for some real out there experiences. I know a bit about food, but nothing about Tokyo, so my apologies if I misrepresent the food scene.
My personal top experiences:
Kyubei in Ginza, 8-7- ?? (You'll find it if you google it, in the center of teh street, looks very upscale in the area) went for lunch, had the 11 piece sushi menu and it was fabulous. I live in NYC and have been to Masa, Marimoto, blue ribbon etc, and this was much, much better and cheaper! will come back to eat their dinner set.
Ryu Gin, Rappaongi (see my post in the topic, address and link in the original post from steamer), great modern high cuisine, in the school of El Bulli/ et al. go for a sake pairing, if you are new to sake like me and come from a wine background.
Ekkwo, small place with modern Japanese home cooking style, more everyday then Ryu Gin, friends took me, the chef is a master chef and the food is great. Komazwa -Dori 2-10-7 Phone: 03-57681819. cool area to walk around too.
went to the fish market (yeah I am a tourist and foodie lol). Went to Daiwa sushi, very good too (though no comparison to the one above). Address: 6-go-to, when you come from the fish market second restaurant with a line, it has two stalls.
Another tourist thing: the basement of the department stores, spend ours tasting everything. plan on being their for at least two hours and come hungry.
absolutely going back, need to deepen my soba experience. If anyone has a great soba place please post.
Tokyo's not really a soba town these days, as much as I could tell, but you can find some good stuff around and smaller towns like Kamakura have more of a tradition. You should research which is the best region for soba and plan your next trip around that. I like soba with mountain vegetables and had pretty good luck with that around Kamakura. Kamakura is also worth a visit for the most chilled-out-looking Buddha in the world.
Good soba is lovely of course, but one reason it doesn't get written up so much is that it's so ubiquitous - wherever you are in Tokyo there's probably one or two good soba shops somewhere nearby. Of course you're in the mood for a buckwheat pilgrimage you can head over to Kanda for Yabu Soba or one of the other famous old shops, or try one of the newer "gourmet" soba places. I rarely feel the need to cross town for soba though, and I can't imagine traveling for hours for something that's so common.
Like Robb suggests, there are about as many soba joints in Tokyo as there are pizza places in NYC. The June (2007) isue of Dancyu magazine had a great feature on soba, listing several places in Tokyo. Older sections of Tokyo, like Asakusa, or Azabu Juban are good places to find old established soba places, or places like Kanda or Yurakucho that serve to nourish salarymen might also be a good place to look. There are several high-end soba places in Ginza as well. Soba is alive and well in Tokyo.
re: E Eto
True about soba, I work within walking distance of Yabu Soba and there are plenty others around.
Next time you're here, you can head out to Mt Takao on the Keio Line and eat soba there, I remember enjoying myself last time. The soba there is more often than not covered in tororo however, which is not my cup of tea.
re: lost squirrel
This place just opened on Oct. 3 in Yokohama, between Chinatown and Motomachi -- five minutes walk from Motomachi-Chukagai on the Minato Mirai line.
Two absolutely terrific chefs -- as a team, not competitors.
Dinner Friday night was among the top 10 meals I've eaten anywhere in the world.
Chefs' selection only -- eight courses, 10,000 yen -- no a la carte.
Excellent wines, mostly from Italy and mostly organic, many nonfiltered.
As Michelin says, "Worth a Detour."
Reservations are mostly required.
The website just opened, so may not be fully functional yet, but the chefs and the restaurant are!
Fujimaki-san on 045-651-0113 speaks English
Seats about 25.
Italian with Japanese touches such as Akita rabbit as hot consomme and cold with persimmon; Hokkaido venison with garlic paste and pizza bianco, Yamagata beef with Tasmanian honey and roasted almond pesto on Friday night.
Fresh goat cheese, lemon marmalade, pasta with whole pigeon ragout; gobo with bottarga, yama-imo with culatello; octopus, snapper, shrimp,clams in orange-tinged olive oil sauce; sauted girolles with fresh buffalo mozarella and a dessert surprise of siclian lemon jelly below a small layer of dark cake, layer of panna cotta, fresh tomato layer, topped with basil-spumante foam -- incredible!
All served with finesse and great taste in tableware -- wine is in most-proper glasses.
Overall, sort of a combination of Combal.Zero/elBulli innovation and kaiseki sensibility.
Chef Higuchi comes from Sciliano in Ginza; Chef Taira from Porta Portese in Shibuya. Great before, super now!
This is a bargain!