I'll be in Tokyo this coming week and I would like to try some good tempura - the catch - I'm vegetarian. From what I have read online, Kondo in Ginza offers nice, creative vegetable tempura (i.e. asparagus, lotus root, corn, ect). Has anyone been and could confirm? Also, is any English spoken? I am wondering how hard it will be to communicate that we would only want vegetables. Also, how expensive is this restaurant? Does anyone have a better rec for trying tempura vegetables? Thanks so much!
Just tell them "yasai no tempura dake o-kudasai" (Veg tempura only please).
O-sakakana o tabemasen (I don't eat fish).
They didn't speak any English from what I can remember. Went there for lunch and I think it was around 8,000 yen. It was a course meal though. I think the vegetables tempura have to be ordered a la carte.
At Ten-ichi in Kyoto, we tried to order just vegetable tempura a la carte, but were told a la carte orders were in addition to a course menu (i.e. you had to order one of the courses or tendon, you couldn't just order a la carte). When I explained that my dining partner couldn't eat fish, they readily substituted additional vegetables for the fish and shrimp included in the usual course.
I would think that most high-ish end tempura places (Ten-ichi in Kyoto isn't really high-end, but close enough) would readily make the same substitution for you. Beware of the miso, though--she was still served regular miso soup with asari (those little clams).
The Ten-ichi in Kyoto, by the way, has English menus and staff that speaks a little English, so I would think the Tokyo one would, as well (if that's a primary factor in choosing where you dine).
If you are concerned about English, I regularly get taken to a nice tempura place called Inagiku in Hanzomon. I'm not sure how well they speak English, but they have English menus, websites, and are used to dealing with foreign guests as it is very close to the British and other foreign embassies. Here is their website- http://www.inagiku.jp/e/top.html .