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Sep 19, 2008 04:53 PM

One More Night in Tokyo

The typhoon made us extend our stay 1 more night. We've done KONDO, MAISEN and PIERRE GAGNAIRE, MOS BURGER, along with some small ramen and yakitori places.

Is there one or two Tokyo institutions that we should try? We're not that adventurous when it comes to sushi, so would rather not go to the KANDA or JIRO alike...

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  1. hirugao ramen at shinjuku?? they have grilled pork instead of chashu...

    1. I have to admit, that is a wonderful combination of the high and low, can't blame you for eating across the spectrum.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        I forgot that KEYAKIZAKA was one of the places we went to last week. We ended up not having dinner last night since we've been munching all day. We got some really wonderful stuffs from a local grocery store near Shimbashi station.

        I have to say that fruits in Japan are the best tasting anywhere! The price may be outrageous, but the flavor is unlike anything I've ever tasted. The white peaches, tangerines, dark seedless grapes are simply incredible.

      2. If you get a chance, can you let us know how your meal at Pierre Gagnaire was? I'll be in Tokyo in January, and while I'm planning to spend most of my money attending the second week of sumo basho, I may try to do one high-end meal. His Paris restaurant is a favorite, and I've wanted to try the Tokyo branch.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Debbie M

          I find our lunch to be good, but not exactly exciting or entirely memorable. We did the 4 course lunch for 80,000 Yen, which included 5 types of amuse-bouche (corn ice cream, shaved foie gras, etc), appetizer (langoustine), main course (pressed chicken with spinach) and 3 types of desserts (each 3 has 3 or 4 tiny bits of something). The best of the bunch was the pressed chicken; however, it was accompanied by chopped 'crispy chicken legs', which was barely edible. Service was very good, dining room was very quiet with only 3 other tables occupied. Is this typical for PG lunch, by the way?

          If I had to do it over again, I would have gone somewhere else.

          1. re: theskyflyer

            Hi theskyflyer,

            Wow, 4 Courses for $800 U.S.?! That's pretty ridiculous, and from the courses you described it didn't sound like it was worth it at all. Did they use liberal amounts of Truffle and other items to help justify that cost?

            1. re: exilekiss

              I think it's supposed to be Y8000. At least their website lists the lunch menu at Y8000 (Y7350, actually).

          2. re: Debbie M

            Just to offer another opinion, I thought Pierre Gagnaire was absolutely spectacular - the food was creative and exciting and a lot of fun, with an impressive diversity of ingredients and beautiful, artistic presentation. I would recommend it very highly.

            1. re: Robb S

              I think Pierre Gagniere combines the spectacular with the not-that-great. If you are a dessert person, you probably can't do much better. Dessert is something the restaurant particularly specialises in, and on several occasions I have been we always had something like 7 or 8 very original desserts, which were absolutely, truly spectacular. (And I say this as someone who is not really much of a dessert person.)

              I once had dinner at Gagnaire's when the restaurant had its "truffle weeks". During such time, they had a 10 course menu (give or take a few courses - it was in January so I don't remember) where every single course, including all desserts, included a very liberal amount of truffles. It was completely and utterly spectacular.

              What is less than spectacular though is the occasional course that just isn't very good. I don't mean unoriginal, I mean - which is worse - the execution is just not great. For example (and this was when Gagnaire himself was actually visiting Tokyo and was in the kitchen), the duck main course once was dry, rubbery and had a spongy skin. Everyone at our table felt that way, it was not just my strange perception. A dish that should have been 1. relatively straight-forward and 2. a real culinary feast at a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars tasted like when your friends are trying to make a fancy duck dish but don't quite know how to get the skin right or how to ensure that the meat stays juicy. Simple ingredients, where the chef's ability makes the difference betwen OK and outstanding. This is not the only dish which was merely OK, but probably the best example.

              All in all it is still always a great experience, and I recommend the restaurant very highly. I have never had lunch there though, so can't judge to what extent, if any, standards differ in comparison to dinner.

              1. re: Asomaniac

                Thanks for the thoughts, Robb S and Asomaniac. :)

                Do you have an Address or URL for Pierre's? Doumo!

                  1. re: E Eto

                    Hi E Eto,

                    Silly me... I actually went to first but for some reason it didn't come up via the search engine in there. And for some reason I was thinking it was along the lines of a "tiny / unknown" eatery instead of the world-famous restaurant (it was too early in the morning for me :). Found it, thanks.

                1. re: Asomaniac

                  Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. I definitely, definitely want to try PG Tokyo, but not sure yet if it will be this trip (seven days of sumo won't be cheap). I may opt for Tofuya Ukai or The White Fox. More likely the latter, since it's a little more reasonable than the other two.

                  1. re: Debbie M

                    You're doing 7 days of sumo? Good luck!

                    1. re: lost squirrel

                      That's sort of what I was thinking! Once, maybe twice in a week, but 7 days in a row is a bit much!

                      I'd skip a day of sumo and do PG instead. Sumo is only very interesting after 3pm, anyway, so it's a lot of money for just an hour or two of sumo (or get same-day seats for just one day--in the nosebleed section, but you'll have more money for food).

                      1. re: prasantrin

                        I'm already a follower -- I subscribe to TV Japan and watch live broadcasts of the basho (which is kind of tough because they're on at midnight-2:00 am California time). I bought two advance tickets for the second week of Hatsu basho last year, thinking that would be enough, and ended up going back and buying tickets at the box office for every other day. So this year I'm hoping to get three advance tickets for the last weekend, then I'll buy same day seats for the weekdays at the box office. But I do only attend the Makuuchi bouts, from 4-6, leaving plenty of prime chowing time!

                        Luckily, no dearth of good eats at any price range in Tokyo.