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Oct 4, 2008 01:25 PM

Help for foodie and non-foodie in Tokyo!?!

Hi all. So, I have trolled the boards for a while, but am a new Chowhound member. I have an interesting, but not so uncommon problem. My wife and I will be overnighting in Tokyo (at the Peninsula) in late October on our way to Bali. We need to find a restaurant that will appeal to the adventurous foodie in me, and the non-adventurous eater in her. We originally were going to try one of the Michelin rated sushi restaurants, but have decided (much to my disappointment) that it is too risky, since my wife is the typical Americanized tuna-salmon-toro and a spider roll sushi eater. I would be in Omakase heaven at Jiro or Mizutani, but she would more than likely not eat much of it, and at 22,000 yen/person.....well, you get the picture.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a top rated restaurant, somewhat near our hotel in Ginza, where I can get my sushi fix and my wife can find something that she will find acceptable as well? Cost is no object, but a great dining experience is!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I stayed at Peninsula on my last trip, excellent hotel-I am sure you will enjoy staying there. You may want to email to your hotel concierge (which provides top notch service as well) to call Sushi Kanesaka, which is 10-15 minutes walking distance from your hotel, if Chef Kanesaka can prepare a meal for your wife, perhaps prepare some cooked seasonal fish. Based on my experience, he is more flexible, very friendly, able to speak in English and willing to accommodate to the wishes of the clients; I have seen him paired some white wine to the sushi meal for his Japanese clients sitting next to me as well. I think you can forget about Jiro or Mizutani, they are both excellent but very serious and rigid and will not bend their traditional rules to accomodate your wife.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      Thank you for the suggestions. We decided to go a different direction. I am currently holding reservations at both Ryugin and Tapas Molecular Bar. Have you any experience at either of these? If so, which do you recommend? From reading the boards, both seem to be enjoyable.

      1. re: sjsilv

        Ryugin is good but I have not tried Tapas Molecular Bar.

        1. re: sjsilv

          I have not been to the Molecular tapas bar yet either, but if this helps at all: Ryugin will give you a far more Japanese experience, which perhaps you would like when you travel to Japan. If your wife is not at all an adventurous eater, there will likely be at least some dish or dishes at Ryugin that might not appeal to her, but mostly I think even a non-adventurous eater should be fine.

          1. re: sjsilv

            Tapas Molecular is a much more interactive experience, with the chef right in front of you explaining each course as it arrives (at around five-minute intervals, or at least so it seemed). Some of the dishes can seem gimmicky, but generally they work pretty well. If you don't mind two hours of interacting with the chef and talking about your food, then it's very entertaining and certainly memorable.

            Ryugin is more of a normal restaurant experience - the food is excellent, and there are some interesting surprises, but you'll have time to talk about other things over dinner besides the food.

            Unless you're really tired from your travels and don't have the energy for it, I'd recommend Tapas Molecular - it's a unique experience.

            1. re: Robb S

              I agree with the two above, Ryugin is more Japanese with regard to the food and the setting is much more 'nice restaurant' whereas Tapas makes some nods to being in Japan but also provides things (manchego apple, olive foam, etc..) without any relationship to Japan. Also, you'll be seated at a bar, in front of the cooks.

              The men's bathroom at Tapas is great however, you feel like you're peeing down onto the city of Tokyo, haha.

        2. Thanks to all for your suggestions. We have decided to go with Tapas Molecular Bar. I preferred Ryugin, but the wife preferred Tapas. Guess who won? I'll report back on my experience when I return.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sjsilv

            Just a quick note, I don't recommend the wine pairing. With a series of 20+ dishes and just 5 or 6 wines, it doesn't work. Just pick what you like and don't bother trying to match anything.