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Mar 12, 2009 07:51 PM

Parents are Visiting, Need Recommendation

Hey Everyone,

I'm currently living in Japan and my parents are visiting in just two weeks. My parents would like to have one great meal while they're here, but I'm not sure where to take them. My question is this:

If you had one night in Tokyo, where would you go to eat?

I'd love to hear what you all have to say. It's getting let, but hopefully I'll be able to make a reservation.

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    1. re: Hakone Concierge

      I'd like either Japanese or French. My mother is not familiar with Japanese cuisine and is worried about liking it. However, I would like to introduce her to it.

      I'd also like something more than noodles or tempura. A course menu is ideal.

      1. re: msavas

        How much are you willing to spend?

        1. re: tjr

          Up to $150 per person would be okay.

          1. re: msavas

            Does this special meal need to be in Tokyo?

            You live so close to many restaurants/inns where people from all over Japan including Tokyo spend a lot of money and time to get to.

            1. re: kikisakura

              It doesn't necessarily have to be in Tokyo, but I would like it to be there. Also, I have reservations at the other places we'll be traveling. The only spot left is Tokyo and there are just so many restaurants and I'm so unfamiliar with it that I need some help.

        2. re: msavas

          Umm... Personally I think Tempura is a good choice, with $150 as the upper budget, for me, I will take my family to Kondo for a multi course set Tempura. This kind of tempura specialist is hard to find in North America with unmatch quality. A good piece of tempura is really hard to master, the leaf wrapped fried uni, fried sweet potato at Kondo are to die for !

          BTW, just note you live in Noto, I really love the Kan Buri from Noto !

          1. re: skylineR33

            But you have to order the fried sweet potato and the fried uni at the beginning of the meal, and it isn't part of the cheaper set menus. If you don't order it at the beginning, you're SOL, it takes about 45 minutes to make, don't ask me why. The rest of his offerings are excellent, but not worth 3-4x the price at other (also highly regarded) places.

            1. re: Uncle Yabai

              The price of the dinner course set are from like 8000 yen to 15000 yen. What is your suggestion on some other highly regarded places with 3 to 4 times cheaper price with comparable quality ?

              1. re: skylineR33

                The 8000 yen course doesn't include the famed sweet potato or the uni. The 15000 I believe does. I'd much rather eat the lunch teishoku at the Yamanoue or Fukamachi (1600-2500 yen) instead of Kondo's "entry level" set. May not be as "outstanding" but it is much lighter on the wallet.

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Yeah, it can be side order at the beginning, it is like 1000 yen for each of the item we are talking about. Or like you said, the set offering is excellent. I think it is just like any other thing, it has more to do with personal preference and some people has higher demand/standard for certain thing, so willing to spend more on it.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    I think the key word here is "demand". Probably deserves its own thread, but by the same token that lunch can be an incredible bargain relative to dinner, I find it very odd that some places have tremendous business and charge premium prices, while others, which are just as good (or even better, subjectively speaking, of course) don't get the "love" that some of these overpopular places get. Not to take away from their goodness, but there is just as good or better at other places which don't get the "respect". Rather unbalanced, and hard to explain without resorting to "cheap" cultural explanations (e.g. "the Japanese are group-oriented and will follow a crowd" or some such nonsense). Classic example of this is Aroma Fresca, which I found good but not worth the adulation given by the locals. Not even close relative to its competitors elsewhere in Tokyo.

                    1. re: Uncle Yabai

                      The lunch at Kondo is also charged half of what its dinner is charging, same with many restaurant in Japan.

                      "Love that Overpopular places get" - The Ginza Sukiyabashi Jiro charges 30000 yen for sushi, I just wonder if it worths it. It does not look like it from a famous local Japanese food critics as in here :


                      Take sushi as another example, it is real hard for some people to justify spending 2 to 30000 yen on sushi where they can get some really nice one for like 5000 yen. Sure there are differences in quality, but it does not mean the cheaper one is no good or everyone has a demand for the more expensive one or see the differences....

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        It is a matter of personal choice. We all vote with our own wallets; I personally have no problem to pay Yen 20,000 or even more for good sushi but rather reluctant to spend Yen 15,000 for good tempura. I actually find Aroma Fresco to be very good, certainly better than Argento ASO (in my opinion) but for some reasons, judging from Uncle Yabai and Asomaniac's comments, is not very popular with the expatriate population. Yet 2 months advanced reservation is needed (in good times, not sure about the situation now) for Aroma, so like what Uncle Yabai said, the key word is "demand".

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          I think that's exactly what I try to say :)

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            That is in line with my thinking. I have paid 15,000 for good tempura, and yes, it would be the "very best", but somehow I don't find it to be that much better than, say, 5,000 tempura, so I will only do that selectively. The same applies to things like unagi. Unagi can only be so good, and doubling the price doesn't do much for me once you've reached the top end of the market.

                            For sushi, there is clearly to me a difference between 5,000 sushi and 20,000 sushi and I will pay the higher amount. On the other hand, some of the 20K places are mobbed and have great following, while other places in the same price range cater to a much smaller following, even though in my view they are at least comparable. The information differential results in a very unbalanced market which I find puzzling.

                          2. re: skylineR33

                            That review from Tomosato is pretty damning. In particular I was struck by the fact that it was fully "booked" for a month in advance, but he was able to get reservations for the same day, and then it was just him and a few other people. And that he was out of there in 20 minutes, effectively paying 90,000 per hour to eat there.

                            I tolerate a certain haughtiness and "my way or the highway" in top-end sushi chefs if they deliver the goods, but this is extreme. Doesn't sound like I'd want to try it.

                    2. re: skylineR33

                      I think tempura is a good option for that price. As for French, you could try lunch instead at the highly regarded restaurants on this board. Pierre Gagnaire (2-star) has a really wonderful lunch menu. With wine it came to about 100pp.

            2. How about the Ukai Toriyama? Eat well in one of the loveliest settings, even if it is only a few years old. Not too expensive, either.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Thanks for the great recommendations everyone! I will definitely be checking out the lunch at Fukamachi and Yamanoue. And I checked out Ukai Toriyama's website and it does look spectacular. It's a little bit out of the way for what I'm looking, but I will definitely consider it. Thanks again! And keep posting if more ideas come to mind :)

              2. chez tomo is a 1 michelin star french restaurant... seems pretty interesting with their array of vegetables in 1 plate...also very cheap less than 3000 yen for lunch..

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lucil

                  Chez Tomo is RIDICULOUSLY good value. Dinner (6 courses) is 5,700 Yen or so. The food is very good, especially the blood pudding is by far (as in, No. 2 was a planet away) the best I have ever had. A very snooty Japanese Maitre d', pretentious and arrogant, but worth the food and the value.