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京味 (きょうあじ)-any review

FourSeasons Mar 12, 2009 11:25 PM

京味, a kaiseki place, has been ranked no. 1 at Tabelog.com under the category of 日本料理 in Tokyo. The owner chef reportedly turned down a listing on Michelin Guide because he does not speak English so he felt he will not be able to serve the tourist market well. Just wonder if anyone who has tried this place kindly provide any review since I am wondering if I should include this place for my next visit? Advanced thanks for any reply.

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  1. kamiosaki RE: FourSeasons Mar 13, 2009 04:24 AM

    > The owner chef reportedly turned down a listing on Michelin Guide
    > because he does not speak English so he felt he will not be able
    > to serve the tourist market well

    I'm curious where you heard/saw this - do you have a link? (Japanese is OK)

    21 Replies
    1. re: kamiosaki
      FourSeasons RE: kamiosaki Mar 13, 2009 08:03 AM

      It is from a Taiwanese article, courtesy from fellow hound Lucil on SIngapore Board. Hope you can read Chinese : http://news.sina.com.tw/magazine/arti...

      1. re: FourSeasons
        kamiosaki RE: FourSeasons Mar 13, 2009 04:58 PM

        Thanks. Nope, (other than picking out some similar kanji) I can't read Chinese - but I can get it translated one way or another.

      2. re: kamiosaki
        Notorious P.I.G. RE: kamiosaki Mar 13, 2009 07:47 PM

        There are a lot of great restaurants with restaurant owners that share that view. A lot of them are also of the opinion that they don't want foreigners coming to the restaurant for fear of alienating their regular customers. There's also the obvious one throughout the industry that Michelin's judges don't know the japanese people or their cuisine.

        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
          t
          tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Mar 13, 2009 09:15 PM

          This year's Japanese Michelin guide inspectors were mostly Japanese.

          1. re: tjr
            Notorious P.I.G. RE: tjr Mar 13, 2009 09:23 PM

            Yeah, but do you think that changed the perception of the Michelin Guide among Restaurateurs and patrons who where against it? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm genuinely interested in your opinion.

            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
              skylineR33 RE: Notorious P.I.G. Mar 13, 2009 10:03 PM

              I am not sure about Japan, but in HK, local do not use the HK Michelin guide to search for good eat, it is basically a guide for tourist, which is what it is supposed to be.

              1. re: skylineR33
                t
                tjr RE: skylineR33 Mar 14, 2009 10:05 AM

                In Japan the Michelin guide sells very well, and sites like Tabelog embraced it, adding a section for Michelin-starred restaurants. I think that having nearly all Japanese inspectors this time around gives a lot of validity to the accuracy of Michelin's rankings -- Japanese palates, and people who know the people and the cuisine agree. This did a lot to quiet the kind of opponents who said that Westerners could not possibly understand Japanese cuisine. The same cannot be said for the HK ratings...

                Nothing is going to change the minds of restaurateurs or patrons opposing the guide -- I don't think they oppose it because it represents some sort of Western cultural colonization; I think they oppose it for the reasons you say (mainly xenophobic, though inability to provide proper service to patrons is certainly a valid reason to not want someone in your restaurant).

                1. re: tjr
                  Notorious P.I.G. RE: tjr Mar 14, 2009 01:40 PM

                  True enough. I'm sure it has a market and does well in Japan.

                  I only speak from experience being on both sides of the debate as one who likes to check out restaurants on the Michelin list while also having family in the sort of locals only demographic of restaurants there. The family definitely doesn't think much of the places on that list and definitely can't figure out why some of those restaurants got stars. Also, the biggest thing to them was the underlying aspect of the guide actually putting a ranking on a restaurant which sort of alludes to bragging and installing a system where the public can judge and compare restaurants as on par or sub par to such and such establishment. Which are both very looked down on in japanese society.

                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                    t
                    tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Mar 14, 2009 03:25 PM

                    I can see that too; most of my friends thought it was great (maybe more out of nationalistic sentiment); I don't think they have much of a problem though, since most use things like Tabelog. I can see that older people might find it to be a faux pas.

                    Then again, there are some Tabelog favourites that I really wouldn't see as scoring as highly as they do.

                    1. re: tjr
                      FourSeasons RE: tjr Mar 14, 2009 09:31 PM

                      While all of you are arguing if Michelin guide is valid or not, I found out why 京味 does not even need the listing in Michelin Guide. With Japan's GDP plummet in 4th Quarter 08 at annual pace of -12%, there seem to be hardly any impact on its business since it is fully booked till end of May. You need to make 3 months advanced reservation even under such depressed economic climate. They don't need Michelin's promotion at all.

                      1. re: FourSeasons
                        skylineR33 RE: FourSeasons Mar 14, 2009 10:09 PM

                        That's why I say local do not really search good eat based on Michelin.

                        1. re: FourSeasons
                          Notorious P.I.G. RE: FourSeasons Mar 14, 2009 10:11 PM

                          Nobody's arguing here. Just having a little discussion. You could also say that about most popular restaurants in Japan under this economic climate. They just don't seem to show any signs of a profit loss.

                          So, most importantly have you booked your reservation there?

                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                            FourSeasons RE: Notorious P.I.G. Mar 14, 2009 10:17 PM

                            My schedule is not fixed yet. That is why I am doing the "research" to discover new places.

                            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                              t
                              tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Mar 14, 2009 11:05 PM

                              Agreed; I'm pretty sure, if anything, that it isn't an argument and more of a friendly exchange. Quintessence still has their standard reservation scheme, and any restaurants I've been to since the recession appeared have been pretty much unaffected. Maybe behind the scenes, but if you look at other places (like Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in the UK), you'd think that most upscale restaurants in Japan are riding a wave of success still.

                              Locals already know that Robuchon serves great French, or that Mizutani serves good sushi. People in Paris know where to eat as well, but someone is still buying Michelin guides there too...

                              1. re: tjr
                                skylineR33 RE: tjr Mar 14, 2009 11:23 PM

                                Yes, people still buying Michelin guide to see what the big fuss about it and compare to their favourite restaurants, at the end, it is not a expensive book. Most of my friend do that.

                                1. re: skylineR33
                                  FourSeasons RE: skylineR33 Mar 14, 2009 11:41 PM

                                  The reasons why I think Michelin is still a big fuss:
                                  1. It is a brand name, it is one that many have followed for decades;
                                  2. It has an impact on the business of the restaurants. Many reported that business improved after they are included in the list.
                                  3. While tabelog or other websites are about popularity contest by amateurs, Michelin restaurants are rated by professionally trained food critics, who are supposed to have higher sense of food knowledge than the public.
                                  4. It is also an ego contests for the chef owners.
                                  5. It is good for tourists and corporate markets. While many locals know about Tabelog or other sites, few tourists know about it or able to read the comments. And it is always more prestige to bring business visitors to a Michelin rated places.

                                  1. re: FourSeasons
                                    t
                                    tjr RE: FourSeasons Mar 15, 2009 01:27 AM

                                    I think these are important points too, especially in Japan (brand names, popularity, etc.)

                                    1. re: FourSeasons
                                      skylineR33 RE: FourSeasons Mar 15, 2009 08:31 AM

                                      Hi Fourseason,

                                      Agree all your point especially the economic point of view. At the end, Michelin is also a profit organization.

                                  2. re: tjr
                                    u
                                    Uncle Yabai RE: tjr Mar 15, 2009 12:36 AM

                                    Tell me about it. I was looking forward to a nice lunch today at Benoit, and the place was an absolute mob scene. Last time I was there (a couple of months back) it was 1/3 full at best. Auntie Yabai suggested a couple of days ago that we make reservations, and I said naah. I am still eating my words as lunch.

                2. re: kamiosaki
                  l
                  Lucil RE: kamiosaki Mar 15, 2009 06:49 AM

                  i duno would this link be of any help to u kamiosaki.. its a japanese review of kyoaji, and it says something like rejected 3 stars michelin in its topic..
                  http://tomosatoyuya.moura.jp/?p=96

                  1. re: Lucil
                    kamiosaki RE: Lucil Mar 16, 2009 03:20 AM

                    Thank you for taking the time to post this link, Lucil. I'll take a look at it.

                3. l
                  Lucil RE: FourSeasons Mar 15, 2009 06:47 AM

                  too much talking.. we need some foreigner reviews on this restaurant...

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