Shiroganeya: Grilled fish lunch for $8
From what I gather, many hounders on this board have dining budget that far exceeds mine. When in Tokyo, I normally don't spend more than $50 a day on three meals and I think I eat quite well.
On my last trip, I had one particularly memorable lunch and I don't think I paid more than 800 yen. I found this restaurant on the way to the Shinjuku station from our apartment. When I saw that men in suits and ties were standing in line, I knew it couldn't be that bad.
From there on, it was just love at first sight and bite, so to speak. The young man who runs the place (I think he's the owner) is very funny and personable. And the food? I can't stop thinking/obsessing about how tasty everything was and you can tell from this blog entry that I'm not the only one (warning: contains food porn):
Here is another review with a pic of their menu:
The reviewer comments that:
"スンゴク旨いんですけど、言葉がでないんですけど、料理人さんをお呼びして抱きしめたいくらいなんですけど" (It was so good, I was left speechless. I wanted the chef to come to my table so I could give him a hug).
If you are in Shinjuku area or even if you are not, try this place. You won't be sorry. I know I'm going back there for dinner next time.
Hmmmm. I'm afraid I don't know if I can get back there without a map since I was quite lost as I tend to always be in and around Shinjuku.
But the good news is, there is another branch called Koganeya owned by the same people that is much easier to find:
If you get out of the main west exit at the Shinjuku station, you simply keep on walking down the main street (Otakibashi) on the left hand side. You'll see/smell the place after say 3 minutes. That street btw is a gold mine for ramen and another cheap eats.
For lunch, I'd think it'd be fairly simple since they only have set lunch menu. They have fish displayed outside so you could point to what you want and ask for "kono (this) sakana (fish) no teishoku (lunch menu)." My friend loved her salmon but it that it got too heavy midway through. I was quite please with my mackerel (saba).
If you want to sit and order from the menu during dinner, that might be a bit difficult. Kogene's menu is online here in Japanese:
If anyone is interested, I can translate the menu (not to perfection but enough to be understood) but the problem is, you'll miss out on their daily specials. What sounds especially appealing to me from the menu are these items:
maguro no torosuji aburi
(lightly) grilled fatty tuna tendon?
naganegi no ippon yaki
grilled whole long (green) onion
himono maze gohan
rice mixed with dried fish
Just thinking about this is making me wish I were in Tokyo. I know I've only mentioned fish so far but they also serve pork and (uncooked) chicken.
Whoops. Sorry for all the typos on my previous post. Obviously, I wasn't paying attention. :P
theolee, where are you going? I'm more of a Kyoto specialist and was raised to believe that it's the only "civilized" city in Japan. Nonetheless, I am having a lot of fun discovering Tokyo.
The only other place that stood out during my last trip was a Hiroshima-yaki restaurant called Hiroshi in Shimokitazawa. There was no sign outside so I had a hard time finding it but once we got there, we had to wait for a table despite our early arrival (6:00pm) and by the time we left, there was a line outside. I thought their Hiroshima-yaki was better than anything I've had in Hiroshima and their seafood teppan dishes had interesting twists without becoming too gimmicky. With drinks and enough food to feed three hungry people, our bill was less than $50.
My next mission is to find a good soba place!
We'll be in Tokyo for 9 days mid-June. I'm not that well-versed when it comes to Japanese cuisine but I just love to eat good tasting food! With the help of chowhounders, and some internet scrounging, I think we should be able to get to some decent places. In particular, I'm looking forward to eating many bowls of authentic japanese noodles, ramen, soba, udon...all of it! Thanks for all your help.