Please Critique my Ginza Choices
Since our hotel is located in Ginza and since we'll be putting in a full day touring, we're only considering dinners at restaurants within 15-20 minutes walk from our hotel. I'd appreciate some feedback on my list of resturants.
We're interested in keeping the cost per person in the 60 -- 75 USD (5,400 -- 6,700 JPY) range except for our Saturday meal. (Admittedly un-Chowworthy, but our desire to tour will take priority over the cost-effective option of eating lunch at some of Tokyo's best restaurants.)
Friday: Oshima (Kaga Kaiseki)
Saturday: Michiba or Nagamine (vegetable/fish/meat option) or Argento Aso
Ginza Koju (Saturday night splurge)
Tsuki no Shizuku
FWIW, we'll also be visiting Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Okinawa. We'll be eating eel in Hiroshima. Our meals in our other two destinations are still a work in progress.
They look like good choices, so just a few comments. Birdland is a great choice for top-quality yakitori in the neighborhood, and it has a nice atmosphere. Hakobune Chuo-dori is great if you love sake; on the minus side the meal takes a long time, and you're sitting in a private room away from the crowds, so you have to bring your own atmosphere. Maybe not ideal after a tiring day of touring, or maybe just what you want. (By contrast, I thought their branch in Shimbashi a few minutes away had a bit too much atmosphere....)
I love Nagamine (as I've posted elsewhere) and the meal moves along at a good pace. Tsuki no Shizuku might not be my very top choice for food (although it's generally pretty good) but the fun atmosphere makes up for it.
re: Robb S
Thanks for this personal perspective; you canot imagine how meaningful a pleasant, normal topic is at the moment. We're on track to receive 24" of snow with blizzard-level winds, a storm of historic dimensions for the Washington, DC area. Planning for our upcoming trip is really helping me cope with the grind of shoveling and worrying if the power will stay on. So, all you kind-hearted Chowhounders, please keep those comments coming! Thanks in advance.
re: Robb S
Well, we've made it through the first half of the storm still keeping light and power, but conditions are expected to deteriorate significantly today. Therefore, I'm writing with a follow-up while I can.
I began reading the Japan board around the time when someone started a thread about the subtle delights of Japanese kaiseki cuisine. My follow-up questions are these: Which of the restaurants on my list features that type of minimal, "clean-flavor" cooking? If you had to choose a list that offers a variety of styles of Japanese cooking, which would you choose? (Yes, I really do know that Aso is a ringer in my list. We simply don't get authentic Italian food at home and since this is our off-year for travel to Italy, I'm always looking for good Italian elsewhere.)
I've brought up Chunagon before as a favorite place of mine. One of their two Tokyo branches happen to be in Ginza and they specialize in Ise-ebi (Japanese lobsters). They cook lobsters in sort of a Japanese way and you simply won't get that kind of food in America. Although I love this place, another Chowhounder felt that it was nothing special... just so you have multiple perspectives.
This place is expensive for dinner. But they have some affordable lunch courses. The one I usually get is the cheapest but it's the best bang for the buck and it's actually the one I prefer the most. It's an 8-course lunch special called "Ikoi" and it's 3999yen (tax included). It comes with this amazing lobster salad, lobster cream croquette, lobster miso soup, etc.)
(Ikoi is the very last picture
Again, I caution you that one other chowhounder felt this place wasn't anything special, although I personally love it. Also, while this place has spacious tables, nice tablecloths, attentive service, etc, etc, it's not a place with happening ambiance or great views or anything like that. But if you love lobsters like me, then I think you should try this place esp if you're going to be staying in Ginza.
To get there, for orientation purposes, maybe it's best if you first enter the Ginza subway station. The restaurant is near the station's exit A5. So go to the station, follow the sign for exit A5. A5 exit will spit you out at the intersection of Chuo-Dori and Harumi-Dori streets. Walk down Harumi-Dori, staying on the same side of the street, away from the intersection. Take the 1st right onto a small sidestreet, and Chunagon will be down on your left. Maybe you can ask your hotel concierge to reserve (tel# 03-3571-7121). Also I'm sure the concierge can help you with directions, if the above is too complicated.
Other than Chunagon, I think you should check out the basement (B2) level of Mitsukoshi department store. As do many big Tokyo department stores, Mitsukoshi has a basement section featuring many different delis that sell all kinds of gourmet take-away food, ranging from gourmet salads to fresh fruits to fried items to bentos and pasta. Actually, department stores in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro have much bigger deli sections, but I think Mitsukoshi may have the best choices among the Ginza department stores.