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Aug 6, 2011 02:14 PM

Koju is now Ginza Okuda?

I was looking at Koju's website and there's information about a new restaurant of chef Toru Okuda, called Ginza Okuda. Is he closing Koju? The new restaurant is supposed to open on August 8, from what I understand.

Does anoyone know anything about this? I'm planning to go to Koju in early october.

Koju's website doesn't display right here

The new one:

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  1. Kaiseki Koju is not closing, and the new kaiseki, established by Okudasan is 2 blocks from Koju location... but but even Koju will have captive clients thanks to the 3 stars gained by the master who 'give power to ingredients'. With a description like this, wouldn't you want to dine at his new place ?

    17 Replies
    1. re: Ninisix

      But how is Okuda-san supposed to serve both restaurants? What's the official one? If I book at Koju, as I plan to do, I'd like to see the owner chef cooking.

      Thanks for the info!

      1. re: babreu

        There's a review on Tabelog already, and it mentions Okuda-san as the chef behind the counter. So, who's in charge of Koju now?

        1. re: babreu

          In fact, and as specified on the below blog, Okuda-san will be at his new kaiseki Okuda Ginza at lunch time, and for diner at Koju.

          1. re: Ninisix

            Thanks Ninisix! The menu at the new restaurant looks exactly the same as Koju's. And it looks like a very short kaiseki, going from soup to sashimi course and then straight to rice.

            1. re: babreu

              The 'Ichijiru-sansai' (=one soup and three dishes) as basically is simple kaiseki. In this review, the blogger had some sashimi(otsukuri), grilled eggplant with sea urchin(yakimono), prawn shinju(owan), rice and soup. Usually, in this kind of simple menu, there is open possibilities for one or two complement dishes. Sure, it will depend on the supplement price ! As it was not mentioned, it will be better to wait.

            2. re: Ninisix

              It does seem a bit odd. So far there are only a few posts about Ginza Okuda on tabelog, not terribly positive but a couple are just complaining about prices, so I don't know if they're to be taken seriously.

              Is it the case that Okuda-san owns his new place but not Koju?

              1. re: QdeBro

                The food looks exactly the same in both restaurants. Tabelog is a good reference, but the ranking system is, obviously, flawed.

                I have no idea why he decided to open a new restaurant to serve the same food. He said he goes there for lunch and then ride his bike to Koju to prepare dinner.

                1. re: babreu

                  Nothing wrong absolutely, just in reference of the kaiseki. In his domain, his creation, it will be unfair to say that the lunch menu at Okuda Ginza will not worth it.
                  The quality of the food, the location make you think that yes here is the experience !!!
                  The first price at Koju is at 14700.-yens, the lunch at Okuda Ginza is at 10000.-yens less 2 dishes...For example, I did enjoyed the 3 stars Restaurant L'Ambroisie in Paris and can not compare to any other restaurant or any '3 stars'..

                  1. re: Ninisix

                    this blogger: (sorry, site is currently down.
                    )has called koju the l'ambroisie of japan, presumably meaning the best and most traditional. I'm inclined to think he doesn't really know what he's talking about in this case. Any thoughts Ninisix?

                    1. re: Dustin_E

                      Having eaten many times at L'Ambroisie and once at Koju the analogy eludes me, it sounds like something Vedat would say having eaten at three or four places in Japan.

                      Regardless, It is an incredibly good restaurant and I'm looking forward to eating there again.

                      edit: ah, here it is - he means the great ingredients and harmony in dish composition. Yes, both restaurants use great ingredients to create great dishes :)

                      "...That is to say, Okuda-san, not unlike the great Pacaud of L’Ambroisie, is a true perfectionist who selects the best seasonal ingredients and calibrates complementary and contrasting elements to create incredible harmony. He does not follow any fad or trend and he crafts each dish to please both the eye and the taste buds. His meals typically consists of six courses which follow a well thought out sequence. This is certainly one of the best tables in the world..."

                      1. re: QdeBro

                        Never found a more high level than kaiseki in japan, still not as the top luxurious french restaurant L'Ambroisie! 
                        This topic is a good occasion to compare the 3 stars in France and in Japan, does the concern is only price vs quality, or something less materiel ? L'Ambroisie is very very expensive(=no course), i have had the best : the roast chicken, two dishes of it exactly ! Chef Pacaud put his soul/his strength in the food, as Okuda-San.. A meal is also the balance, the skills, the ingredients especially arranged in a way that give the experience,... and in France the ability to choice between different appetizer, main dishes, cheese, dessert,.. 
                        I have to say that Okuda-San did challenge himself, and the research for good products and excellency are hard work...    
                        IMHO French culinary is way broader, and 3 stars in France offer a deeper experience than the one i tried in Japan. Yes yes, it is possible to get good service in France !!!

                        1. re: Ninisix

                          This is all true. But if someone eats in a few places once and doesn't speak the language then it's a very strong statement to make :)

                          Maybe after eating in Japan for a few years and getting to speak Japanese well enough to interact with restaurants the same way I can interact with the team at L'Ambroisie I would be in a position to judge if there's anything to the statement other than the fact both are excellent restaurants, or maybe Vedat will read this and tell us what he meant.

                          1. re: QdeBro

                            Hope to have not put you off some great opportunities in the 3 stars in Japan. My best one in japan is Sukiyabashi Jiro, as the restaurant l'Ambroisie (price, introduction), it is not on the top of the chowhounder's gang !    

                            1. re: Ninisix

                              haha, no, you haven't turned me off of three stars in japan. i'm more generally interested in whether the best in japan can be found in the 3-star category, or whether the best are scattered among various two-, one-, and no-stared places. i'm getting the feeling it is the latter.

                              I'm also interested in whether there are places in japan that are considered "in a league of their own", or "unofficial four-star places", similar to how ambroisie and arpege are sometimes viewed in paris. I get the feeling that there probably are, but they aren't necessarily the 3-star places.

                              do you have a non-sushi favorite?

                              1. re: Dustin_E

                                Except the fish, here a list of the miso base food that I enjoy : misozuke pork cutlet, misozuke salmon, miso soup, grilled cheese and miso, miso-ni (meat, fish, vegetable cooked with miso), miso ramen,... 
                                After in your 3 days 3 nights trip, if you can take on your return back home the plane from Osaka, I really recommend you to stay one night in a bouddhist temple in Koya-san(shojin ryori). This is a kind of 'chateau hotel' ! 

                                1. re: Ninisix

                                  but when it comes to fish, you prefer your fish in sushi form, rather than in kaiseki-form?

                                  1. re: Dustin_E

                                    Yes, after you take a tour on sushi-yasan, you find out they are so much difference between shops that you can`t stop it. Spotting the best places is fun, and sometimes, you have surprises, like this one in Shibuya that is hiding in front of the masses.  His nigiri`balls are round, high and have the form of his 3 fingers ! Yes, the chef has some specialities like the negi-maguro with maguro slice(=double maguro!)... 
                                    These little shop, little taste of something special make you want to look for again. But right now, I limit my budget per month to about 2 sushis, so that I will be able to afford a new 3 stars sushi soon..

      2. Ginza Okuda received two Michelin stars in the 2012 guide, so Tooru Okuda now has five stars!

        1 Reply
        1. re: babreu

          I went for lunch. It was a great meal and a great deal.