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Sushi Saito in Tokyo for lunch or other sushi places in Tokyo for $50-75pp?

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v1cky84 Feb 16, 2012 08:45 AM

Hi Chowhounders,

I've started being a lurker recently when I began planning my trip to Japan at the end of May. I've read a lot of good reviews on Sushi Saito and further research showed that the restaurant has lunch set price at 5500JPY per person. Is that true? I wish my budget allows me to eat at Sawada but that's not possible at the moment. All I can afford for one expensive sushi meal would be anywhere from $50-75pp and it seems like the lunch menu would be more affordable than dinner menu at the expensive restaurants. Also, do I need to make reservation for lunch in advance? Is there a minimum price requirement for reservations at Sushi Saito? Any recommendation for other sushi restaurants in that price range just in case if Sushi Saito is booked?
I'd appreciate your feedback. Many thanks in advance :)

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    akated RE: v1cky84 Feb 16, 2012 08:11 PM

    i called on the 2nd of february for a lunch reservation in march, only to be informed that they are fully booked for the month of march (i understood from an earlier phone call to them in january that you can only make reservations 2 months in advance, starting on the 1st of every month). so yes; you will probably need to make a reservation for lunch at saito, unless you are prepared to wing it and hope that someone will cancel his/her reservation.

    in any case, i think it was mentioned on these boards that the 5500 set is nowhere as brilliant as the 20000+ yen omakase. so you might want to take that into consideration when choosing a lunch place (i.e. don't be too despondent if you can't get a seat).

    Ninisix has mentioned quite a number of sushi places for lunch that will fit your budget in many previous posts, so you might want to search for them.

    36 Replies
    1. re: akated
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      v1cky84 RE: akated Feb 16, 2012 09:31 PM

      Thank you for your response akated. I'll do some more research on the 5500 set at Sushi Saito. How about Sushi Kyubey lunch set? Thank you for telling me about Ninisix's sushi places for lunch. I'll read through them to find recommendations.

      1. re: v1cky84
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        Ninisix RE: v1cky84 Feb 17, 2012 02:20 AM

        You can have a max(!) choice on sushi at lunch on the price range.. For exemple, with one Michelin star, and on Kanesaka group, the one i recommend over Kanesaka or Sushi Mao is sushi Iwa, lunch omakase starts at 4500.-yens second one at 7500.-yens... after another one star sushi affordable at lunch will be sushi Shimizu in Shimbashi at 5500yens or 8500yens.. After Sushi Kyubei, in Ginza, is a big 5 floor sushi, and referee by the owner who became famous, but style will be quite impersonal in compare to the intimate seating you can have in small and traditional sushi places.. 

        1. re: Ninisix
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          v1cky84 RE: Ninisix Feb 17, 2012 11:11 AM

          Thank you for your response Ninisix. I think I'm gonna have my hotel concierge call & make reservation for me. How far in advance should I reserve Sushi Shimizu or Sushi Iwa? Also I found the reviews on tablelog using google translation but I want to make sure that it's the right restaurant. Do you mind confirming it for me?
          Sushi Iwa http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130...
          Sushi Shimizu http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130...
          Thank you so much :)

          1. re: v1cky84
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            Ninisix RE: v1cky84 Feb 19, 2012 08:22 PM

            The links are correct, sushi Iwa is a small L counter with only 7 seatings..and Sushi Shimizu I will recommend it also at lunch, but it is very difficult to find, so it will be better to print the map as the alley where is located is very small..

            1. re: Ninisix
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              v1cky84 RE: Ninisix Feb 20, 2012 06:43 PM

              Thank you for the tip Ninisix. I was looking at google street view and it seems like in order to get to Sushi Shimizu, I have to go into the alley between a restaurant and "Tokyo Bunnix"? Is that correct? What's the easiest way to get there from the Shimbashi station? Thank you so much for your help.

              1. re: v1cky84
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                Ninisix RE: v1cky84 Feb 21, 2012 05:16 AM

                At Shimbashi station, take the Karasumori exit, take the large street in front of you with Top's mark (on left side of the street, a large sign on top of a building). Go straight (cross one large street) until you reach a 'cafe de crie' (on right side), you turn on your right before that cafe, then take the narrow alley on your right before a shop 'Golf Do'. Your sushi 'Simizu' is on the right side of that small alley, with white wood mark..

                1. re: Ninisix
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                  v1cky84 RE: Ninisix Feb 21, 2012 11:04 AM

                  Thank you so much Ninisix. I really appreciate your help. My husband and I will be there in May so I'll let you know how it goes. :)

                  1. re: v1cky84
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                    v1cky84 RE: v1cky84 Feb 22, 2012 09:31 PM

                    I requested my hotel concierge to reserve sushi Shimizu for me but the concierge was told that the restaurant only takes reservation on the day of :(
                    The restaurant also told her that they don't have an English menu (which I expected...not a problem) so I'm assuming the 8500 yen menu is an omakase lunch set menu, right? Would I be okay if I just say hachi dai oyaku yen omakase chushoku?
                    I hope they will have seats available on the day that we plan to go there. Thanks again.

                    1. re: v1cky84
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                      Ninisix RE: v1cky84 Feb 23, 2012 01:44 AM

                      reservation on last day works, that is what I sometimes do ... I think you can ask in English for the omakase at 8500.-yens. if not, in Japanese, it will be 'hasen gohyaku en no omakase o onegaishimasu'. If you want a supplement, ask for the 'ni-iki (boiled squid)' or 'uni (sea urchin)'... supplement was not as expensive as at other sushi-yasan i have experienced.. Don't worry to be lost in translation, they are very nice... and there is a nice smiling girl assistant..      

                      1. re: Ninisix
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                        v1cky84 RE: Ninisix Feb 23, 2012 01:11 PM

                        You are so awesome Ninisix. Thank you so much for your help. :)

                        1. re: v1cky84
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                          Hanare RE: v1cky84 Nov 4, 2012 01:22 AM

                          V1cky84,how was the 8500 yen lunch at Shimizu?Apart from the quality of the sushi,how was the atmosphere and was any English spoken?

                        2. re: Ninisix
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                          dwellyn RE: Ninisix May 14, 2014 02:01 AM

                          Ninisix - read thru a ton of your content on chow.com. Looking to book a place for lunch on a monday, and most of the places you recommended, eg. shimizu, taichi are closed on mondays.

                          iwa is open but was wondering if there were others choices i could fall back on.

                          p.s i registered on the site just to be able to contact you !

                          1. re: dwellyn
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                            Ninisix RE: dwellyn May 14, 2014 08:04 PM

                            Oh thank you, I feel honored ! Sushi Iwa is a good choice, on week days it is easier to reserve, but on week end it got impossible !
                            Just be careful to choose the menu appropriatly, and avoid ordering supplements, as each piece ordered over the menu is expensive !
                            Recently, I went back to sushi Ikkyu on the 4th floor of Barney's Ginza. So if you want some different nigiri, with still some classic orthodox pieces, that is the place to choose, there also a choice of 2 menu at lunch for nigiri. Again avoid supplement !!
                            Sushi Iwa is a real modern Edo Mae style, and I am sure you will enjoy it ! Sushi Taichi told me that it is difficult to manage all the foreigners each day, so he's accepting only persons who will have ability to speak Japanese right now. Go to sushi Iwa and please report about it !

                            1. re: Ninisix
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                              tigerjohn RE: Ninisix May 14, 2014 09:45 PM

                              Ninisix,

                              I am curious about "foreigner management" as we've never had a problem anywhere despite speaking no Japanese (even visiting Sushi taichi awhile ago). Where do the problems occur: reservations, ordering menus, ordering drinks, ordering supplements, complaints, foreigner decorum, change in atmosphere for local diners?

                              We have our concierge book the time, seats and menu and order off of the drinks menu by pointing. No issues, sushi or otherwise.

                              Just wondering what the problems are which caused him to toward his current policy.

                              Thanks.

                              1. re: tigerjohn
                                wekabeka RE: tigerjohn May 14, 2014 11:40 PM

                                I was dining with Ninisix the day that Ishikawa-san talked about the difficulty he was having managing the number of non-Japanese speaking customers that had been coming to Taichi. In all honesty, the issue was not the manners of the guests, but rather his desire to serve regular customers who have supported him through the years, not one-time visitors. He enjoys the rapport that a sushi chef develops with his regulars, and creating harmony along the counter - tailoring & balancing each course to his guests preferences. He also said he struggles to focus when having to switch between languages. Ishikawa-san welcomes foreign customers, but for the harmony of the collective experience he would prefer Japanese speaking guests. His comments were not xenophonic, but heartfelt. We could tell that he had been struggling with this issue for a while, because he talked at length with us about it - until long after service had finished, in fact. He said he didn't want to have to become introduction only, so asked us to share with Chowhounder's (as most guests quoted Chow as their source) this rule of engagement.
                                I would suggest we all respect his request.

                                1. re: wekabeka
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                                  tigerjohn RE: wekabeka May 15, 2014 04:33 AM

                                  I understand his sentiments. There are some restaurants where we don't invite our foreign friends along as we feel it would disrupt the atmosphere too much for other diners, no matter how courteous the foreign guests are (ourselves included) and even thought the chef would be welcoming and would never say anything.

                              2. re: Ninisix
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                                dwellyn RE: Ninisix May 16, 2014 02:48 AM

                                Thanks for the reply. Managed to make a booking at Iwa. Not many other choices for a monday.

                                1. re: Ninisix
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                                  dwellyn RE: Ninisix Jun 2, 2014 07:14 AM

                                  had lunch there today. the chef had masterful technique in making each piece and the fish were all marinated very well.

                                  thanks for the great suggestion

                                  1. re: dwellyn
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                                    Ninisix RE: dwellyn Jun 3, 2014 06:09 PM

                                    Thank you, I want to go !!Week ends are a key time for having some good sushi, but unfortunately, sushi Iwa is now difficult to book, so I have to wait until summer time holiday

                                    1. re: Ninisix
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                                      senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 4, 2014 03:48 PM

                                      Hi Ninisix,almost every post I read regarding you. seems you are the master in sushi restaurant. look if I can ask your opinion im travelling to japan early july . my hotel concierge couldn't get booking for jiro and saito. its so dissapointing. this is my first trip to japan and want to experienced best sushi. what do you recommend? the booking I can get is sushi iwa at the moment. but I really need one more for a first time experience.

                                      1. re: senvie84
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                                        Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 4, 2014 06:52 PM

                                        At sushi Iwa choose carefully the menu at lunch, the supplement pieces are very expensive and can jump your menu to a diner course price easily.. If you are after lunch affordable price, and want some explanation in English sushi ko honten Ginza have a menu at lunch under 10,000yens, ask if Sugiyama San the 4th generation is there in the 2nd floor, with his choice of thick fat maguro, that envelop powerful will be a real pleasure.. but be sure Sugiyama San is there

                                        1. re: Ninisix
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                                          senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 4, 2014 07:05 PM

                                          hi ninisix. thank you so much for your reply. so if I see your recommendation over sushi iwa is better for dinner time? can I ask if you can have dinner menu in lunch time? thank you!

                                          1. re: senvie84
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                                            Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 4, 2014 10:47 PM

                                            At lunch, there are two courses, 4,860(tax included) and 8,640(12 nigiris - tax included). For dinner, usually, the full omakase is at 21,000yens(before tax), but you can ask for 'nigiri only' set, it is around 18,000yens(18 nigiris, one maki), copious and with a wide range from white kombu shime white neta to uni anago. Lunch at 8,640yems is usually my choice when I go there for lunch. But if you order extra pieces, understand each piece might be 2000yens or higher, depending on the 'jika (price of season).

                                            1. re: Ninisix
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                                              senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 5, 2014 12:02 AM

                                              ninisix thank you so much for being very helpful! ok will go to sushi iwa the 8640 yen lunch set as from what I can umderatand maybe im wrong I cant have the 18000 yen nigiri set in lunch time right? anyway so I have to ask opinion with the sushi place below. I dont mind paying because I really want to eat the nice one. As I tried to booked in Jiro and Saito but no luck! btw is there any waiting list for jiro or saito? anyway this is the alternative after hours of researching.but I still cant make up my mind and times running out. ohhhhhh...
                                              Sushisho Masa
                                              Sushi Mizutani
                                              Sushi Sho
                                              Sushi Ko Honten Ginza
                                              Sushi Harutaka
                                              Sushi jiro ropongi
                                              I dont know what to say to say thank you on your comment! I never asked for review until I read on how good you are! anyway Thank you anyway!

                                              1. re: senvie84
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                                                Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 01:31 AM

                                                Well, for sushi Jiro style, I definitely recommend you sushi Harutaka, more approachable than sushi Mizutani, or sushi Jiroo Roppongi that can be too chaotic ! Sushiko honten Ginza, don’t mistake it with sushiko honten Marunouchi, is where the chef Sugiyama is. The condiments added and the maguro's fattiness provide a nice sensation to his sushi. This is a variety of style also found at sushiko, and worth knowing. Sushi Sho has many fans, the main branch is sushi sho Yotsuya, and this is the one I recommend if you’re interested of this kind of alternance of nigiri/sashimi,.. serving order, and nigiri at 'half size' go rather well with sake. Recently, sushi sho shingo, by sticking to sushi sho roots style, is getting famous.

                                                1. re: Ninisix
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                                                  senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 5, 2014 01:58 AM

                                                  thank you so much!!!

                                                  1. re: senvie84
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                                                    senvie84 RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 04:01 AM

                                                    sorry for asking question. so the above sushi place you can get 5 types of maguro? because I saw your post in sushi yoshitake you order supplement of 5 types if maguro which is very tempting! just want to know where to eat the best and excellent quality 5 types of maguro? dont mind paying if its really nice!Thanks alot

                                                    1. re: senvie84
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                                                      Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 06:46 PM

                                                      Good point, this is the place to ask for the 'maguro special'. Ask your hotel to confirm it for you, so you will have an idea about the price !!

                                                      1. re: senvie84
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                                                        CaLBeaR1227 RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 07:20 PM

                                                        Agree that if you want Jiro style, go to Harutaka or Jiro Roppongi. Mizutani is like Jiro style, but I find he also has a bit of style of his own too.Sushisho style, the main one at Yotsuya you could try, as well as Sushisho Masa who gives you a lot of food. For different style of maguro and uni, I like Sawada.

                                                2. re: Ninisix
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                                                  senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 5, 2014 06:45 AM

                                                  if you dont mind answering, what are the 6 nigiris that is missing on the lunch 8640 compare to the 18000? so is it possible to have the 18000 menu in lunch time or it must be in dinner time?as i cant go for dinner for sushi.

                                                  1. re: senvie84
                                                    killersmile RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 11:24 AM

                                                    I went to Iwa on a weekday for lunch and I had the full omakase. With a couple flasks of sake it was about 24000 yen/person.

                                                    1. re: senvie84
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                                                      Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 06:46 PM

                                                      For exemple one piece of chutoro or ootoro, uni, aji.. and some (right now) seasonal like hatsu katsuo, all these pieces are tempting to add... smart chef isn't it ? Without exaggeration, you might be having 2 supplement for uni(sea urchin), one as a small donburi, another one as nigiri ! but the best way to enjoy sushi is to relax, so go there with the idea to taste sushi Iwa style, or to down the whole menu, depending on your stomach !

                                                      1. re: Ninisix
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                                                        senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 5, 2014 11:58 PM

                                                        yes very clever chef but so do you ninisix are very reputable source! and seems everyone here is very helpfull! Thank you to calbear and killersmile for your input too. @ninisix you seems not to like sushi mizutani from what I read from ur post? correct me if im wrong. from what I can see after reading the review. sushi mizutani only famous for their tamago. but the nigiris from iwa and taichi you still like it better from what I saw. and seems never review on sushi aoki? I couldn't find any of your comment on chowhound!

                                                        1. re: senvie84
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                                                          Ninisix RE: senvie84 Jun 6, 2014 12:50 AM

                                                          Ah Aoki's seems to be a good sushi yasan if you're a regular. Still, I don't really recommend it : I did try it seral times at lunch (last time being 3 years ago), and as always, the chef wasn't there.

                                                          1. re: Ninisix
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                                                            senvie84 RE: Ninisix Jun 6, 2014 01:02 AM

                                                            ok. I think I make up my mind. sushi iwa full lunch 18 nigiris only. Sushi harutaka I want to try eat really late like after 22:00. and one more sushi lunch either Mizutani or TaiChi. Thanks and will report whats the outcome.

                                                  2. re: senvie84
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                                                    CaLBeaR1227 RE: senvie84 Jun 5, 2014 07:09 PM

                                                    for lunch at iwa, there are the 2 cheaper lunch courses you can order. but if you want the full omakase that you usually get at dinner, i'm pretty sure you can have the full omakase course at lunch time as well, you just have to ask them. i went there for dinner. but my friends went there for lunch and they also had the same full omakase course at lunch time.

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