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Tempura Restaurant and sushi restaurant

c
CWFOODIE Apr 2, 2012 09:03 AM

Got so much valuable information from this board, hope I can contribute in a small way.

I have always loved the Japanese tempura. Over the years, I have tried Kondo, Kyoboshi (Kyoto), Yotaro (Osaka) and more recently, 7 chome Kyoboshi. 7 chome Kyoboshi stands out, in terms of the quality and the extravagance of the meal.
Recently, I had the chance to eat at Mikasa. (in the suburb of Tokyo.) I found it by chance through the tabelog. My concierge said it is extremely difficult to secure a booking and I had to eat at 5:30. Turned out it was one of the most satisfying tempura meal I ever had. The ingredients were very seasonal (I was particularly impressed by the spring vegetable tempura and the carrot tempura) and fresh (the eel was killed right on front of the diners). The chef made regular adjustments to the fire and the batter was simply perfect. (neither ultra crispy nor oily). I notice he was very particular about how long each ingredient was fried. The whole meal costs less than 10000 yen, excellent value for such high quality tempura.

Will try Yokota next week, am wondering what to expect.

I wonder if anyone has tried Sushi Imamura (Minato), my concierge recommended it as it is open on sunday. (my next visit to tokyo falls on a sunday) Or should I settle for Jiro Roppongi? Please advise.

  1. n
    Ninisix Apr 3, 2012 05:25 AM

    Nothing wrong about sushi Imamura, but nothing to remember also, even the 'maguro(tuna)' wasn't great ! But, if you have time on your one Saturday lunch, try to book the tiny sushi-yasan Kurusu that gained the top 10 on the Tokyo Pia new handbook..
    Humm.. Tempura Yokota, the counter is a minimalist black counter, and was not so comfortable, the only memorable item was the 'tai-meshi(boiled rice with flakes of bream fish)',.. I did prefer tempura Mikawa in Monzen Nakacho.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ninisix
      FourSeasons Apr 3, 2012 11:42 PM

      @Ninisix: Tempura Yokota's interior is not minimalist black counter. Are you sure you did not confuse it with Tempura Yotaro (though I have not been to Yotaro, the pic on Michelin Guide seem to be black counter)?

      @CWFOODIE: Yokota is my favorite tempura though I can't compare it to Mikawa since I have not been there.

    2. d
      Dustin_E Apr 3, 2012 09:33 AM

      i tried 7chome kyoboshi over the holidays and loved the meal -- but did not love the bill at the end.

      unfortunately, that's my only high-end tempura experience.

      how is 7chome different from the other places you've tried?

      thanks.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Dustin_E
        n
        Ninisix Apr 4, 2012 04:52 AM

        Yes, your right, this is Yotaro and not Yokota. 
        I didn't try tempura 7-chome, how much did it cost you for 2 ?  Sole diner are not accepted, right ?

        1. re: Ninisix
          d
          Dustin_E Apr 4, 2012 09:33 AM

          i visited alone, and let my girlfriend go shopping while i had lunch.

          42,000 yen for one person for lunch, including the melon dessert (which i guess was the surcharge above the 36,000 they quoted me when i made the reservation.)

          they definitely accepted a solo diner for lunch. i'd be very, very surprised if solo diners weren't accepted for dinner.

          1. re: Dustin_E
            n
            Ninisix Apr 6, 2012 06:30 AM

            Tempura at 42,000yens, i am curious how many repeaters there are ... sushi at 30,000.-yens, I am a repeater at sushi Sukiyabashi Jiro, sushi Araki,... hum; do you recommend it like it is very different ? 

            1. re: Ninisix
              d
              Dustin_E Apr 16, 2012 09:24 AM

              I'm probably more likely to return to 7chome than i am to return to any other high end place i've visited in tokyo, but at 42,000 i am unsure i'll be a repeat even there.

              I haven't tried enough (read: any) other very high end tempura places to say if it is qualitatively different. My only other basis for comparison is a 3200 yen place several years ago -- and i thought that one was greasy and gross and made me not interested in tempura.

              1. re: Ninisix
                d
                Dustin_E Apr 16, 2012 10:23 AM

                Maybe i should put it this way: I felt my experience at 7chome kyoboshi was on the same level as my visit to arpege. Everything just seemed to taste pure and perfect. Though amazingly, my meal at 7chome cost twice what it did at Arpege...

                1. re: Dustin_E
                  a
                  Asomaniac Apr 16, 2012 10:14 PM

                  7chome Kyoboshi is eye-wateringly expensive and for that reason I may not be back for a very long time, but I have to say I do not regret having gone. I went very recently and was astonished by the quality of the ingredients and the perfection of the batter. It does not happen often that I nearly fall off my chair in awe of the perfection of vegetables in Japan - there are many places which use unbelievable vegetables and other incredible ingredients in this country so I had not expected this kind of gap in quality between some very good kaiseki places and 7chome Kyoboshi.

                  This was not limited to vegetables; the cuttlefish was the tastiest, best-textured cuttlefish I have ever had, and the quail egg (deep-fried but with a liquid yolk) was beyond amazing as well. In contrast, tempura wagyu, probably the most expensive ingredient of the evening, was a bit pointless. Very good quality of course, but having the tempura batter around the meat seemed a bit pointless. I'd prefer it served without the tempura batter, just with a bit of salt and wasabi on the side.

                  I only went because a food critic friend was in town who really wanted to visit the place and I knew that given the price tag, I would probably never go on my own initiative. I decided to take it on the chin, do it once and probably laugh at the insanity of how much I paid and put it down to experience. I was very surprised at how incredible I thought it was. Much much more memorable for me than many top end kaiseki or sushi experiences. I don't know to what extent the fact that I have had a lot more kaiseki than high end tempura plays a role in my assssment though.

                  Having said all that, I can completely see why many people would argue that the price is simply laughable and no amount of vegetable perfection can possibly justify it. Maybe so, but I probably enjoyed that meal more than any other in the last 12 months. Still - 42,000 yen per person for the course and a very limited amount of sake and a beer... probably it will remain my one 7chome Kyoboshi experience, at least for a number of years.

                  1. re: Asomaniac
                    n
                    Ninisix Apr 17, 2012 07:31 AM

                    Thank you for both your replies. 
                    That assessment about the ingredients as important, I do agree.. that can make it exceptional. So the passion still.. 

                    1. re: Asomaniac
                      d
                      Dustin_E Apr 17, 2012 08:22 AM

                      Thanks very much for your report.

                      Was your food critic friend andy hayler?

                      1. re: Dustin_E
                        a
                        Asomaniac Apr 17, 2012 07:05 PM

                        Yes. We eat together whenever he comes to Japan. He has just posted his review online, and I see you have commented!

                        1. re: Asomaniac
                          d
                          Dustin_E Apr 18, 2012 08:43 AM

                          I love his blog. Glad you guys are friends!

          2. d
            davew666 Apr 7, 2012 01:02 AM

            i went to Yokota a couple of years ago (in the old location). It was superb

            1 Reply
            1. re: davew666
              c
              CWFOODIE Apr 19, 2012 01:45 AM

              I just had dinner at Yokota. Absolutely fabulous. The tempura asparagus is the best I have ever had. The white fish tempura was also above average. Although the use of curry powder is also appealing. Particularly impressive was the tencha. Oftentimes, I found tencha at most shops too bland, but at Yokota, the taste of the tea and the tempura complements each other perfectly. The cost performance is excellent and the chef was very friendly. There was a separate counter where diner can enjoy dessert after the meal.

            2. d
              Dustin_E Apr 17, 2012 01:10 PM

              Has anyone been to Yoshimatsu?

              Supposedly the former chef (and older brother of the current chef) of nanachome kyoboshi works there.

              1. z
                zorglub Apr 28, 2012 05:56 AM

                Quick question: is Mikasa actually Mikawa, Address 3-4-7, Nihonbashi Kayabacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Could not find a Mikasa on the English Tokyo sites. Thanks

                1 Reply
                1. re: zorglub
                  c
                  CWFOODIE Apr 28, 2012 11:00 PM

                  http://r.tabelog.com/kanagawa/A1405/A...

                  Hope it helps. It's more on the outskirt of Tokyo.

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