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Apr 25, 2012 01:02 AM

Eccentric three days in Tokyo

Dear all,

I've been reading this board for some time and it had allowed me to try Ruygin before the hype, Kanda, Mizutani, Sawada... Going back to Tokyo for three nights in early August (yes it will be hot), and looking for advice. I will be on my own, on a mini vacation.

Budget is currently wide open, but there are two constraints: my jet lag will be Tokyo -7hrs, which means late nights, and sleep in the morning; also I'd like this to be fun, not a food marathon.

Lots of gaps in my plan - please advice!

Current plan:
Arrival Narita 5pm
Diner at Quintessence (solo ok?)
Drinks at Star Bar

Day two
2pm breakfast at Hidemo Sugino :)
5pm Sushi Saito
trip to Onsen Oedo on Odaiba island
Late dinner: where? Open to suggestions

Day three
2pm light lunch. Which Sushi place will serve at 2pm?
Diner at Aronia (solo ok? I've read contradicting info)
Blue Note jazz club
Maybe a quick yakitori stop before calling it a day. Where?

Day four (will be a Sunday)
Flea market Hashimangu
Early diner. Where on a Sunday?
Will have to leave for Narita at 7pm


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  1. i believe for hidemi sugino you have to get there by 9:30am to stand in line, or they will be all sold out. budget 2 hours of your time -- waiting 30 mins for them to open, waiting 30 mins to order. waiting 30 mins for them to bring your cake to your table. 15 mins for you to eat.

    not worth it, at least for me (but i'm very impatient.)

    also, try some high end tempura.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dustin_E

      For Hidemi Sugino I don't believe it's that bad. If you want the full selection, then yes it is best to go early and wait in that godawful line. If you go late, obviously you run the risk of them selling out or having an extremely limited selection, but if they still have cakes then there is no wait time. The last time I went, it was 1pm and I was able to immediately order, sit and eat. In and out in under 30 minutes. But yeah, if you go late it will be hit or miss. Have a backup selection ready just in case.

      1. re: killersmile

        i was there at 5pm on a saturday last month. there were still cakes, but a very limited selection.

        side note: you can queue up in the morning, reserve cakes, and come back in the afternoon to have them for tea. i found that out because i saw people being served cakes that were not on display, so i asked the waitstaff what was going on.

      2. re: Dustin_E

        Hidemi Sugino only puts out half the stock in the morning, then replenishes it in the afternoon (I thought at 2:00, but I could be wrong). That way people in the afternoon can still have cake (otherwise they would probably sell out completely by noon).

        At least it used to be that way. See for reference (written in 2011, so relatively current).

        When I last went, I got there around 20 minutes early and was able to get into the store with the first round of customers (I think I was #10 or so in line). By 10 minutes to opening, there were maybe 20-30 people in line. From past experience, had I arrived 30 minutes early on a weekend, I probably would have been #20.

        1. re: Dustin_E

          it was around the holidays when i went, so maybe it was worse for me. if you can be in and out in 30 minutes, it is definitely worth a stop.

          1. re: Dustin_E

            Was there last Christmas. Went to Sugino at around 12pm. About 15 minutes line, and a relatively decent choice. PS: you have to love mousse, that's his trademark and the texture of most of the cakes.

        2. Gentlemen, a bit of help. My biggest questions:

          * Quintessence or l'Osier or ???
          * Sushi Saito or Urasawa or ?? (but not Mizutani or Sawada)


          6 Replies
          1. re: zorglub

            I am not a gentleman (missing some necessary parts), but I will add--isn't L'Osier still closed for renovations? If it is, that would help you make your decision.

            1. re: prasantrin

              Yes, very closed. As in "hole in the ground" closed. Give it a couple of years and it will be back. I hope so, but no one more than Auntie, her favorite restaurant anywhere.

              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Perhaps Auntie can come to Singapore; chef Bruno Menard of L'Osier will open 2 new casual eateries here by July but they will not be Michelin style in terms of positioning.

                1. re: FourSeasons

                  Wow, good to know, we'll definitely give them a try.

              2. re: zorglub

                isn't urasawa in la? or are you talking about a tokyo restaurant of the same name that i've never heard of?

              3. I was in hidemi three days ago(Wednesday) at 4.30pm, they were completely sold out.

                Went again yeaterday(fri) at 11.30am, no queue, there was the full range as far as I could tell. Maybe I'm not a cake/pastry person, but I don't think it's worth the queue. I preferred his berry tart,Belle jardiniere, over the ambroisie. I don't know if that's blasphemy to hidemi fans

                4 Replies
                1. re: lennardy

                  since many of his cakes are mousse-based, if you don't like mousse-y cakes, you probably won't really like hidemi. maybe that's why you like the tart more?

                  1. re: akated

                    Yeah I'm not crazy about mousse in general. I appreciate that the texture of the mousse is nice and smooth, but it's pretty rich and I thought there could've been more of the raspberry jam/compote so the acidity will balance that out. (referring to the ambroisie)

                    1. re: akated

                      I like mousse cakes, but I don't like Hidemi Sugino's mousse cakes. They're a softer mousse and are more mucilaginous than I like.

                      I don't like his other cakes or tarts when they're fresh, either, but I found after a couple of days, they improved in flavour (in my opinion).

                      1. re: prasantrin

                        ah, i understand. what about the cakes at a tes souhait, or plaisir? i was at the latter this trip, and thought their "comparison" was pretty good. i liked the gateau vanille at paris s'eveille too; a firmer mousse (but not more gelatin-ny).

                        can't wait for my trip back to tokyo in dec. gonna hit more cake shops!

                  2. Sorry got carried away typing last time re: Urusawa

                    New program for the three days:
                    Sushi Saito
                    Tempura Mikawa (sp?)
                    Any recommendations near Singawa flea market. Great ramen would be fine !

                    Sushi Yoshitake
                    Aronia de Takazawa
                    Kushiague: Tatsukushi

                    Recommendations, additions, deletions? I chose Mikawa from a previous post instead of 7 Chome because of the huge price difference. Anyone thinks its a mistake? The only high end tempura I've been to is Ten Ichi (both original location and others). Was fine, but does not qualify as fine dining in my book.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: zorglub

                      i had a wonderful dinner at l'effervescence last month. haven't tried quintessence, so have no way of comparison, but at 16000 yen, it puts places that charge similar amounts in singapore to shame.

                      1. re: zorglub

                        Go to Quintessence and forget all other French restaurants in Tokyo.

                        1. re: Gargle

                          "Go to Quintessence and forget all other French restaurants in Tokyo."

                          That one statement kind of sums up the changes in Chowhound's Japan board since the Tokyo Michelin Guide was first published.

                      2. Has anyone been to Hachi in Minami-Aoyama? It was on the No Reservations Cook it Raw Japan episode and looks like pretty good, casual but traditional fare. I looked it up and it sounds reasonably priced, just wondering if anyone has any personal experiences of the place?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: NZJoe

                          OK I`ll reply to my own question- I checked out Hachi after mr Redzepi`s and Bourdain`s recommendations. It was very, very good. Very busy, we sat at the bar but that was ok because the chef/owner was a friendly guy and showed us some of the produce he was preparing and his knives too. There was no english menu but there is one online (Gurunavi?) so we got that up on the iPhone and were able to order all the famous dishes, plus there was an english speaking waiter who was very helpful and recommended a few other dishes. We had the clay pot rice, fatty mackerel (dried overnight) this was probably my favourite, pork in ginger sauce (another good one), sashimi of the day, tempura veg (just ok), ham omelette with soup (weird dish, was not bad) and the 8-vegetable salad. They also helped us choose some nihon-shu too which were great, from Niigata I think. It was very busy and pretty rowdy crowd, good place to come and have some really top-notch food with your alcohol. And friendly service too. Bill came to 11,000yen.