Brief Yokohama/Tokyo Report
I have just left Japan, and I wish I had lots of food finds to report. Not as successful a trip as three years ago.
One repeat success was the Yokohama Ramen Museum. My very fond memories were, if possible, bested with excellent ramen at stands 1, 6, and 7. #1 was Ryunsyanhai with their signature ball of spice on top of miso ramen. The next was a milky and peppery tonkatsu ramen from Kamurasaki, and finally a very Chinese-y miso ramen from Eki that was as thick as gravy with a gorgeous flavor. To have these three ramens back-to-back-to-back is a treasure. In addition, a really wonderful rice dish from Eki was a simple revelation.
My disappointments were at Genza, also in Yokohama, where I had the okonomiyaki, negayaki, omusoba, and morsels of foie gras on marinated turnip. Only the negayaki stood out with its simple combination of potato,scallion, and chive.
In Shibuya, I ate at Kyushu, recommended in Tokyo Food Pages. The sara udon is like the kind of glop I avoid at bad Chinese restaurants, the gyoza in the pan were very oily and completely uninteresting, and the lotus root stuffed with spicy mustard was ok only for clearing out my sinuses. This was not expensive, but still cost way more than it should.
>I fully understand how visits to a restaurant can change from one meal to the next.
Well I've been there maybe fifteen or twenty times, and they've been quite consistent in my experience. The "glop" you refer to on the sara-udon is an ankake-style sauce; I can see how some people might not like it, but that's how the dish is traditionally prepared. I like the gyoza there because they're very garlicky and usually the skin is nicely crisped. Granted it's not the most sophisticated cooking in Tokyo, but I think they capture local Kyushu flavors fairly well.
Also they serve regional dishes like tonkotsu (stewed pork on the bone) which are hard to find in Tokyo, so part of the appeal is that you can find dishes that aren't at every izakaya in town. I can see how that aspect of it might be less interesting to visitors.