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Feb 4, 2013 08:03 PM

modern fusion restaurant recommendation

I own a oriental fusion restaurant in Brazil so I'm interested in going to very good fusion restaurants in Tokyo.
The consierge from Grand Hyatt suggested :

Here at chowhound I also foung good recommendations for Narisawa.

Which restaurants should I book to have a memorable experience?

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  1. You won't have much luck with "Benreky" and "Ryudodo" - it is one single restaurant called "Banrekiryukodo". By "Ziping", you presumably mean "Zipangu" in Akasaka?

    I am not sure to what extent all the places you list are "fusion" - probably depends on your definition of the term. Banrekiryukodo is Japanese kaiseki with a modern twist - definitely a modern take, but unmistakably kaiseki. Wouldn't go as far as to say it is fusion.

    Nobu I guess falls into the fusion category to an extent because the chef spent a lot of time in Peru so there are quite a few Japanese - South American hybrids (though the chef himself says it is an unconventional take on Japanese cuisine, rather than beign fusion). Nobu just isn't that great though. The London Nobu is very popular (maybe there are two now? I am a bit out of the loop as i have not lived in London for a while) but the Nobu in Tokyo is not too highly regarded here. I went there a few times for business dinners - would not have been my choice of venue - and found it overpriced and underwhelming (especially in terms of fish quality as compared to other places in Tokyo in the same price category).

    Zipangu is apparently fusion - I have not been, just browsed some reviews.

    I guess a lot of people might call Narisawa fusion, but it's really more French cuisine with a Japanese angle (i.e., the ingredients are not only all sourced in Japan, but the chef likes to use ingredients which are unique to Japan). Is that the sort of thing you are after? There are quite a few good restaurants which follow a particular cuisine but put a Japanese slant on it, mainly through the usage of very Japanese ingredients - for example Aroma Fresca is an Italian restaurant that in my view quite effectively japanises Italian cuisine. I think they are now based in Ginza (they used to be based in another location where I ate a few times, but moved at some point to a more glitzy part of town).

    i am afraid I can't help with what I would consider 'proper' fusion (i.e., a genuine combination of cuisines rather than just a slightly different take on an established cuisine). It's generally not really my thing, though it certainly can be done very well.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Asomaniac

      Thanks for the great information!
      I've been to Nobu in NYC and I did not have a good impression. I went there specially for the tasting menu, made reservations, and when we got there they said the we could not eat the menu because the restaurant would be closing. Why did they let me do the reservation?

      Well, may be will be hard to find fusion restaurants, but I will be interested also in restaurants with a modern twist. Of course, the quality of the food is the most important aspect, but I will like to see some modern decoration also (minimalist style)

      1. re: Asomaniac

        Banrekiryukodo was the only godawful meal I've had in 3 trips to Tokyo. I do not recommend.

        1. re: pauliface

          That's interesting. You must have been unlucky. I had a decent meal there (with Uncle Yabai, a real kaiseki fiend, who also enjoyed it).

          Having said that, it was not spectacular, not on the same level as the top places. Given the competition, we won't be back. But certaintly wasn't awful. What was bad about yours?

          1. re: Asomaniac

            Goodness it was several years ago.

            I remember it started underwhelming, then got to some really bad flavors. There was a course that was really woody, one that was super fishy.
            And I remember, the straw that broke the camel's back, they brought out something that looked totally delicious, it looked kind of like a layered napolean that might contain flavors of sunonomo -- crab, cucumber, vinegar; but it was just totally foul, a combination of funky sour and bitter. I have no idea what it was.

            Oh, also, on top of it the service was really slow, so it took forever to eat stuff we did not like.

            Nobody else in the restaurant looked particularly happy either.

            Mind you, I am *not* a picky eater. Whenever I go for omakase or kaiseki, I always say there are no restrictions. I have loved pretty much every other high end meal I've had in japan. Some more than others of course, but the quality is generally just so high. This place fell far below...

            1. re: pauliface

              Very unfortunate. kaiseki is such a feast which i always really look forward to from the moment I book. Very disappointing if it falls flat. Luckily doesn't happen often, but will continue to happen to people as long as my bete noir, Hamadaya, remains in business.

              1. re: Asomaniac

                For the record my favorite kaiseki (or close to kaiseki) restaurants have been:

                -- Kitcho Arashiyama
                -- Misoguigawa (french kaiseki)

                -- Ishikawa
                -- Ryugin (modern kaiseki)

                With excellent runners up being:
                -- Tapas Molecular Bar (I know, not really kaiseki)
                -- Aroniya de Takazawa (also not quite kaiseki)

                -- Sugiyama

                1. re: pauliface

                  I am with you on Ishikawa and Ryugin. Have not visited the various illustrious establishments in Kyoto yet.

                  Molecular Tapas Bar to me is just a generic molecular cuisine place - quite interesting to experience once, but not really specific to any particular place (or spectacularly tasty if you strip out the novelty factor, though it is pretty good).

                  I like Aronia a lot, I like the chef and his wife and I like the food. I do think it's a little overpriced, but oh well. If they can get away with it, why not?

            2. re: Asomaniac

              Oh and here are two links to short videos I took of my hands while waiting at Banreki...