Two weeks in Tokyo and Kyoto.....food is movating factor
Thinking of two of us, Manhattan natives, taking out 2 new Hyatt credit card (s) that will allow 2 of us us to avail ourselves of two free nights, each, total 4 nights, at Park Hyatt Tokyo in late September or October. Primary reason for the trip is to eat good local food.
I have been to Japan 3 or 4 times (partner has never been to Asia) but not in recent years. From Tokyo we thought to train to Kyoto, spend 5 days or so, and fly home from Osaka.
Would like input if this is a good strategy, and also some direction on restaurants to reserve. Since we are relative novices, we do not need to absolute "best,"but would like to sample top-flight examples of various cooking styles from sushi/sashimi to robata to all else you all recommend.
HOpelessly inept on the Japanese food front, but willing to do all necessary reading and research. Willing to go high, but not sure that $500 US for two willl be worth it for us, since we are such novices.
Would also love to hook us with a local food guide who can ferry us around to Tskuji, and any other worthwhile good venues. Anyone interested in a Chowmeet, please contcact me!! OPen to any and all types of food!!!
I'd stay away from Kaiseki then, it's not that they aren't fabulous experiences (DEN, Koju, & Ishikawa in Tokyo are all great) but my guess is that your palate may not jive with the umami/bitterness that rules those roosts. Each offer entirely different experiences though.
Many of the high end restaurants are tough to get into - and i'm not sure how many restaurants you are willing to drop cash at but if sushi is in the mix - Sawada is a godsend. Mizutani and Kanesaka are both freaking delicious as well.
Well, cultural aspects have always have been the heart of food, present in kaiseki, sushi, izakaya... Still, ingredients are also key in Japan cooking, and in that respect, kaiseki is a must try ! Now, autumn is one of the best season for kaiseki, but still, other seasons are worth it. If you want a taste of kaiseki, i recommend lunch at Michiba, the menu is affordable at 4750.-yens (shunsai zen menu)
September-October, I might have time for a diner, and hope some chowhound's regulars will follow also.. if possible near Ikebukuro, in Ikebukuro sushi Uoshin is at 4800yens for diner, and IMHO better level than Tsukiji. I live in Tokyo, and have eaten already more than 100 nigiris, so much..