Gaijin-friendly sushi bookable at short notice for up to 12,000?
I have just had a request for a recommendation from a couple from the UK visiting Tokyo for a sushi dinner (for the wife's birthday). They don't know Japan, don't have much in the way of sushi experience, and their budget is around GBP 100 per person for food and drinks (i.e., 15,000 per head, which I suppose means up to 12,000 for the food alone).
They need to be able to make a reservation at one day's notice, so hard-to-book places are out. To be honest, this does not have to be a top place as they won't be able to tell subtle differences between very good and outstanding quality, but it is their one trip to this city so it would be great to recommend something reasonably special at the above price, in a friendly atmosphere that is not intimidating for non-Japanese speakers.
I am sure their concierge can book the omakase ahead of time so it won't be necessary if they speak English at the restaurant.
I know sushi has been discussed ad absurdum here, but the criteria are quite specific, and while I would normally spend a good amount of time looking through past sushi discussions on chowhound, I am at work and off to meetings for much of the rest of the day, and need a recommendation reasonably soon if possible (given that they need to make the reservation quickly). I would therefore be very grateful for one or two suggestions.
I am not in a great position myself to recommend something appropriate. Places I would tend to go to would be either on the far too cheap end (a quick 2,000 yen sushi lunch in the vicinity of my office) or the far too expensive end. Daisan Harumi for 7,000 or 10,000 yen omakase would be perfect, but that deal is only available on Saturdays and they are going on a weekday when Daisan harumi would be too expensive.
I am not sure where they are staying, but it will be reasonably central and they will be able to travel reasonable distances, so anywhere in one of the vaguely central areas (e.g., Ginza, Aoyama, Shinjuku, etc.) would be good.
Sushi Taichi can manage a set with drink for 15,000yens, I just called to confirm, the chef is very friendly and accommodating, the menu will include sashimi/tsumami and nigiris.
Next to sushi Taichi, you will have sushi Ookawahara that diner nigiris omakase first price is at 15,000yens (17nigiris+one maki). The chef, and his wife unfortunately won't be able to speak English.
Michelin sushi, I have had recently diner at sushi Kimura, and it was very very good, the speciality is aging white fish, from one week to one month so it gives you all the flavor of the fish. The full omakase is at 12600yens, and unfortunately is located in Futago Tamagawa.
After there is local sushi-yasan like sushi Sagane that is good... and at 8100yens first price.
For good nigiris, intimate and small counter, with ability to get the attention of the chef.. I recommend Taichi.
Yoshino Sushi Honten in Nihonbashi should meet all of your requirements; maybe \10,000 or a bit more each, including drinks; a couple of the guys behind the counter speak some English; usually no problem getting a reservation to sit at the counter, although most regulars sit at tables. It is just behind Takashimaya and easy to find. Oh, and good sushi too.