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Sunday night inTokyo -- 7 choices...

Our last night in Tokyo will be a Sunday.

I'd like this to be the most fantastic dinner possible, as it is our final meal.

Choices on Sundays are limited and I've done some research.
I've narrowed the leads down to 3 French and 4 Japanese choices.
(We are not considering sushi or tempura btw).

I'm having a hard time finding much information about any of them other than Joel Robuchon Restaurant.

Hounds! Can you either shed light on your experiences, state your preferences, or point me towards good information about these?

Joel Robuchon Restaurant
Edition Koji Shimomura
Tateru Yoshino Shiba

Azabu Yukimura
Hifumi-An
Ichimonji
Nadaman Honten Sazanka-so

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  1. a couple blog links on azaku-yukimura, which is highest on my to-visit list.

    http://www.gastromondiale.com/2009/02...
    http://www.luxeat.com/blog/azabu-yuki...

    indirect, but judging from la tour d'argent, i found french in tokyo to be not any better that what we have in the us -- so i'd save your joel robuchon visit for the next time you're in vegas.

    22 Replies
    1. re: Dustin_E

      I am not so hot for Azabu Yukimura. Maybe it's the photography, but somehow the pictures I've seen of the food do not call to me (with the exception of that beautiful jelly in the sea urchin).
      Then I found this blog entry. All of his criticisms of the dishes (captions below the pics) agree with the feares I was having. So I'm scratching this off the list.

      1. re: pauliface

        i think luxeat wasn't too hot on the meal either, but she later removed her more critical statements about the meal. i usually try to find these places in hopes that they illustrate differences between western and japanese palates. am not surprised our tastes would vary, pauliface :-)

        1. re: pauliface

          I'm a bit confused. Which blog entry are you referring to?

          1. re: Gargle

            @Gargle -- It is understandable that you would be confused. I though I had posted a link, but I guess not.
            And now the link is dead. :-(
            But I have found a cached version:
            http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...

            The food does not call to me and the criticisms in the few negative captions look valid...

            I might have disregarded the post, but I feel like he was confirming what my intiuition was already telling me, so I figured why take the risk on a short trip when there are so many other options.

            1. re: pauliface

              In one corner - Michelin ranking Yukimura in Tokyo's top 14 (but near the bottom of its fancy scale), Tabelog users voting it in the top 5 food scores in Tokyo, Chef David Kinch giving it his highest recommendation. In the other corner - a blog entry with a distinctively alien feel about it. ;)

              Anyway, Yukimura isn't nearly as easy to love as Ishikawa, and in terms of atmosphere, etc. it's really a big league, post-lux sort of place. I agree there's a risk you won't like it (or that he won't like you!) and there are safer options.

              1. re: Gargle

                I really loved Yukimura. We went during winter and pretty much all dishes had some form of crab in them. Not great if you are not into crab, obviously, but great if you are. The master was incredibly generous with sake as well, once we had established my sake otakuism, he brought out some spectacular stuff he did not charge for. The other guests were also great, it was very interactive and at one point another set of guests shared their bottle of very fine Burgundy with us. Very warm, generous and open.

                I have nevertheless only been once (because it was very expensive; I think the crab meal is over 30,000 yen per person, though I understand his set menus outside of the crab season are cheaper). I therefore cannot say if the atmosphere we experienced was representative or if we got lucky in terms of the other guests (though one thing that was clear was that they were regulars), but I can definitely say that the master treated us wonderfully.

                1. re: Asomaniac

                  It depends. Some nights you get a good crowd, and since a lot of them are politicos they tend to be more chatty than your average guy, especially after some of that fine Burg. Other nights not so much. I think last we went (August) the menu was 25,000.

                  p.s. He can certainly be very nice, but I've also seen him be quite curt with people he didn't like. One time he had someone out the door in about an hour and a half... And then there are the post meal festivities upstairs that I hope to be invited to one day.

                  1. re: Gargle

                    The post meal festivities upstairs are brilliant. And I don't meant that izakaya he ownes upstairs, I mean the other place around the counter.

                    1. re: Asomaniac

                      >> post meal festivities upstairs

                      any chance you could clue us in as to what these are?

                      i'm sure it is not bunga bunga, but am having a hard time guessing what else it could be.

                      1. re: Asomaniac

                        ..."that izakaya he owns upstairs..." Always been curious about that place. Now I understand its high rating... and heftly price.

                    2. re: Asomaniac

                      I love crab. The trip is mid december. Might this be crab season or no?

                  2. re: pauliface

                    @ pauliface -- thanks for the link. shows how our tastes differ. i think the meal looks interesting, and will for sure try to book a seat on my next tokyo visit.

              2. re: Dustin_E

                So has anybody tried Edition Koji Shimomura?
                Any feedback or reviews?

                1. re: pauliface

                  Go to l'Osier in Ginza for dinner if you could score a table. It'll be a good end to your Tokyo trip. :)

                  1. re: palatism

                    Only it's closed on Sundays.

                    I didn't love the new one quite as much as the old one, although it's still a very good option if you're specifically in the market for that sort of thing.

                    1. re: Gargle

                      Right, they are closed on Sundays.

                      Gargle, what was different about the new location?

                      1. re: palatism

                        Same location, different chef. But do tell us, what's changed? Lionel still at the front?

                        1. re: Uncle Yabai

                          Robbie did a nice two-part write up of it's pre-opening event last month.

                          http://foodfile.typepad.com/blog/2013...

                        2. re: palatism

                          I am very curious if someone have had the menu 'a votre guise' (as you like) ?
                          If it means reinventing the menu with the chef, it sounds interesting, knowing the chef, Olivier Chaignon, is former chef at Pierre Gagnaire Tokyo. Pierre Gagnaire proposed classics, revisited by new spices marriage.
                          So it would be very exciting to ask this new chef about the spice with this duck, and with the pear ... don't you think ? Pierre Gagnaire stayed famous, (is still), desert coffee shop closed as Pierre Gagnaire 2 years ago, his desserts are very impressive also.. Pierre Gagnaire reopened, but not this desert coffee shop unfortunately.,

                          1. re: Ninisix

                            Sorry, I thought I'd replied but I guess it didn't get posted.

                            While the level is impressive for a new kitchen, it's nowhere near the level of the old restaurant, at least not yet. Small missteps in execution (overcooked duck, shameful risotto) and a very, very, boring offering, especially for main courses.

                            The food had nothing to do with Gagnaire's style of cuisine - neither the super-creative molecular dishes nor his take on traditional game dishes. Maybe the only thing that was similar is that a white truffle risotto was weak, but it was much weaker at L'Osier than at Gagnaire (I'm talking about the Paris restaurant, of course).

                            It is still very recognizably the same style that you'd expect at L'Osier under Borie and Menard, I think the chef came in to execute rather than to innovate. The most creative thing served was abalone that was paired with a Trompette de la mort mousse that looked exactly like abalone liver sauce.

                            Same location, but in a basement, and even if the old decor had its issues, the new one is not pleasant and seems cheap in place.

                            And yes, still Lionel.

                            1. re: Gargle

                              Hmm. Maybe some opening hiccups there. But as long as they have Lionel and the mignardises trolley, I'm a convert.

                              1. re: Gargle

                                I think the chef came in to execute rather than to innovate'
                                Well,.. I didn't imagine a Zebin Mehta, a life changing in new classic music, but some new classic., I do love also classic French.,

                  2. If you are talking about Kagurazaka Ichimonji, I was only there once about four years ago, but I would pass.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Cicada in Minami-Aoyama is a good Sunday choice.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jet lagged

                        We leave tomorrow!

                        And since last updating this post, we did make a change for Sunday night.

                        We are headed to Nagazumi.

                        Previously we had planned for Joel Robuchon. While I'm sure Robuchon would be amazing, and is probably a bigger more luxurious experience, Nagazumi looks lovely, more intimate, and we decided to just stick with Japanese food the whole trip.

                        There's not a lot of information about Nagazumi on line, but everything I find is positive and the pictures I've seen show a very appealing setting and delicious looking food...

                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                            I'd say it's a close-run thing, Uncle. Not many places do mediocre international quasi-tapas coupled with overpriced mediocre wine with as much dedication as Cicada. Then again, Gonpachi does have Koizumi's seal of approval.

                            1. re: Asomaniac

                              I always wonder how much TY pays for the "reviews" in the English language press.