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Jan 23, 2014 05:04 AM

Wagyu and Sushi Dinners, Yokohama to Tokyo

I have about two weeks remaining on a business trip to Kanagawa, but I'll gladly make the trip up to Tokyo for a couple of unforgettable meals. I'm looking for a dinner that includes wagyu and a meal at great sushiya, total between the two dinners coming to ¥26,000 (soft ceiling). I'll be dining alone, and I'm not sure if most restaurants would mind accommodating a single diner.

As far as my eating experience/history, I haven't had a lot of top-notch sushi back in the States--no Michelin star or similarly superlative sushi meals, so I'm not looking for a ¥20,000 experience. That level of nuance may or may not be wasted on me; I'm hoping just for a better sushi meal than I'll likely ever have back home.

As for the wagyu, we had planned on making the trip out to Kobe for some wagyu while touring in Osaka, but circumstances kept us from making it out there in time. (I'd had my eye on Steakland after reading a couple reviews championing its quality compared to some higher-end Kobe beef dinners.) My companions and I put our faith in the front desk at the ryokan for some Kobe teppanyaki in Osaka, but we ended up at [what I can only ascertain was] a tourist trap for which I could find no information online. (My coworkers loved it, but I've had enough truly excellent meals to know that it was not nearly worth what we paid.)

I'm considering Yokohama both because it's closer (and thereby easier to get to on a weeknight) and under the presumption that it'll be cheaper than a similarly excellent meal in Tokyo. My interest is particularly piqued by Ukai Azamino Tei for the wagyu set.

I'm having trouble finding English-language feedback on Sushi Otowa or Sushi Hachizaemon. (I understand that some find that hearing the chef's thoughts on the food and being able to give him/her feedback on what your particular tastes are is important to the fine sushi experience, so it's worth noting that I have very little in terms of functional Japanese skills.)

I'm open to suggestions beyond those three, as well; I just used Michelin as a way to get started in the right direction. I understand that some reservations may be hard to get on such short notice, but I'm hoping flexibility and aiming a little lower than "best of the best in Japan" might help my odds.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. "Wagyu" just means "Japanese beef". I think if you are looking for the premium stuff, you should research Matsusaka or Kobe or Hida, etc....

    Those two Yokohama sushi places look good. They are both small though so you should reserve whichever you choose.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      I'm not enough of a connoisseur to really know which wagyu I'll prefer; I'm open-minded to anything a good chef is proud to serve. I've heard great things about the other Ukai locations but remain a little worried about the variation in quality that can occur from branch to branch.

      1. re: triathlonjacket

        If you're not a connoisseur then probably not necessary to sweat the marginal quality from branch to branch.

    2. followed chowhound recommendations for kobe style beef (around $100US)& tempura (value)& they weren't good.
      Sometimes the hotel gets commission for recommendations& the concierge probably doesn't eat at these hi end restaurants.

      You said you're doing business there; you can ask people living there where to eat.

      3 Replies
      1. re: csh123

        Unfortunately, my business trip does not involve a lot of (read: any) business interaction with Japanese, so I'm limited to the hotel staff and random strangers I meet on the street.

        1. re: triathlonjacket

          Sushi Ikkyu Asamino is between Shibuya and Yokohama, lunch is at around 2000,yens, week end crowded at lunch, dinner around 15000yens. Last reservation at 19:30, Access from Kannai or Yokohama station by blue line, 10-14 stations for non rapid, taxi from station necessary. No English. There, look, enjoy, eat...

          1. re: Ninisix

            Just adding some more base info about Blue line Yokohama :

      2. I've heard Ukai-tei is good. But personally I've never tried it, but would like to try it someday.

        1. Incidentally, I have been to Ukai Azamino, which, if I am not mistaken, is the honten (headquarter) of the Ukai chain. The meal was perfection itself. The chef covered the beef being 'cooked' with a lid during much of the preparation. He knew exactly when to remove the lid (opaque of course) to produce the perfectly cooked beef. That really showed the extent of experience and skill.

          I find Sushi Hachizaemon rather pedestrian. As I recall, the selection of fish was rather limited. As a result, you would be served two to even three helpings of the same anago, but prepared with different sauce. If I were you, I would like to sample as many 'in season' produce as possible. This probably not the place.

          Yokohama is just 20-30 mins away from Tokyo by train. Ginza and Raponggi areas are teeming with good sushi places.