Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Japan >
Apr 4, 2014 07:46 PM

Molecular Gastronomy in Tokyo - As good as Spain and Alinea?

I am toying with going to Flatiron and/or Tapas Molecular Bar. But I have been to all the molecular restaurants (41 Grados, Tickets, Arzak, etc in Spain + Alinea and others in the US) and after carefully watching videos and reading reviews I suspect I will be disappointed. The ones in tokyo look overly gimmicky without being as delicious, like Bazaar in Los Angeles or Moto in Chicago. Has anyone been to many of these restaurants to compare?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just wait until Noma (temporarily) relocates to Tokyo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Sadly, I will be there in May, too soon. :(

    2. Afaik, Takazawa is your best bet and the only one that won't be disappointing (but there'll still be a lot of familiar dishes).

      6 Replies
      1. re: Gargle

        I already have a reservation for takazawa, I agree that one looked great. I apologize, I should have mentioned that. I take your answer to be skip the other two?

        1. re: wasabica

          I haven't been to Flatiron and can't imagine why I'd want to go considering the reviews.

          I'd skip Tapas Molecular Bar - it's okayish, but there are so many better things to eat in nicer places that it's really hard to justify. Other than Takazawa, MG is really not a genre of significance in Tokyo, and the places that dabble in it (Narisawa, most prominently) don't seem to have anywhere near the level of understanding of what they're doing as you'd find at Alinea. There are even restaurants that started off winning praise for MG-ish cuisine but have moved away from it - Ryugin being the best example.

          1. re: Gargle

            thank you, this is very helpful

          2. re: wasabica

            Looking at my blogpost from our excellent meal at Takazawa a year ago, there is incredible imagination and inventiveness, but no molecular preparations.

            1. re: beaulieu

              great blog + photos, thanks for sharing!

              1. re: beaulieu

                That's a great post. Their kitchen is still a modernist one, but the techniques are now used as they probably should be - to enhance flavor and texture and obtain uniformly great results, rather than for show... It's out of fashion to make them obvious on the plate, and people in Tokyo seem to like this style much better (as reflected in their stellar ascent on tabelog, for example)

                p.s. they added a third table long before they updated their concept.

          3. Molecular Tapas Bar is fun. Think of it more like a show than dinner. The pacing is fast (too fast to do wine pairings, we found -- get a bottle of something you like instead). If you are a molecular pro, then you will already be familiar with a lot techniques.

            That said, if you go without superhigh expectations, it will be a fun evening and the meal is tasty.