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eating in Japan


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#781 Nathan

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 01:12 AM

Weather has been glorious. Fuglen for coffee during the day (aeropress) was very nice. Mixed crowd of Japanese and westerners. Liked the adjacent park with all of the picnicking. Bar High Five is world-class good. Gen Yamamoto is absolutely worth a visit (all westerners here)...exquisite attention to detail, etc, but definitely don’t think of it as a good cocktail bar. That super dense chicken-clam broth at Kagari is insane. I’m not sure if the chicken breast topping is sous vide or perfectly poached but wow...(though I’d anticipated the line at Kagari being all tourists it was actually almost all Japanese). My hotel status gives me access to a massive Japanese and western breakfast spread.

I have some work-related side trips to take over the next couple days but I need to work with the concierge to get in somewhere decent sushi-wise. Hopefully Arai.

Going to try Kanemasu and Ishidaya if I can. I guess Kyubey is an option?
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My opinions are obviously my personal opinions. Not yours. Not universal.


#782 Orik

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 02:37 AM

Kyubey is okay, but not really better  than sushi you can get in the US. 

 

If you feel adventurous then I think Kirakutei in Kugayama is going to be open on the 30th and maybe the rest of the week. (they're attending Craft Sake Week until then). 

 

Try and stroll down to Switch Coffee, or barring that to Glitch Coffee, both pretty terrific. Also, a block and change up from Fuglen there's Path, which has excellent pastry in the morning. Closed Monday, not sure about Golden Week, but maybe open as they're hipsters.


sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#783 Nathan

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 09:12 AM

Still wonderful weather. Various web articles will advise you to download some or another transportation app to give you the schedules. Outdated advice. Apple or Google Maps will tell you exactly where to go, the times, which platform, which exit from the station, the cost, and even if there are any delays. Made traveling a breeze. In many cases, you will want to google a picture of the location though in order to actually find the restaurant or bar once you’re on the block. (I did eventually figure out the words for “closed” and “open.”) I had some meetings in cities around Tokyo Bay and bounced around Kawagoe and the like as well. All really easy.

As a lot of the higher end places (except for the ones in Ginza catering to both tourists and well-heeled Japanese) are closed for Golden Week, but there are exceptions. Kanemasu is closed all week unfortunately but Shimada was open on Tuesday night. No English menu but I knew to ask for uni and soba. Then pointed to the duck dish the women on my left were having. The uni in spiny lobster gelee was legitimately fantastic. The duck with those massive white asparagus stalks that are everywhere in Tokyo right now was very good but the surprise was the hint of wasabi in the sauce. The soba with shaved bottarga was good, actually quite similar to a spaghetti bottarga dish I had in Rome a dozen years ago, but not fantastic. Place is an insane value and probably merits every bit of its press.

A little encapsulation of Tokyo I thought: so there is this chain of 3 bars in Ginza where the conceit is that all drinks are 300 yen ($2.75). They cater to a youngish crowd obviously (not sure why they’re not in Shibuya but anyway). And they look like your typical college bar as well. I watched a gentleman order a martini. The bartender (who looked like he was 14) took a chilled glass, took an olive out of the a jar in the fridge and rinsed the brine off the olive before toothpicking it into the glass, then he filled a Yanai pitcher with good ice and water, then poured out the water, jiggered in gin, a good slug of vermouth and bitters. Then stirred properly. This was at a cheapie dive bar. (I should note that at Bar High Five or Tender or the like you’re paying close to $20 a cocktail...so you can imagine the level of detail there.). Heading to Ben Fiddich in a few minutes.

Is it possible to have mediocre to bad food in Tokyo? Actually, yes. Your random izakaya may or may not be good. And it can still suck even if it’s full of Japanese. Or you can go to Shimada for the same price and feel like you’re at the early days of Ko...though you do have to stand up. Shimada is open on Friday night, I may go back.
Blatantly Obvious Disclaimer:

My opinions are obviously my personal opinions. Not yours. Not universal.


#784 Orik

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 04:14 PM

It's amazing how $3 drinks are possible when there's no liquor license or alcohol taxes, and hourly wages are ~$10.


sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#785 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 12:07 AM

I cant begin to tell you how nice Tokyo feels after a week of business travel in emerging asia. Im not sweating. Theres public transit. Fuck. Sidewalks even.

Happy to be back but very limited time.

Sushi namba for lunch at the new location. Great stuff. They hand you a menu that lists the serving temps of the neta and the rice. Namba stands there and wants you to eat the piece immediately. Lots of non sushi as well in the prix fixe.

If Im honest with you though I spent much of the meal watching the sous perform the most insane knife work Ive ever seen.

He was taking swordtip squid and sliced the entire body into long translucent slices. Like one slit in the side of the body. Lie it flat and slice like see through 6*8 slices. Then slice the piece width wise into little hay stacks of the most finest julienne of squid. Yuzu salt. Incredible texture as nigiri. Crazy.

Had okonomiyaki in Tokyo station ( my hotel is directly above) for dinner. Bleh. First time last time. I had to do some work hence the less than grand options.

Colleague picking dinner tonight.

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#786 Orik

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 01:01 AM

Not even three years ago Namba would bring out the rice for the entire service for twelve people and free pour the seasoning mix into it. It's been a process.
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#787 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 01:31 AM

Some of the pieces were very very seasoned

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#788 The Flon

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 04:22 PM

I cant begin to tell you how nice Tokyo feels after a week of business travel in emerging asia. Im not sweating. Theres public transit. Fuck. Sidewalks even.

Happy to be back but very limited time.

Sushi namba for lunch at the new location. Great stuff. They hand you a menu that lists the serving temps of the neta and the rice. Namba stands there and wants you to eat the piece immediately. Lots of non sushi as well in the prix fixe.

If Im honest with you though I spent much of the meal watching the sous perform the most insane knife work Ive ever seen.

He was taking swordtip squid and sliced the entire body into long translucent slices. Like one slit in the side of the body. Lie it flat and slice like see through 6*8 slices. Then slice the piece width wise into little hay stacks of the most finest julienne of squid. Yuzu salt. Incredible texture as nigiri. Crazy.

Had okonomiyaki in Tokyo station ( my hotel is directly above) for dinner. Bleh. First time last time. I had to do some work hence the less than grand options.

Colleague picking dinner tonight.

Are you staying in the Tokyo Station Hotel?  We booked there about two years ago in Devember right after a big renovation. When we checked in there was some sort of delay or miscommunication so to make up for it they gave us the presidential suite for the evening. The delay was really only 5 minutes.

 

I love delays/miscommunications in Japan!



#789 Josh Karpf

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 07:39 PM

My memory of (another) Namba, and Japanese delay/miscommunication, is less pleasant.

 

My very careful planning of a day trip from Osaka to Kyoto (or maybe Nara) via the Namba train station ground to a halt when I was told, at Namba, there was no such train from Namba. Both the language and cultural-difference limits of me and the station staff left me (with lovely spouse) wandering back out, aimless and dazed. Then, and a few times later, I did not find service staff eager to offer an alternative to a problem.

 

There turned out to be three stations named Namba, each for a different line. I forget how we found the correct station/line, but I know we did that on our own.

 

At least the trains themselves were delay-free. A few days later, when I successfully navigated us into the burbs via three trains that offered transfer times of only a couple of minutes, I felt like I had just learned surfing.



#790 The Flon

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 08:34 PM

My memory of (another) Namba, and Japanese delay/miscommunication, is less pleasant.

 

My very careful planning of a day trip from Osaka to Kyoto (or maybe Nara) via the Namba train station ground to a halt when I was told, at Namba, there was no such train from Namba. Both the language and cultural-difference limits of me and the station staff left me (with lovely spouse) wandering back out, aimless and dazed. Then, and a few times later, I did not find service staff eager to offer an alternative to a problem.

 

There turned out to be three stations named Namba, each for a different line. I forget how we found the correct station/line, but I know we did that on our own.

 

At least the trains themselves were delay-free. A few days later, when I successfully navigated us into the burbs via three trains that offered transfer times of only a couple of minutes, I felt like I had just learned surfing.

We found train line and subway apps on our phones to be invaluable



#791 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 09:06 PM


I cant begin to tell you how nice Tokyo feels after a week of business travel in emerging asia. Im not sweating. Theres public transit. Fuck. Sidewalks even.
Happy to be back but very limited time.
Sushi namba for lunch at the new location. Great stuff. They hand you a menu that lists the serving temps of the neta and the rice. Namba stands there and wants you to eat the piece immediately. Lots of non sushi as well in the prix fixe.
If Im honest with you though I spent much of the meal watching the sous perform the most insane knife work Ive ever seen.
He was taking swordtip squid and sliced the entire body into long translucent slices. Like one slit in the side of the body. Lie it flat and slice like see through 6*8 slices. Then slice the piece width wise into little hay stacks of the most finest julienne of squid. Yuzu salt. Incredible texture as nigiri. Crazy.
Had okonomiyaki in Tokyo station ( my hotel is directly above) for dinner. Bleh. First time last time. I had to do some work hence the less than grand options.
Colleague picking dinner tonight.

Are you staying in the Tokyo Station Hotel?  We booked there about two years ago in Devember right after a big renovation. When we checked in there was some sort of delay or miscommunication so to make up for it they gave us the presidential suite for the evening. The delay was really only 5 minutes.
 
I love delays/miscommunications in Japan!
Shangri-la

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"


#792 Orik

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:30 AM

My memory of (another) Namba, and Japanese delay/miscommunication, is less pleasant.


Let that be a lesson to all - Okonomiyaki in Osaka and everything else in Tokyo.

On the back of a discussion of Japanese views of sustainability with a visiting MFFer - TIL that of about 1000 pacific bluefin up for auction yesterday, almost 700 went unsold as the quality is just too low this time of year where and how they are caught.
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#793 Anthony Bonner

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 09:26 AM

Happy Water Shield and Conger Eel season everyone.

"This is a battle of who blinks first, and we've cut off our eyelids"