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Yes, spent the night at Akune so I don't know about lunch - it's a mid-range ryokan so there's a balance between the relative inconvenience of ryokans and not paying an incredible sum for the pleasure, but it's a worthwhile place.

 

I don't remember when I listed the blogs, but I'd be surprised if any of them are still active. There's some info on http://www.kayoubidesu.com/ who seems like a very pretentious guy (and therefore offers the bias that if he's eaten somewhere then it must be good) and many of the top tabelog reviewers have japanese language blogs (so may be of some use via google translate). Otherwise the best I can offer is an opinion on places or a list of where we go these days (which is of mixed usefulness as many of them are either not interesting enough for a short term visit or not available for first time visits)

 

I think these are the very last years of the japanese restaurant industry in this format, so please enjoy it while it lasts.

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starting next week we will be in Tokyo, Hakone, Hiroshima and Kyoto. We are very excited! If you have any do not miss restaurants please let me know.   I'm on the wait list for Molecular Tapas Bar

if you're going to Kyoto, maybe this piece on Kyoto will be useful , including food here- by a friend who lived there (and also used to work FOH at 15 East & Ducasse)   no idea how useful/usele

hi, just saw this. yes, i met her here in NYC and she's terrific. We worked on an event together (or, rather, volunteered for). When i first met her she was Karla Yukari

Let me rephrase - many top places are now constantly fully booked with regulars (much more so than a few years ago), so your only hope for a first visit is if you get lucky with a cancellation.

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I think these are the very last years of the japanese restaurant industry in this format, so please enjoy it while it lasts.

Why do you think this is? Deflation?

 

 

Not quite. Sushi is the most obvious example - there's been huge international expansion of edomae sushi, a ~300%-ish increase in tourism in Japan and further expectation of increases towards the olympics. This is all putting very strong pressure on fish prices which are obviously already going up with declining stock (edomae sushi is kind of a joke that way, because most of the required fish are long gone from anywhere near Edo), and also on the sushi labor market. It's also putting pressure on shops to deal with tourists and they usually do this in the incredibly inelegant "second counter" method where tourists are served separately and not quite equally, or by setting up branches in hotels. Other types of cuisine suffer from all the same pressures as anywhere, except the starting point is better and the profit motive still weaker, but the trend is obvious.

 

p.s. one (probably the only) area where abenomics works is food, because it's kind of hard to defer the expense.

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eta: restaurants are so far finding ways to introduce price increases in ways that won't frazzle regulars - e.g. Ishikawa dropped their lower priced menu and introduced a crab menu in winter, some sushi places kept their menu price fixed, but switched to somewhat more expensive sake selections, and so on, but at some point if someone finds themselves primarily catering to rich Singaporeans, they'd have to be saints not to take advantage.

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By the way, speaking of sushi, the age-ist school is slowly gaining more traction. Kimura is the better known and probably hardest to book option, but last time at Hatsunezushi (where tuna is always aged) he offered us sea bream "prosciutto" that was incredibly like the cold cut, but fish. Of course the Sho places also age some of their pieces (tuna, hamachi, sometimes uni, especially if it's red uni season).

 

If I haven't mentioned Shinpaku yet then it's yet another place that I find difficult (or really, complex) to recommend even though it's great - an aging specialist too, run by a young guy who doesn't come from a long apprenticeship at one of the prestigious shops, but who is deeply committed to quality and tradition - the issues are more that he sometimes try to do too much, or gets into deep conversation with just one diner and forgets the world, and is completely unable to communicate in anything but full speed Japanese. I think the range of reviews by well informed tabeloggers is reflective of the potential range of experiences (one time, after almost 4 hours, he suddenly remembered another 5 fish he wanted to serve us, it was really too much).

 

 

http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A130703/13176585/

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