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Place to buy Staub cookware?

Anyone know of a place with a good selection of Staub cookware for sale? I found a few pieces here and there in dept stores and kappabashi dori, but not a big selection or most importantly the 27cm oval I need.

I'm regretting not hauling that heavy thing back from a store in the US.

Thanks.

Apr 26, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Ramen

There are a few ramen places right in Hiroo along the shotengai and elsewhere, but if I want ramen I walk down the Meiji Dori towards Ebisu station to Ippudo. I have not had that much ramen, but I did hit Ivan Ramen and there shio ramen around the holidays.

Ippudo has tonkotsu ramen, so if you like that it is worth a try. I see that is mentioned numerous times on these boards.

Mar 08, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Soba Update

Toshian on the way to Meguro is the best so far for inaka soba, imo. Even better than Matsugen on Meiji Dori. They also have some interesting soba varieties if you want something different. Pookie had a yuzu flavored soba that was refreshing and good for a few mouthfuls, but too much for me to eat a whole basket of that.

Also, back at Matsugen I tried what they call rin soba. I could not get a good explanation of this even in Japanese. It is somehow the first kernel or first something from the plant. Anyway it is very light in color, thin noodles, and very tasty.

Mar 08, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Tokyo Bars

If you are looking for French wines I found a very good wine bar in Nishi Azabu across from the US base on Seijoki Dori. It's called Salon Des Saluts.

They had an amazing white burgundy list including some a whole lot of montrachets, even some batard and chevalier, and a large red bordeux list. Of course not cheap, but a smaller than usual markup for Tokyo.

There is some food there, but not a place for a full dinner. Cheese, some sort of dried fruit platter, shellfish, some meats. It is an after dinner place to relax and talk over a nice bottle of wine. Talk as late as you want because it is open until 4AM.

Mar 08, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Tokyo Bars

I like Amrta in a back street of Roppongi, actually may still be Nishi Azabu. Intentionally hard to find. Interesting modern art on the walls that changes ever couple of months, interesting fusion music and good vibe for hanging out. Only downside for me is it is also a cigar bar, but it rarely seems to be a problem unless the people I'm with light up at our table.

see
http://www.sunnypages.jp/travel_guide...

Feb 24, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Soba

Ok, I admit I'm a soba fanboy. I prefer it tsumetai/cold and pookie prefers it warm in the winter, so we get one of each. I could eat it every day for lunch and will always try a new soba place.

So far I've found three very local in Hiroo. It is hard to compare soba places because some are very simple, inexpensive places and others are more upscale. So I rate them based on how they rate with others from the same strata across the Tokyo area. From worst to first:

3. Hakone Akatsukian - This is close to the station, on the second floor just a bit from Partenope. Is it possible for tsumetai to be served too cold? This place seemed to and maybe that killed the whole thing for me, especially since this place was on the pricey side for soba. The soba in duck soup was not especially good either.

2. Sawacho - Right around the corner from the soup place and Hiramatsu close to the station. This is a classic, low cost, no frills soba place. 650¥. I wouldn't take anyone else here, but it is an acceptable, cheap, quick lunch.

Best [so far by far]: Tajima - this is close to the Chinese embassy, a bit past the park and easy to walk right by. The noodles were thin and made from 100% soba flour. They had a nice lunch that included rice with bamboo shoots [spring is coming] and a few other small vegetable plates. The star was the basic vegetable soup that the warm soba came in, great flavor and light. Pookie raved about it, and she rarely does that.

On prior trips I went to Matsugen on the Hiroo side of Ebisu, and for me that was slightly better and my current local first choice for their inaka soba.

Feb 23, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Tonkatsu

Hit Butagumi this weekend based on a Chowhound post. It is about a 15 minute walk up Gaien Nishi from the train station. My first tonkatsu. It was everything they said it was, delicious and filling. I'll go back for lunch because that much meat at night sat in my stomach, but it was worth it.

See a lot more info at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572357

Feb 23, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Went to Partenope on Monday and it was certainly better than Plates. Crust was nice which is always the key to me, but still a bit soggy in the center. Good enough to try again.

Still there was a pizza place in Eifukucho that was a lot better.

Feb 18, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Fukudaya, a very small fish stand on the Hiroo shotengai also serves a basic lunch with fish, miso soup, some seaweed and small veggie plates. They serve mostly cooked fish, whatever is freshest and some items get sold out after 1, and a sashimi plate.

I'm told this place is somewhat famous for the locals and has been there quite a while. A speciality is their gindara, which is what I had today. Excellent and a nice lunch for 1100 Yen.

Thanks for all the suggestions and warnings. Keep them coming.

Feb 18, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Found our first Hiroo neighborhood place that will be a frequent haunt. Yama Fuji on Gaien Nishi Dori, second floor very close to the Exit 1, Hiroo Station. Hard to describe the food since they had a bit of everything, yakitori, sushi, vegetarian dishes, etc. We had some beef, pork, and chicken along with a couple of vegetable plates [they pride themselves on their unusual and very fresh/organic veggies and meat that is "non-chemical"].

Very comfortable atmosphere, and nice size, seats about forty. We spent about $3,000 Yen sans drinks, although Pookie is a small eater. Could easily spend 5K Yen for bigger eaters. Try it out.

Feb 13, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

Tried Plates for pizza because it was just so close and the cold rain was too much. I entered with some high hopes because the wood burning oven looked inviting. So I was disappointed that pizza crust was not crispy or done enough for me, which is one of the best parts of a good pizza. I know this is a matter of taste, and one man's crispy is another man's burnt. The pickled vegetables and other small dishes were ok, but nothing special.

On to Partenope next time for pizz.

Feb 12, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

I went to Restaurant J on Christmas and wrote up my thoughts, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/676468. Looking forward to trying it again with their normal menu.

Thanks for the recommendations.

Feb 12, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Hiroo Restaurant Recommendations and Log

I'll be staying in Hiroo on and off for the next six months. I know there is much only a short train ride away, but some nights you just want a short walk to dinner or just have time for a quick lunch. Searched the board and not much on Hiroo.

I'd appreciate any recommendations for Hiroo and will settle for any close by in Ebisu. As payback I'll add to this entry the restaurants we hit over our stay here.

Feb 10, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Ogikubo

Robb - Tried Tomato last night. It was more of a hit with Pookie than me, but really warmed us up on a cold day. Great winter place. If I lived close by in the area the price / taste / atmosphere would put it in the dining rotation.

We had the medium spicy beef curry and the Hungarian Goulash stew. The curry was definitely the better of the two [think this is true of all the curry / stew options, stick to the curry] and next time I would go with the full spicy and maybe even ask for the extra hot option.

Jan 04, 2010
dgpeters in Japan

Il Ghiottone - - Wow

I normally try to eat Japanese when I'm in Tokyo, so I have only tried a few western/European restaurants. Il Ghiottone is the first where the meal was so good it rivaled anything I'd eat in Paris, Rome, San Sebastian, etc. One bite after the next; I'll try to do it justice.

The first course was a warm uni dish in a small cup. It is funny that I really dislike uni in the US, but the uni in japan is so different and tasty.

Things started getting interesting with the second course. It was beautifully presented on a black [not shiny] rectangular slab. A variety of thinly sliced radishes, topped asymmetrically with a variety of thinly sliced fish, sauces and foams. There was also some botarga on the plate. So many tastes that you could join together by proximity. A lot of different flavors that worked together and very delicate yet fun.

The third course was the highlight was linguini with komatsuna and shirako and . . . wait for it . . . topped with shaved white truffles. It was very good without the truffles with the pasta being the star, but a generous helping of the truffles [2600 supplement] put it over the top.

Fourth was a small portion risotto with some more white truffles, small amount for flavor, no supplement, and other mushrooms. Minor nit to pick here. I like my risotto a bit creamier than it was served, but I think it was exactly how the chef wanted to serve it.

Next was a small tartlet of foie gras and figs with a white sauce on the top. Not my favorite of the meal especially the abundance of sauce and not a big foie gras fan. However Pookie thought this was fantastic and she loves foie gras, so again a preference and I'd take her opinion.

Sixth and main course was venison. Now since we had just had venison at Restaurant J there was a chance to compare, and it was a split decision. I preferred J and Pookie preferred this venison. She said it was less salty at Il Ghiottone. To me it was a different cut of meat and I preferred the actual venison at J rather than the preparation. Still very good at this place.

Finally dessert. Pookie had a cheese souffle that was quite good based on the bite I had. Called a souffle, but wasn't really a souffle, but light like a souffle. I had their version of Tiramisu. It was interesting. It was mochi mixed it with some mascarpone cheese and then the powdered chocolate on top. I think if you really like mochi this would be a huge hit.

A truly great meal from start to finish. If I had to find fault it would be with the room itself. A very odd shape, and we changed from the first table we sat at that had us both looking at the front door. There were a lot of tables that I would not have wanted in the room based on the layout. Service was good, but not on a par with the food, but they did have some nice touches like matching the wine glasses with the wine selected.

We will definitely be back there again in a two or three months.

Dec 29, 2009
dgpeters in Japan

Ogikubo

Thanks Robb. I'll check out Tomato before I go. Tonight is Il Ghiottone. Looking forward to that based on site feedback.

Dec 28, 2009
dgpeters in Japan

Ogikubo

I've been staying close to Ogikubo / Kichijoji the past two weeks and haven't felt like going into the city every night. There were two places in Ogikubo I really enjoyed. Not saying either is a must go or worth a long train ride, but think if you are out this way and looking you will be very happy.

Namba, なんば , was the best find. It is a sushi place about a 5 minute walk from the station. It seats ten at the sushi bar and there is one table for two so reservations highly recommended because it is usually full. We had to wait until after 9PM for our reservation. The chef and his assistant seem to have much more joy than you usually see and fills the place with a happy atmosphere that is hard to explain. They speak almost no English though so if that bothers you ...

Had the omakase there and it seemed to go on and on for a bargain of 10K yen including some sake. Probably would have been at least 2x that for the amount and quality in most places. On to the food, the highlight for me was the shirako, never had that before. He served that warmed up. So good. The buri was amazing. He must have thought the anago was very good because he served it three different ways. And he really liked using liver in a creative way. I will definitely go back there once more before I leave.

The other places was a soba place called Takabashi, again about a five to ten minute walk from the station. This has been a soba trip for me, trying it in as many places as I can at all different levels to try to understand it. Takabashi again is a small place, man in the back, woman in the front with a great feel. The soba was much better than I expected, actually better than at a big name place in Ginza. They are mainly a lunch place, but they stay open til 8PM so you can get an early dinner there.

I have one place left in Ogikubo to try, honmura-an who is suppose to have some unusual soba / uni dish.

Hope this helps. Wanted to give back to the board a bit since it has been a great help in my visits to Tokyo.

BTW . . . Ivan Ramen was a short walk away so I tried that. Hard for me to give an opinion on that because I'm not a ramen otaku, but there was a twenty person line most of the time so a lot of people liked it.

Dec 27, 2009
dgpeters in Japan

Restaurant J in Hiroo on Christmas

Tried Restaurant J in Hiroo for the first time on Christmas night. Lots of good things to say about it. It was a special fixed menu with about seven small courses for that night so it is probably a bit different with the normal menu.

First, two of dishes were really special. The venison main course was amazing with supposedly Japanese deer cooked perfectly on top of potatoes and about seven different flavors that went well together and didn't overwhelm the star of the dish which was the venison.

The other dish was a bit more unusual. It was some mushrooms, mainly maiyatake and a couple of other types, in a clear, consomme-like broth. This was delicious but then there was a soft boiled egg under the mushrooms and when you broke that yoke it was another delicious flavor in the combination.

Most of the other courses were solid and satisfying and beautifully plated. Only one miss imo and that was a foie gras with smoke. It was presented in a covered bowl and when the top was opened the smoke escaped. The flavor was too smoky, but worse was when the top came off the whole restaurant got a strong odor of the smoke for a couple of minutes. So nice try, but I'd retire that gimmick.

The service was great, very romantic atmosphere as you would expect on that night. And the people serving and dining at the restaurant were mostly Japanese, unlike at Kamu, which I always appreciate for some reason.

In summary, I'd definitely recommend it for Japanese inspired French and the price seemed fair for what we got. There being so many restaurants here I don't think I will be back immediately so it is not a must eat at every month or two, but that list is very short.

Dec 26, 2009
dgpeters in Japan

KaMu - has anyone tried it?

Went to KaMu with three others last night. Not a bad meal, but nothing I would go back to with all the choices in Tokyo. I had the grilled sardines entree and then cassoulet for the main. Both were unremarkable, little flavor, especially surprised by how little flavor in the cassoulet which is a dish that is not too tough and I normally enjoy. Friends had the lamb and salmon for the main. No one was raving, but also no big complaints.

The staff was pleasant, and the Rhone wines on the list were a nice surprise. Also, there were almost no Japanese in the restaurant, either patrons or staff.

Dec 23, 2009
dgpeters in Japan

Hiramatsu in Hiroo?

Hi - I live down in Miami visiting Tokyo for the holidays. Meeting my prospective Japanese in-laws for the first time meal so don't want to pick a bad choice. Didn't see any recent comments on Hiramatsu in Hiroo. Any thoughts on this or suggestion for something similar but better in the Hiroo / Ebisu general area.

BTW, if you ever want missing some amazing Japanese food in Miami area, Naoe in Sunny Isles is the ticket. 17-seat place, all "cooking" / sushi down by the chef / owner. Gets his fish air-lifted from Tsukiji, had some amazing gold ring small octopus there amongst other things a few weeks ago. Not cheap by Miami standards but about like Tokyo prices for a restaurant of that caliber.

Dec 20, 2009
dgpeters in Japan