Robb S's Profile

Title Last Reply

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

I've never been asked to specify how spicy I want something - I think it's up to the chef and how he prepares that particular dish.

Those dishes all sound pretty standard, other than the satay, which you might see sometimes in Thai places but more often in Indonesian shops. And come to think of it duck isn't that common in Tokyo Thai places.

about 6 hours ago
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Unfortunately a lot of places I really liked have gone out of business, and I haven't yet found replacements, so I'm not quite as enthusiastic about recommending places as I might be.

However, I've enjoyed meals at Sawasdee in Shibuya. Rice Terrace in Nishi-Azabu has been pretty reliable, and a bit more upscale than average. The main Keawjai in Shinjuku seems to have carried on the menu of their beloved Meguro branch (frequented by Thai embassy staff), but I haven't been enough to be sure that it's the same quality.

Perhaps other people can add their favorites to the thread.

If I were to have a single meal though and I wasn't dining with a group of four people, I might go for a buffet. For a fully balanced meal I like to have a spicy salad, soup, steamed and fried dishes, a curry and a spicy dip, plus a bit of dessert, so it's nice to either go with a group or else go to a buffet that has everything.

about 9 hours ago
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Having developed a craving for Thai food after participating in this thread, I visited number 4 on the Tabelog list of best Thai restaurants in Tokyo, Mae Yao in Shinanomachi yesterday.

While I had a better-than-average curry there, the shop lacks some of the characteristics that go into a good Thai restaurant, the most important of which is having more than five menu choices. The menu there offers just three curries (green, red and Mae Yao), beef-noodle soup and stir-fried pork. On the plus side, prices are reasonable (Y780 for curry).

Mae Yao is quite famous, being a branch of the famous Indian and Thai curry shop in Waseda, which is the only way I can account for their high ranking, but even then it's hard to imagine anyone who's been to actual Thai restaurants thinking that this is the fourth-best Thai restaurant in Tokyo.

I know several people on this board have said that they found Tabelog ratings to be reliable, but I wonder if a lot of that might just be confirmation bias.

about 14 hours ago
Robb S in Japan

Ramen/Udon restaurants open on Sunday nights in Tokyo?

Not really, no. I'd estimate that the overlap of ramen shops recommended in this forum and ramen shops located inside large department stores is zero.

Also, restaurants in Tokyo department stores don't stay open until 7 or 8pm, they typically close at 10 or 11pm. (Some very early ones may close at 9pm, and the tiny places located in a depa-chika rather than on a restaurant floor will close at the same time as the store. Although offhand I can't think of any ramen shops in a depachika, or any large department stores that close as early as 7pm.)

1 day ago
Robb S in Japan

Really good yakitori at lunch time in Tokyo

Don't get me wrong - ZenyaRen is a lot of fun, and I've had some nice food there at very reasonable prices. And it's a great place to make last=minute Friday night reservations for a group of ten people. However the menu is huge, incorporating fullish menus (not just three or four items) from seven different restaurants around the country. Prices are so reasonable that I don't mind making repeated visits to find out which dishes are great and which are merely average, but maybe I wouldn't recommend it as one's only Tokyo yakitori experience.

Jul 20, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Really good yakitori at lunch time in Tokyo

I haven't been there myself, but I believe it was recommended on this very board quite recently.

Jul 20, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Recommended Japanese dishes for pescatarian with a milk allergy

That restaurant (Potager) is gone.

Jul 20, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Really good yakitori at lunch time in Tokyo

Yakitoriya are a subcategory of izakaya, and a good rule of thumb is to go to izakaya in the evening, not at lunchtime. Many izakaya aren't even open, or if they are they tend to offer budget-friendly quick teishoku meals.

There may be a few yakitoriya that do a proper meal at lunchtime, but you'll have far more choice in the evening.

Jul 20, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Thanks for that explanation. Are really all noodle dishes thought of as Chinese? Even dishes similar to Pad Thai?

>I think we just have different frames of reference re: Thai flavours.

I'll admit that I might not bring a Thai person to the buffet at Mango Tree, but as a general introduction to Thai cuisine for someone from northern Europe I don't think it's such a bad choice - especially since it's a buffet. Don't judge them just on their ekiben.

And you seem skeptical that there could be good Thai restaurants in Tokyo, but I've had some quite nice Thai meals here, surrounded by Thai customers, some of them (the dishes) reminiscent of more upscale Bangkok spots, not just street stalls. One thing I've learned is to order from the "chef's specials" corner of the menu when possible. And to look for nam phrik dishes on the menu, for a fully balanced meal....

Jul 18, 2014
Robb S in Japan
1

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

I haven't been there yet, but I'd probably pick Marunouchi - it seems to have the biggest selection of dishes. I imagine it's at least as good as the smaller, cheaper Ikebukuro branch, which I thought was pretty satisfying for a buffet....

Jul 18, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Ha, do you want me to name names?

Actually as of now I've been to a fourth place in their top ten (Jasmine Thai in Yotsuya for lunch today), and it was okay, although relatively expensive for what you get. The dinner menu looked promising enough though.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

I've been to the lunch buffet at Jim Thompson and found it okay but underwhelming (after I had heard good reports about it). But I really enjoyed the dinner buffet at a different Mango Tree (not Marunouchi). If I had to pick one or the other I'd probably pick Marunouchi Mango Tree.

And when you're eating Thai food it's nice to try a lot of different dishes and flavors, so a well-provisioned buffet table is very appealing, especially if you're dining alone or with just one other person.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Well sure, they want to stay in business, don't they.

I've spent quite a bit of time in Thailand, and also eaten at various branches of Mango Tree and Jim Thompson, and one thing I like about Mango Tree is certain aromas of spices that are reminiscent of Bangkok, that one doesn't encounter in many other mainstream chain Thai places in Tokyo. Although of course the hot spices are toned down quite a bit, and you don't get some of the more interestingly pungent dishes that I used to enjoy in Kabukicho.

I think the "Thaisuki" at Coca might be very close to what they serve in Bangkok though. Although Thai people think it's Chinese.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

"And, for what it's worth, here's the Thai rankings..."

I'd say the Thai rankings at Tabelog are not worth a lot. I've been to three places in their top ten - two of them are really awful and overpriced (but well known), and one is just a neighborhood curry joint with Thai pretensions.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

I've had very good Thai food in various spots in Kabukicho, but places there tend to come and go, so I don't have any current recommendations. I've also heard good things about Kinshicho.

Back to Mango Tree, I think they're also owned by a Thai company, no? Or at least they seem to have some connection with Coca (there's a combination Coca-Mango Tree in Yurakucho Bic Camera), which is run by a Bangkok-based company. The "Thai sukiyaki" they specialize in here is called "Cantonese sukiyaki" back in Thailand.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Ah, that's too bad, I've enjoyed all the other branches of Mango Tree that I've been to, especially their buffets.

Jul 17, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Salmon at any sushi-ya in Tokyo?

I'd be interested in learning more. Googling "salmon volumizers" (without quotes) turns up no information on this practice. All I see is that salmon are sometimes deboned by hand in China.

Jul 16, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

Thanks. Robbie also posts here occasionally, as "Tokyo Food File" I believe.

Jul 11, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Takeshi Yasuge still the chef at Fugu Fukuji?

You don't have to call during business hours to see if the line is disconnected though. And if you call around this time you won't wake anyone even if you get a wrong number.

Jul 10, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Takeshi Yasuge still the chef at Fugu Fukuji?

You can easily call the number and see if it's out of service.

Jul 10, 2014
Robb S in Japan

High End Thai restaurant in Tokyo

Mango Tree's flagship restaurant on the 35th floor of the Marunouchi Building is on the upscale end of Thai in Tokyo - they have a Y10,800 prix-fixe dinner menu for example.

The food's not precisely what you'd get in Bangkok, but there are some real Thai flavors in there.

Jul 01, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

No problem at all, people get us mixed up all the time. (Because I also write about restaurants, but on a website, not for a newspaper or a blog.)

Sorry, I don't know Kanemasu - as I said there are tens of thousands of izakaya out there....

Jul 01, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

Also note that the list above lists a few of my favorites, not necessarily recommendations for you. Some of them use beer crates for seats, and many have no English-speaking staff or menus.

Jul 01, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

Well, favorite izakayas is a more interesting question. Here are some of my favorites off the top of my head. I'm not sure they'll match your interests, but some of them might (and they might be of interest to others here).

- Bakuro in Ebisu for the fantastic grilled horsemeat and pleasant old-fashioned decor

- Dachibin in Koenji for the lively atmosphere, great Okinawan food and cheap prices

- HaruKor in Okubo for the many venison and mountain-vegetable dishes and the dirt-cheap prices

- Kushibeh in Koenji for the excellent yakitori and sake selection

- Lo in Sangenjaya for the heirloom-breed grilled pork and the creative vegetable dishes

- Mondo in Nihonbashi for the Shimane cuisine and sake

- Souten Minami-guchi in Otsuka for the grilled game birds and the excellent sake selection

- Teppen in Otemachi because it's noisy and fun, with good food and reasonable prices

- Toki no Ma in Ebisu, despite its flaws, for the balance of a wide-ranging menu (from horse sushi to multiple varieties of satsuma-age), extensive limited-edition sake list, convenient late-night hours and reasonable prices

- Wattaribozu in Gotanda for the unusual Akita cuisine and sake

- Yuian in Nishi-Shinjuku for the reliable food, great view, gorgeous decor and good value for money

(PS. Robbie Swinnerton writes for the Japan Times and maintains a blog called Tokyo Food File, which indeed has many good izakaya tips. I'm not him though.)

Jul 01, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Top 10 Izakayas in Tokyo - whats your suggestions

>I guess people want to protect their info.

I don't think that's it. It just seems like it's missing the point to try to figure out the "best ten" out of the tens of thousands of izakaya that you can choose from. People who live in Tokyo tend to have their own favorites - maybe it's for the sake selection, or the ambience, or the grilled meats or fresh seafood or original dishes. And value for money is generally an important factor in choosing someplace you go to regularly.

I've certainly shared some of my favorite places here (and, um, elsewhere), but I doubt that they'd be of interest to someone looking for a "top ten." (And they'd probably be most interesting to sake drinkers.)

Jul 01, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Sushi Sawada review

You might want to check the dates on all these long-dormant posts that you're reviving. If the OP hasn't answered requests for details after almost a year, they're probably not going to.

Jun 29, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Mochi ice cream in tokyo

It's called Ice Parlor by the way, located next to Gyoza Stadium. Y500 separate admission to Namja Town, but maybe worth it if you like gyoza....

Jun 28, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Value restaurants in Tokyo

That would be great - have a good trip!

Jun 27, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Value restaurants in Tokyo

Thanks for posting that - it looks like an interesting list! I've found some good recommendations from Time Out, although I sometimes disagree with their suggestions. (Also they often write up places that haven't opened yet, so I wonder about that.)

I've only been to around a dozen of those places - I'd say the most memorable were Bon, Butagumi, and Moto, but there aren't any I would warn against. Goodbeer Faucets has also gotten much better, Bincho does a nice Nagoya-style unagi, and Katsukura and Ivy Place are pretty reliable.

Jun 27, 2014
Robb S in Japan

Value restaurants in Tokyo

I'm not sure how you interpreted what I said as meaning you shouldn't try those new places. I just said that it might be helpful (to you, to other visitors, to me) to post something like that on the board, and maybe hear some opinions from people who have actually been there.

Of course you can still go to those places even if they get negative reviews here. And other people reading get to learn about different places (other than the same dozen standbys), which is kind of the point of Chowhound. I know I'm always interested in learning about new spots.

Jun 26, 2014
Robb S in Japan