Robb S's Profile

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Non-smoking Izakaya in Tokyo?

Nakamura in Ebisu might be a good choice: http://bento.com/rev/3627.html

There's also Torimikura in Aomi, a yakitori specialist: http://bento.com/rev/1384.html

Okagesan in Yotsuya (03-3355-8100) has good food, but is a bit cramped for the price you pay.

Kushinobo Bekkan in Shinjuku (03-3354-2403) is nice if you like kushiage.

Other choices are Ishii in Shimbashi (03-3593-0141), Hakarime in Ginza (03-6253-7070), and every branch of Gompachi.

There are probably many others; it's hard to keep track as more an more places go non-smoking. In general, newer places with serious sake lists are a good place to start looking.

about 5 hours ago
Robb S in Japan

? Status of Dons de la Nature in Tokyo

Something similar happened to a friend of mine a year ago, except he eventually found them and they opened up and served him a meal.

Jun 30, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tokyo: Shimo or Ebisu? Food tours?

Ebisu has somewhat more interesting food choices, but Shimo-Kitazawa is far more interesting for shopping.

If you like ramen, Brian MacDuckston of the Ramen Adventures website can give you information about ramen tours if you contact him via the site.

Jun 15, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Kyoto - Waygu Steaks - mixology

Cordon Noir has a good reputation for cocktails, but I haven't been myself.

If you want to drink local one night, Plus Sake Bar has nice tasting sets of craft sake from around the country: http://bento.com/kansai/rev/7178.html

Jun 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New Taco Bell in Shibuya

Thanks for the report!

Apparently the pork they use is imported from Italy. Beef from Australia or New Zealand I think.

Jun 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New Taco Bell in Shibuya

>akazu
Sorry I don't know what that is.

You can check their website: http://tacobell.co.jp/
(If it doesn't crash your browser.)

May 22, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New Taco Bell in Shibuya

The menu says the set includes "drink bar" rather than just "drink," so I assume that means free refills. I've seen that system in some family restaurants.

BTW for any Taco Bell watchers out there - the Shibuya branch offers two Japan-only items, the shrimp-avocado burrito and the taco rice bowl.

May 22, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New Taco Bell in Shibuya

I went to Taco Bell yesterday at 5:30pm, and waited about five or six minutes on line and maybe another five minutes for my food, with one of those buzzer contraptions to tell me when it was ready.

I'd never been to Taco Bell before so I can't compare Shibuya to other branches, but the tacos had a nice balance of flavors, fat and crunchiness. I can see it having a certain appeal as a late-night snack.

My tortilla chips were unpleasantly salty though, and didn't come with any kind of sauce. I left about half of them.

I think my two tacos, side dish (chips or french fries) and drink bar came to Y790 plus tax.

Service seemed to be efficient, but then they got my order wrong (it was packed to go rather than to stay), so maybe not. Drinks are self-service, which I imagine speeds things up. The maitre d' hands you a menu when you enter, so you can spend your time on line pondering what to order.

There's a lot of seating down in the basement, but there were also free spots on the first floor dining area when I was there.

May 21, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Craft beer bars in Tokyo

If they have the duck a l'orange it's probably worth a try. Keep in mind that it's better-than-average bar food, not haute cuisine.

For beer recommendations, you can try posting here the day you go, otherwise there's no way to guess what they'll have on tap.

May 19, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tabelog . . . now in English!!

I tried to use it last week to find top-rated restaurants in Nippori, and the search engine was still buggy. The first page worked fine, but the second page gave me random listings from Kyoto. Hopefully they'll test it at some point and fix it.

May 08, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Looking for a Traditional Soba or Udon Shop in Kagurazaka (near Iidabashi)

Tenko is a hidden gem, although they serve tempura, not soba. It is in a cobblestone alley though, and somewhat difficult to find without GPS. Dinner starts at Y16,000, but lunch starts at Y2,600.

http://bento.com/rev/0863.html

May 07, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Question on Sushi Reservations

I guess this sort of highly focused itinerary is the logical outcome of the direction this board has been moving in, but it's nonetheless rather depressing.

I know that there are American tourists who prefer to eat nothing but fast-food hamburgers wherever they travel in the world. They've chosen to ignore local cuisine and culinary culture in favor of eating something they're comfortable with, and that's fine if that's what they want to do.

I have a feeling though that many of the people who post their sushi-of-the-day itineraries here don't realize that they're doing something very similar - ignoring the vast range of Japanese cuisine and an amazingly rich culinary culture in favor of something they're familiar with. I just think it's a shame if they don't even know that they're missing something.

Sorry not to be more helpful with the specifics of your questions, but I'm sure there will be sushi experts chiming in with good advice.

Apr 17, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tsukiji: Recommendations for Uni Don

I usually go to Uogashi Senryo: http://bento.com/rev/3214.html

Mar 23, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New York Grill - yea or nay?

I tend to prefer fancy egg dishes, fruit and pastries for brunch, but if you just want a big lunch for brunch there are lots and lots of lunchtime buffets in Tokyo hotels and elsewhere.

Besides the New York Grill, ones that come to mind are the Grand Hyatt (French Kitchen), Westin, various Prince Hotels, Hilton, New Otani (Trader Vic's), and I'm sure there are many others.

Mar 22, 2015
Robb S in Japan

New York Grill - yea or nay?

I've never seen all-you-can-eat foie gras here, so I guess Tokyo doesn't measure up to Hong Kong or Singapore in that regard. I'm not sure where you'd find a buffet with sushi; maybe the Westin?

I have been to the New York Grill Sunday Brunch. ASAIK the content is exactly the same as the New York Grill's weekday lunch, except that it costs Y1900 more and it comes with a flute of champagne.

Mar 21, 2015
Robb S in Japan

One night in Tokyo

Daichi no Okurimono is a nice all-you-can-eat buffet spot, specializing in natural foods, where you can relax and not worry about ordering. You should try to reserve in advance though, depending on the night of the week. http://www.bento.com/rev/2701.html

Mar 19, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Japan April 2015 - (Yet another) Suggestions thread

I've already given my advice; you're certainly free to ignore it, as you seem determined to do.

Mar 19, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Japan April 2015 - (Yet another) Suggestions thread

My advice is that when a place like Honoka specifically requests that you not go there, maybe you should respect the wishes of the owner (who's mainly concerned with efficiently serving his other customers) and not go there. Perhaps instead you could choose one of the other 100,000 restaurants in Tokyo that haven't asked you to stay away.

Mar 18, 2015
Robb S in Japan
1

Tokyo bars - reservations needed?

I would definitely recommend reservations at DevilCraft Hamamatsucho, as it always fills up. The Kanda branch is sometimes full as well, and there's really no reason not to reserve.

Mar 18, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Eating in or around Tsukiji Market

Hmm, the eel place might have been Miyagawa Honten (03-3541-1292)....

Mar 13, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Large Group Dinner in Osaka

Assuming you're talking about March 20th this year, it's a Friday night, so I'd suggest that you get on the phone as soon as possible to reserve a spot. Or ask for help from someone who knows the city a little better.

But first of all, you don't want ramen. Ramen shops in Japan are set up to handle single diners and small groups quickly and efficiently. You wait on line, you eat your noodles, and you get out quickly - their whole business model depends on that happening, so ramenya are not at all suitable for group meals.

I'm not sure what Japanese BBQ is - presumably you're referring to yakiniku, or Korean BBQ? It's better for sit-down meals, but decent places tend to charge a bit more than your budget allows.

I'd suggest finding a nice budget izakaya that has a two-hour party plan for a set price, where you can settle in and relax for a few hours. (If someone in the group knows what they're doing you can even order small dishes and drinks a la carte and then split the bill at the end, as long as everyone understands that they're paying the same price no matter what they eat and drink.)

If you want to eat something more local than just generic Japanese cuisine, kushiage is an excellent choice. The Kushiya chain has several shops around Osaka, and it's a lot of fun - you get to deep-fry your own meat and vegetable skewers, and they have various all-you-can-eat and drink plans. http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8076.... is a branch in Umeda that's near nightlife, but you should check other branches too. (They are generally popular though, so you might have to hunt around at this late date.

)

Good luck!

Mar 12, 2015
Robb S in Japan
1

Restaurant recommendations near Park Hyatt Shinjuku?

Ah, that's a shame - I liked that place. It looks like the whole company has gone under.

Mar 11, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Restaurant recommendations near Park Hyatt Shinjuku?

Yuian is always reliable, and has good price performance: http://www.bento.com/rev/0685.html

If you want to try lots of different types of sake, Yoshimoto is the place: http://www.bento.com/rev/3987.html

Sangendou has a lot of izakaya atmosphere and good sake and food: http://www.bento.com/rev/2247.html

Mar 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tokyo & Kyoto Eating Plan (Reservation Secured!)

Sorry, no thoughts on Hatsunezushi - I generally leave the sushi recommendations to others on this board who are more expert than I.

(Or I just tell people to go to the very reliable Kyubey once, and then try eating like Tokyo residents - i.e. sample some izakaya, regional restaurants and specialty cuisines like tempura rather than multiple sushi meals. But that's just my preference - if you want sushi, go for it.)

Mar 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

suggestion for dinner first night in tokyo

Ah, I misread your post then. Thanks for the specific shop suggestions above, too!

Mar 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Restaurant recommendations near Park Hyatt Shinjuku?

Maybe sushi at Kyubei in the Keio Hotel....

Mar 09, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tokyo & Kyoto Eating Plan (Reservation Secured!)

Just a few comments - "Depachika" and "Nishiki Market" are both markets where you can buy things to take home (or back to your hotel room) to cook and eat.

There may be a food stall or two in any given depachika, but you're generally better off heading to that department store's restaurant floor, not their food hall.

There's a good vegetable restaurant in Nishiki Market, but you should reserve ahead of time. (It's called Yaoya no Nikai). Or pick a restaurant in the surrounding streets - there are three branches of Katsukura near Nishiki Market, so you can go there for lunch and somewhere else for dinner on Day 2. (There are plenty of choices in the Kyoto Station Building: http://www.bento.com/kansai/ka-kystat... .) For example Kokkekokko in the station has the feel of an izakaya, with regional sake and good grilled chicken, and it's very accessible.

Mar 09, 2015
Robb S in Japan

suggestion for dinner first night in tokyo

Did you read the OP's post? They're landing at 9pm, so it's pretty unlikely that they'd get to Shinagawa before closing time, even if they went there directly from the airport with their luggage.

Mar 08, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Kyoto: sit-downs near train station

Also Kokkekokko does nice yakitori (http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7040.... ) and I've had nice tofu-centered meals at Shozankaku http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7038....

Mar 03, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Kyoto: sit-downs near train station

There are hundreds of restaurants in the station complex. I quite like Sepporai http://bento.com/m/ekansai/rest/7179....

Mar 03, 2015
Robb S in Japan