Robb S's Profile

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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

Authentic bánh mì in Tokyo

Had a pretty good fried pork banh mi sandwich yesterday at Cafe Hai in Kiyosumi. They also serve pho with pork cakes, and Com Tron Rau Thit (rice with fried pork and fresh vegetables), which I didn't try. They serve a late lunch until 5:30pm, at which time they close for the day. http://bento.com/rev/4535.html

Feb 25, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Arossa in Shibuya?

Ah I wasn't sure if he was a partner or just worked there. Looking at Tabelog listings, it says that Arossa Shibuya opened in April 2000, and Underground Mr. Zoogunzoo, another Rocks 125 spinoff, opened in December 1999.

Feb 25, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Arossa in Shibuya?

I know what you mean. Didn't he start at Rocks 125 in Harajuku?

Feb 25, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Arossa in Shibuya?

I think he sold out at least 8 or 10 years ago. It's been owned by the Singapore-headquartered PJ Group (Salt, Tucano's, Manuel) for quite awhile.

Feb 24, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tepito in Shimokitazawa -- Good Mexican food?

Thanks, and yes, that was me. Although as you know I'm from New York, where Mexican food was quite exotic, so I'm no expert. But of the twenty or so places I've been in Tokyo, that's probably my favorite.

Also I had a nice meal at Salsa Cabana in Yotsuya last month, a bit more Tex-Mex in style but quite tasty.

Feb 23, 2015
Robb S in Japan

The "remarkable value" special lunch spot

There is a lovely farmers market in Tokyo, Saturdays and Sundays until 4pm: http://www.whereintokyo.com/venues/25...

For weekdays and evenings I'd recommend checking out some department store food halls ("depachika" in Japanese) such as Isetan or Takashimaya in Shinjuku, or Matsuya or Mitsukoshi in Ginza. (Depachika are mostly set up for take-out though, rather than snacking on-premises.)

Feb 23, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tepito in Shimokitazawa -- Good Mexican food?

I thought the food at Tepito was very good. They also have an impressive tequila list. And friendly service.

My favorite Mexican food place in Tokyo is Tepito.

Feb 23, 2015
Robb S in Japan

suggestion for dinner first night in tokyo

If you don't mind a 15- or 20-minute cab ride, Dedesuke in Shimbashi does nice grilled chicken and other meats. If you want something closer to your hotel, Soba Kichi in Marunouchi has a fun atmosphere, although they specialize in kushiage (deep-fried skewers) rather than yakitori.

(This is assuming you're arriving on a night other than Sunday.)

Dedesuke: http://www.bento.com/rev/4512.html
Soba Kichi: http://www.bento.com/rev/3169.html

Feb 20, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Arossa in Shibuya?

In my experience (and that of friends I've talked with), the food is great, the wine is great, but the service is quite subpar for the price you're paying. When you're paying >Y10,000 for dinner you shouldn't have to repeatedly hunt down a waiter every single time you want to order something.

But I haven't been in awhile; perhaps it's gotten better. (I'd be happy to learn if it has.)

Feb 19, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tokyo Itinerary Feeback

I don't know Shirube in Shimo-Kitazawa. Uoshin is good, or you could check out Champrouse (http://bento.com/rev/1443.html ) for Okinawan cuisine.

I like Toki no Ma quite a bit for their food, sake and tasteful decor. (Tokyo is a modern, cosmopolitan city, not a quaint farm village, and modern decor is part of its charm.)

Other Ebisu options are Bakuro (for horsemeat), and Dedesuke (for chicken and beef).

Reservations are always a good idea, at least for your first stop of the night. A lot of places are small and don't have multiple seatings, so if they're full, they're full and they just turn you away.

Jan 10, 2015
Robb S in Japan

Tokyo Itinerary Feeback

Izakaya every night?

That sounds like an excellent idea to me. (And a lot more interesting than expensive sushi every night, like many visitors who pass this way.)

A few comments:

- Okinawan is definitely worth a try, although maybe not an absolute must during a short visit. On the other hand, it might be more interesting than ramen if you're already having ramen multiple times.

- I've recently discovered that branches of Kyushu do vary somewhat in quality. The Shibuya branch has always been reliable for me, though, and I think it's one of the better picks in that neighborhood for after midnight.

- For Shimo-Kitazawa Tenmamichi would be my choice, especially if you like sake. Also they do nice kushiage and oden, which you might not run into elsewhere. Our local resident Shimo-Kitazawa expert Silverjay may also have other suggestions. (One nice thing about izakaya is that you can go to more than one in an evening.)

Jan 09, 2015
Robb S in Japan