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what is involved in visiting the main tokyo fish market to eat sushi there??

That's not brunch, that's lreakfast.

Nov 01, 2011
waetherman in Japan

what is involved in visiting the main tokyo fish market to eat sushi there??

Update: after doing a little research, it turns out I was at Daiwa. I guess I got lucky going in to one of the recommended ones by chance. And I guess I was lucky that there was no line at all as well - we walked right in on a Wednesday morning around 7:30 AM. Here's a pic (not mine) of the counter there - the chef on the far right was super-nice, and made ordering easy even without much Japanese:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeleeo...

I sympathize with the view that waiting is usually a waste of time, but some things are worth waiting for; not all sushi is equal, and there is a big difference between supermarket sushi and the stuff you'll get at Tsukiji. That said, there is probably significantly less difference between places in the inner market, or perhaps even outer market, as edozanmai said - after all, these places are all serving super fresh fish, and they know what they're doing. I guess I am a little more wary of just choosing any place though, after my experience in the outer market when one vendor was so pushy trying to sell us some lower quality cuts of fish.

One thing to keep in mind is that the long waits are probably depending on the season, and are probably a lot less these days because people are not visiting Japan much - between the high cost (really strong yen) and the whole Fukishima event, tourism is down significantly in Japan. So now is a good time to go, especially if you're not going to be there during a typical vacation time. I think it's probably going to be fine, but even if you have to wait a bit it's probably worth it.

Oct 25, 2011
waetherman in Japan

what is involved in visiting the main tokyo fish market to eat sushi there??

I can only speak for the one I went to - it was a couple doors down from the the one with the biggest line, the one at the end of the row that had the velvet ropes outside to contol the lines. The one we went to was about halfway down the same row, had a nice wood interior,with a long bench on the right side with seating for about 8 total. Really nice guy at the front, really great sushi and good recommendations. A Chinese family sitting next to us saiid they'd been coming to the same place every morning and they definitely knew their fish, so I think it's a good shop.

Oct 22, 2011
waetherman in Japan

what is involved in visiting the main tokyo fish market to eat sushi there??

I'm not sure - I get the sense from the guidebooks that the inner market shops are an early morning thing, but the outer shops might stay open later. The sushi shops are really for visiting tourists, and as such probably close up when the tourists stop coming, but the rest of the shops are for commercial consumers (restaurant suppliers, etc) and probably stay open a little later.

Oct 22, 2011
waetherman in Japan

Non-Traditional Japanese Food in Tokyo?

Solid recommendation, Robb - great find. We had the following with great results;

Appetizer:
Dried tomato and Camembert tempura; **** good separate, great together
Kimchi fried soft-shelled crab; ***** delicious flavor, though a bit greasy
Caeser salad w/purple sweet potato; *** overdressed a bit, could have used more of the delicious sweet potato crisps
Potato & salmon; *** good, but unexceptional

Main:
Grilled chicken w/yuzu salt; ***** ah-MAZE-ing. Moist, delicious flavor, great roast hot pepper sauce, great value too (1400 y)
Sirloin with truffle salt and watercress: **** exceptional buttery texture, great flavor, rich and delicious. I'm glad I shared this with my wife because a whole plate of it probably would have been too rich for me.

We probably ordered too much food, but the menu was just too good to pass up. Overall a four-star restaurant with good value - cost us about 5000 y per person. The only downside was there was no non-smoking section, but I guess that's to be expected in Japan.

PS those looking for this establishment, it's easy to find. Take the JR to Shinjuku station, exit out of the east exit, go immediately right and then down about 1 block. Nowa building is right there, take the elevator to the third floor.

Oct 19, 2011
waetherman in Japan

Good croissants in Tokyo ?

I agree. I ate at the Shibuya location (located in the food court of the Mark City mall) and it was really tasty. I didn't try the plain croissant but the almond croissant I had blew me away, as did some of the other pastries I had there. Good spot indeed.

Oct 19, 2011
waetherman in Japan

Non-Traditional Japanese Food in Tokyo?

Interesting suggestions - I could do with tongue, but I'm not sure I can go for horse meat though. It's a little too unusual...

I guess I was just looking for restaurants that are more nouveau-style japanese foods or fusion restaurants.

Oct 19, 2011
waetherman in Japan

what is involved in visiting the main tokyo fish market to eat sushi there??

To echo on what edozanmai said, I'd say it's good to arrive somewhere around 7:30 as well. When you get there you'll get a map from the security guard, and he can tell you where you need to go and where not to; there are specific areas (the commercial fish market) that are closed to interlopers until 9:00am, though you can catch a glimpse of the action from outside - just watch out for the electric carts zipping around - they'll run you over if you're not careful. Inside the compound there is an inner market where there are restaurants and vendors for some produce and such. That's one option for eating. Outside the compound there are a few blocks of side streets called the outer market, and this is where more retail business takes place. There are a few restaurants there too, and they tend to be less expensive.

We went this morning and ended up eating sushi at the inner market. It was among the best sushi I've ever eaten, and definitely an experience worth having. I don't know the name of the place but there are about a dozen to choose from and if you go to a place that has a good sized crowd inside or a line, you'll probably do fine. The inner market prices seem to run about 300-1200 yen per piece, so it's pretty easy to run up a bill of 3000-5000 depending on your taste and appetite. Most of the restaurants have a sampler for about 3500, though I think ordering by the piece is the way to go.

The outer markets seem to have lower prices - samplers for about 2000, though the ambiance isn't quite the same. If you're all about the food and not about the scene, the outer market also has fish by the pound, and you can pick up a couple of good sized chunks of fish and a fresh wasabi root and make your own sushi for probably half the price. We ended up getting some fish to go (to take to a friend's house for lunch later) and the only downside is that you need to know your fish well; one stand tried to get us to buy some lesser cuts of fish already packaged as a bundle for foreigners, I'd guess. If buying in chunks, look for stuff that is packaged and priced - that's the easiest way to go.

Oct 19, 2011
waetherman in Japan

Non-Traditional Japanese Food in Tokyo?

Just in Tokyo for a few days, and we've already traveled the country and tried most of the traditional eats (sushi, tonkatsu, soba, ramen, traditional 16-plate meals, etc) to the point where we're looking for something different. Ideally we'd like something still Japanesey, but with a twist. Something like Butagumi seems like a good fit, but I'm already a bit tonkatsu'd out. Anything else people can recommend?

We're staying in Shibuya, but not averse to trekking a bit for something really good. Also, trying not to spend $100 a person, so unique eats on the lower end of the price scale are preferred.

Oct 19, 2011
waetherman in Japan