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Sukiyabashi Jiro

Ok, I'll bite...

I've been to the son's location in Roppongi several times mixed between lunch and dinner and to the main branch in Ginza once for dinner, where Jiro was serving.

At least in my experiences, I found the Roppongi setting to be far more approachable and enjoyable. Along with my guest, generally for lunch we were the only two people in the restaurant on several occasions. In other cases, there may have been one other small group or couple. At the main branch on one weekday for dinner, it was just my group of two and another group of four, all Japanese.

FYI, I'm a gaijin. My guest was Japanese. In Roppongi, they happily speak English and seemed to enjoy conversing with the guests, explaining items upon request, soliciting feedback and comments. It was interactive and mutual in terms of the discussion. A very quiet setting, I did not feel rushed, but the meal is rather fast compared to say, French, or another multi course plated experience.

In Ginza, I definitely felt like there was a wall between Jiro and his guests. The other table of Japanese folks were constantly praising him, it was almost pathetic to be honest, but I am trying to respect the culture here and acknowledge that it is normal and perhaps even expected in this setting with this master chef. He himself was stoic, didn't say much and certainly did not speak any English to anyone in the establishment. I felt the dinner to be even more rushed despite that the bulk of the restaurant was empty.

All that said, the sushi meals at both of these establishments have consistently been the best in my life and while the price is incredibly high, I would recommend it be tried - at least once (or twice!)

Mar 10, 2013
ainternational in Japan

Birthday in Tokyo - On a Sunday

Hi Folks..

I'm going to be celebrating a birthday soon in Japan on a Sunday evening and am wondering what you would suggest for a special experience and excellent restaurant. While I've been to Ryugin and the likes, I've found that most of the restaurants consistently recommended on this forum (several of which I've enjoyed and others not yet) are closed on Sundays. Other places such as Sawada Sushi seem to close early (8pm as I understand it).

Can anyone recommend anything special for a Sunday night? Certainly doesn't have to play into a birthday theme at all, but just something special and extravagant.


Aug 05, 2012
ainternational in Japan

Tokyo Pizza

This looks decent judging from the pictures on the website. But if you come to the SF Bay Area, check out Zach's and Patxi's, the latter being my favorite - dare I say I like it more than Chicago based legends like Gino's East. Gasp!

Jul 27, 2012
ainternational in Japan

Tokyo Pizza

Wow, this is a good tip re Savoy! Thanks for that. Is it white sauce based? Wonder where they hide that. Never seen them make it. Does this work if you are sharing pizzas?

Re Da Isa, thanks for the tip. Will give those two a whirl next time and see what comes out!

Jul 26, 2012
ainternational in Japan

Tokyo Pizza

Not living in Tokyo, I haven't had as many opportunities to sample the goods as some of you, but here's what I've found thus far..

First, I haven't really been seeking American style pizza in Japan. Instead I prefer Naples style. Da Isa is probably far and away the best pizza I've had in the city. The owner / chef is literally world renown and has one several competitions in Naples, as is evidenced by the trophies in the restaurant. The menu also has quite a few interesting options and appetizers. On the flip side, the restaurant itself often has a line for lunch of up to an hour on the weekends and it isn't exactly romantic or even very nice looking inside or out. This is a place I'd go with friends or family, certainly not for a 'date' or some such. I believe they may take reservations for dinner, but not for lunch.

On the flip side, I really like the quaint environment at Savoy is Azabu Juban. While the menu lacks somewhat (exactly two types of pizzas as I recall), there are some decent appetizers / antipasto. Reservations recommended simply because there are so few seats. I really enjoyed their chilled broccoli appetizer here. I find the pizzas good but a little more oily than Da Isa.

Someone mentioned Salvatore Brothers, which I find to be generally sub par when compared to the above two. Especially the value for dinner at locations such as in XEX Atago Hills and Roppongi Hills I find to be pretty piss poor. They are 'classier' environments, so if you are willing to mortgage quality for that, then this could work for you.

BTW, if anyone knows what that item is named on the Da Isa menu (I don't read Japanese or Italian) which seems to have pasta INSIDE a piadini style crust, I'd like to try it..

Jul 26, 2012
ainternational in Japan

Tokyo's Romantic Restaurants...

Thanks for all the replies, folks. Spent the last week in Tokyo. Despite what normally constitutes "romantic", we felt Narisawa was indeed quite romantic in the way we experienced it, at a corner table in the back with delightful service.

On the other hand, I'd say that Tapas Molecular at the MO was hardly romantic given the bar style seating with other couples. Aaron, the new chef from the UK, made the experience enjoyable and fun but I won't be returning. It was good, but not great, and not a great value for the money.

The main Aso was closed for a private party on the night I had free, so we went to Ginza Aso which was so-so at best.

Jul 23, 2012
ainternational in Japan

Tokyo's Romantic Restaurants...

Hi Folks...

I'm interested to get your collective feedback on what are Tokyo's most romantic restaurants. Generally speaking, I'm thinking party of two, on a date, or a small group for an intimate occasion. To me, romantic may be a restaurant with a stunning view, a darker ambiance with candle lit lighting, fantastic service or private dining. Of course many other things would qualify as well.

I guess some of the choices which come to mind which I've experienced include:

NY Grill at the Park Hyatt - Especially with a table against the window. Splendid views, good service, live music in the evenings and a generally high class, classy ambiance.

XEX Atago Hills - Also for the views. There are Japanese and Italian venues plus the bar with live jazz. Not as classy as the NY Grill, and the food isn't quite up to snuff IMHO, but none the less, fairly romantic, candle lit and a nice experience.

Il Mulino - While not the favorite of many Japanese I've met, I find this restaurant with its classy NY ambiance, candles and roses on the table and great service to be incredibly romantic and a great experience. Despite how others may feel, I thoroughly enjoy the food here.

Ryugin - While not exceptionally exciting in terms of romance, there's something about the cozy interior and excellent service (not to mention the food!) which I think is still somehow romantic in a sense.

What other restaurants would you all recommend? I'm curious if folks would consider Les Creations de Narisawa and the Tapas Molecular bar to be romantic? I've also experienced Jiro and other high end sushi in Japan, but I wouldn't consider these places romantic despite the price and quality of food and service.

What do you all think?

Jul 11, 2012
ainternational in Japan