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trip to Tokyo - my experience

thanks guys teriffic! I'll eat my way through all of them, promised.

Oct 10, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

Ryugin in Roppongi

I don't know, I took a wild guess... (about the stars). do that always with my chef friends and coworkers. bet on the stars and then see what happens. lost big time just now in NYC, thought Per Se would go down one star (thought it was sort of worn out and to restricted in the choices). Also had some bets out who would get one or two stars which didn't come through. But craft was finally stripped ha.

And its not something bad, it is something which might not please you personal palate. big difference. And again, my white fish was fine.

Anyway I am the proverbial fish out of water here, because clearly i don't know enough about Japanese food to really make definitve staements. So I will retract to my regular hunting grounds... until my next eating trip to Tokyo in January. Thanks to everyone for posting their insight here so I could have those great Tokyo eating experiences. If it would have been for everyone on this board, I would have been (sorry to use it) lost in translation!

Oct 10, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

Ryugin in Roppongi

I agree - not all sushi/salt/sauce combis worked equally good - but as far as I understand the trick of a sushi tasting meal (or course) is that you also have a taste amongst it which might not please your palate. it is meant to higthen the pleasing tastes. at least thats the explanation one sushi master gave to to me.

My sushi course was excellent, and I found the new combis quite inspiring. Also, our tasting menu had lots of different textures and dishes.

reading your review and steamers second post, I come to think that maybe the quality differs quite a bit depending who's in the kitchen. At our night it Yamamoto himself was in the kitchen, because he came out and talked to the people at the table next to us. If that's true, he has to get a handle on it for being put into the two star Michelin category, since consistency is one of their big pet peeves.
Three stars might be still a a real stretch, but he seemed to be very young so theres tiem to mature. Though again, I am not so experienced in Japanese cuisine so I might not judge it from a correct perspective.

Oct 08, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

Ryugin in Roppongi

we choose the 21k menu because we couldn't read the menu and just went with the middle ground - lol. for the sake pairing we asked the sommelier to pair sake according to the menu. I don't really know anything about sake and would not have been able to pair it myself - even if I could have read the menu ;-). it was 5k per person, which i thought was very reasonable, considering that if we would have ordered a good bottle of wine (also hard without knowing what you will eat) it would have been a similar price or more.

Oct 04, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

Jiro vs Kyubei sushi

went to kyubei on Monday and really really loved it. I am a sushi fanatic, if that helps to judge the comment a bit. Give it a try! Lunch is well worth the $80 per person.

Oct 03, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

trip to Tokyo - my experience

Hi,

I just went for the fist time to Tokyo and had a hard time before I left to get some recommendations for food - everyone was very vague, and this board was the only one where I got some tips. Thats why I am posting, maybe it helps someone else. I went for business and had only two days so my exploring time was limited.

Here are my premises: I wasn't afraid to spend money, and I have eaten almost anywhere (family in the wine biz, I am in a very food related biz dealing with many chefs) so I was looking for some real out there experiences. I know a bit about food, but nothing about Tokyo, so my apologies if I misrepresent the food scene.

My personal top experiences:

Kyubei in Ginza, 8-7- ?? (You'll find it if you google it, in the center of teh street, looks very upscale in the area) went for lunch, had the 11 piece sushi menu and it was fabulous. I live in NYC and have been to Masa, Marimoto, blue ribbon etc, and this was much, much better and cheaper! will come back to eat their dinner set.

Ryu Gin, Rappaongi (see my post in the topic, address and link in the original post from steamer), great modern high cuisine, in the school of El Bulli/ et al. go for a sake pairing, if you are new to sake like me and come from a wine background.

Ekkwo, small place with modern Japanese home cooking style, more everyday then Ryu Gin, friends took me, the chef is a master chef and the food is great. Komazwa -Dori 2-10-7 Phone: 03-57681819. cool area to walk around too.

went to the fish market (yeah I am a tourist and foodie lol). Went to Daiwa sushi, very good too (though no comparison to the one above). Address: 6-go-to, when you come from the fish market second restaurant with a line, it has two stalls.

Another tourist thing: the basement of the department stores, spend ours tasting everything. plan on being their for at least two hours and come hungry.

absolutely going back, need to deepen my soba experience. If anyone has a great soba place please post.

Oct 03, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan

Ryugin in Roppongi

Hi
I just came back from Tokyo (my first time) and read this review before i went and decided to go for it. Many thanks to steamer for posting this tip here. My Monday and Tuesday were dedicated toward eating my way through Tokyo, and I think Monday will go into my personal history of best eating day ever. Went for lunch to Kyubei in Ginza, and ate the 11 course sushi menu (unbelievable, and I have been to masa, marimoto etc in NYC, this is almost three steps above!). And then at night to Ryu GIn.

Totally worth the experience. I had the 21k menu plus a sake pairing. FYI to give other reaing this an option to rate my comments, my family is in the wine biz and I deal and eat a lot with many famous chefs, I have eaten several times in many of Europes 3 star restaurants and the 5 star ones in the US (the usual suspects) so I have some sort of comparison scale, though unfortunately not a perfect palate as many of my family members.

Not being able to read kanji and not familiar with the restaurant I didn't know what to expect, but was glad to have taken a risk.

I have eaten similar food prepared by Ferran Adria - El Bulli, Spain - and in Chicago (name just escapes me) plus some borderline deconstructed food such as by Rick Tramanto from True, also Chicago and some of Thomas Kellers sur vide cooking.

My review (please note we are talking here on a very high level, most restaurants will never get there - general recommendation is, go as long as you can still get in!)
The food holds up very well for every course with both Keller and Adria, as a matter of fact, some courses exceed in my opinion. His fig foie gras combo paired with the sake was outstanding (I don't have my notes with me, so I can't report details) and the opener of edamame foam with pulvericed ice cream was one of the best things ever. the sushi course explored new taste options by adding a plum sauce and three different home made salts (one crushed shrimp salt) which really brought you to new levels of palate experiences and revealed the different taste components in each piece of sushi depending on your new combo of salt and sauce.
The main dishes sort of lacked a bit in comparison to appetizer and desert. The fish rice dish was a bit disappointing (on a high level though), maybe because it came after so many very defined tastes and our palate was over stimulated, dealing then with a simple rice dish, thought the hint of lime still was very fresh at the end of the menu. Not being a desert person, and never expecting to much of desert, because it is a tough thing for most high end chefs - the surprise was the last course the pulverized ice cream with truffels. This one dish could have well been worth the whole visit. If it would have been for the foie gras and the sushi already before.

But one of the most amazing experiences for me was the sake pairing with each course. I can only URGE every wine person, who is like me not that experienced with sake to spend the extra 5k per person. the sommelier is excellent, and your learnings about sake and the different tastes and menu pairings will be fast forwarded on a speed you can't imagine. That said drink carefully - or at the end of 7 full sake glasses you'll be hammered ;-).

An outstanding experience overall, the sommelier speaks excellent English (a blessing in the sky with this menu) has superior pairing skills - again, if you can spend the extra money go for his sake pairing!!! - , and the food is really an experience even for the most jaded eater. Japanese cuisine seems to lend itself much better to semi-deconstructed food then western food. also if the standards of French high cuisine are applied - to taste every single ingredient - Yamamoto achieved it in every course. the tastes don't blend they linger and each reaches you after the other so you are well aware of each separate ingredient you are tasting.

Summary: worth the insight for any westerner in modern Japanese cuisine, and worth the experience for a traveling foodie.
Price: $$$

Oct 03, 2007
nimmersatt in Japan