I've been staying close to Ogikubo / Kichijoji the past two weeks and haven't felt like going into the city every night. There were two places in Ogikubo I really enjoyed. Not saying either is a must go or worth a long train ride, but think if you are out this way and looking you will be very happy.
Namba, なんば , was the best find. It is a sushi place about a 5 minute walk from the station. It seats ten at the sushi bar and there is one table for two so reservations highly recommended because it is usually full. We had to wait until after 9PM for our reservation. The chef and his assistant seem to have much more joy than you usually see and fills the place with a happy atmosphere that is hard to explain. They speak almost no English though so if that bothers you ...
Had the omakase there and it seemed to go on and on for a bargain of 10K yen including some sake. Probably would have been at least 2x that for the amount and quality in most places. On to the food, the highlight for me was the shirako, never had that before. He served that warmed up. So good. The buri was amazing. He must have thought the anago was very good because he served it three different ways. And he really liked using liver in a creative way. I will definitely go back there once more before I leave.
The other places was a soba place called Takabashi, again about a five to ten minute walk from the station. This has been a soba trip for me, trying it in as many places as I can at all different levels to try to understand it. Takabashi again is a small place, man in the back, woman in the front with a great feel. The soba was much better than I expected, actually better than at a big name place in Ginza. They are mainly a lunch place, but they stay open til 8PM so you can get an early dinner there.
I have one place left in Ogikubo to try, honmura-an who is suppose to have some unusual soba / uni dish.
Hope this helps. Wanted to give back to the board a bit since it has been a great help in my visits to Tokyo.
BTW . . . Ivan Ramen was a short walk away so I tried that. Hard for me to give an opinion on that because I'm not a ramen otaku, but there was a twenty person line most of the time so a lot of people liked it.
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