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Trip report November


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Restaurants & Bars Japan Trip Report

Trip report November

Lucil | | Nov 24, 2013 08:13 AM

Trip report mid november exhaustive

Da Isa (lunch)
Food :1.5-2 /5 , CP 2/5
Very famous, and i went on sunday, so no 1000yen pizzas available today, had shiori and magherita dop, tomato sauce was too acidic, also the pie is too burnt and bread like and heavy, tasted very different from 4 years ago, when hisanori was still at napule with the light and crisp pizza base.. this tasted crappy.. and queues just because of fame?? also the shiori is just fried shrimp on pizza, just really bad.

Yakinku Jumbo Hongo (dinner)
Food 3.8/5 CP 4/5
last minute reservation made here when Yoroniku was fully booked.

special cuts ordered
Shinshin + zabuton , shinshin tastes not too fatty and has a smoother texture and it is rather easy to eat without feeling too full , so i preferred shin shin more, while the other partner preferred zabuton, which i guess the most fatty part and preffered by most people.
other dishes ordered, heart ( quite good ) , , tongue (no more jo tan) karubi , vinger cooked pork knuckle , kimchi , steak cut meat(rosu?). the service staff here will advise how long to cook the meat, the sauce tends to be a little more spiced/meatier tasting and less acidic/tart than other yakiniku places, i tend to prefer the latter. they have a some photographs of a yakiniku competition ( not very sure on this, but they won one few years ago, and in recent years consecutively won by yoroniku )

Sushi Sho , yotsuya
food : 4.8/5 CP: 4/5

some notes,
- compared with shinji by kanesaka ( 1 month prior to trip ) and mizutani and saito ( about 4 years ago) and harutaka ( current same trip )
- shari quite balanced in taste, not too sour/salty or too firm ( ranks middle in profile, more flavourful than saito (from memory few years ago it is the most bland shari when compared to others) but less sweet and vinegary than mizutani (from memory comparison) , so it matches most of the fishes quite perfectly , some were made in red vingared rice some in white.
also the rice is moderately firm and sticks nicely, less firm/a little moister and less saltier than kanesaka(singapore) and less firm than mizutani (firmest and stickiest) ( i have not tried jiro, but my observation is that it jiro style rice is very firm like al dente?) , shari much firmer than saito(memory from few years ago) and harutaka(current)
- high quantity of aged fish sushi here ( some aged 10 days ), and i am pleasantly suprised, buri and tuna shimofuri were standouts.
- use of oboro(grated egg) on some sushi, its the yellowish dusting on ebi ( done 2 ways , head and body) etc.
- sake pairing might be good here, the first sake i had was a thick cloudy white sake, i have no idea what name is it, but chef owner nakazawa san explains it is a little bubbly, and it tastes a little like champagne/white to me. which i thought was very good. after i finished it, i stopped as i thought i was halfway thru the meal, and my partner stopped me from getting the 2nd sake. i wish i did, because towards the last few pieces, i asked if they had any more different types of sushi and i was served more than 5 other sushi from the last sake. :(
- the flow is quite random and i notice not everyone gets the same pieces, some had more some had less(maybe requested by customers?)
- sauce for anago tastes pretty similar to kanesaka, saito, considering all were trained at kyubei.

in short, best sushi experience i had, above mizutani , saito , harutaka,

Marugo tonkatsu akihabara (lunch)
Food : 3.5/5 CP : 4/5
currently most famous tonkatsu in tokyo?? lightly fried, i guess the pork is fried in low temperature, the breading looks lighter in color, and they have a special name for this techinique.
had toku hire and toku rosu. hire(fillet) is juicy , and not all dry when people think of lean meat in tonkastu.

Kabuto (dinner)
Food 3.5/5 CP 3.8/5

still don't quite get it when it comes to top end unagi places, had some skewers , including beating heart , inner body(what ever it is) , head, etc.. which i thought was not bad , unaju sauce less sweet than normal places. same feeling like when i went to obana few years ago. also only farmed unagi that night.

Ginza Shimada (dinner)
Food 2.5-3/5 CP 3.5 /5
had the char grilled chicken pieces with sansho, fish(forgotten what fish) cooked sakamushi , shirako butter yaki and gyusuji with daikon , zuwai kani croquette, ise ebi gelee with uni, most famous soba with karasumi ( quite heavy on the palate, i thought it was average)
fish sakamushi was overcooked, not sure whether this is meant to be like this , but i thought this was below expectation. the rest of the dishes mostly were average in my books, maybe some were made with expensive ingredients etc , but most tasted pretty normal to me, bill was around 12k yen for 2 pax(for standing meal), which i thought was pretty expensive but nevertheless maybe we ordered too much. but i think the level is about that of an izakaya.

Kyo Aji (lunch)
Food : 4.5/5 CP: 3.8/5
past kaiseki experiences Ryugin, DEN ( current )
most of the dishes had matsutake considering the season. very good considering quality of the ingredients. high level of execution , memorable dishes, ebi imo(very good, not greasy at all) , tai sashimi ( very good, no gristle and muscle in the flesh , just good chewiness) , starter of unagi and mochi rice , fried matsutake ..wish i had the salmon rice, but got matsutake rice. imo, deserving to be called best in traditonal kaiseki in japan, on par with experience at ryugin ( ryugin is more technical and sophisticated) . Price 90k yen+ for 2. most expensive meal i had , but owner chef nishi actually passed me back some money himself at the end ( still unsure of reason, i think this is highly uncommon ) , he says its service (if i had not heard wrongly with my caveman japanese) .

Harutaka ( dinner)
Food: 4/5 CP 3.8/5
i think they had double booking for the night, so me and my partner was seated on the edge of the table on different sides, and the other party was having their tsumami inside the waiting room, and later moved to the main area when the other parties left.
tsunami, katsuo, octopus , not too bad for tsunami, above average
shari, much more bland when compared with mizutani and sushi sho, also shari less firm than mizutani , kanesaka(singapore) and sushi sho. so i thought the shari was pretty average.
most of the fishes performed above average, comparable to kanesaka (singapore)
memorable pieces, akagai ( good) and anago( texture very soft, tsume/sauce sweet/thick like mizutani, i suppose this is jiro style)
tamagoyaki, imo from my memory, mizutani had better tamagoyaki.

Convivo (lunch)
Food 3.8/5 , CP 4/5
not bad , no particular standouts.

DEN ( dinner)
Food 4/5, CP 4.2/5
the food here is presented differently, but most of the time i feel it is just funny or interesting presentation with a little sophistication, as opposed to technical means to acheive best taste( for eg ryugin ) , i think the food is not bad, i think 2 michelin stars is a little excessive when considering level of sophistication of food here and the ingredients are good but (not on same level like ryugin or kyoaji)
also this feels the least like japanese kaiseki in terms of taste, for example, char grilled beef with beets sauce for main(which i think is nothing special), and a cream/milk based chawamushi.. also i was served whale meat soup , i was thinking above the movie "the cove" when i was eating this and the meat was from wakayama, the meat tasted very irony and meaty, much meatier than beef , and the texture was a little rubbery and oily. desert, bavarois with roasted tea leaves dusted, again more presentation , taste wise about average, next was baked manju with white beans paste(average). memorable dishes, maybe monaka and rice course, salmon roe with buri . overall, i felt ryugin(from memory) and kyoaji (current ) were much better

toriki (kinshicho)
Food 3.8-4/5 CP 4/5
backup plan after torishiki reservation failed.
memorable dishes, chochin( yolk bursts once you placed inside your mouth) , overall good. but as i imagined it to be. this place is lightly seasoned and less saucy.

Food: 3/5
Soup tastes heavily of mackerel base. i think its a little too fishy even for my taste even thou i tend to prefer niboshi based soups as opposed to tonkotsu. decent ajitama and chashu. noodles thick cut chewy.

aux bon vieux temps oyamadai,
rouge tart, tart tasting, i think its good, but partner thinks its too tart..
ali baba , (rum baba), was soaking in rum , too much alcohol for my taste
quartette, chocolate mousse cake, good but nothing special.

M koide (jiyugaoka)
mousse cakes , the fruits mousse taste is much more intense when compared to hidemi sugino, depends on what you like, i think both are equally good, had the pistacho mousse and cassis mousse at mkoide.
price is very attractive, at around 400 yen per piece.. when hidemi sugino is now 600yen-700yen a piece.

hidemi sugino
revisted, finally tried ambrosie , good, not too heavy on the palate like most chocolate mousse cakes.