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Best non-"high-end" sushi in Tokyo?

Best non-"high-end" sushi in Tokyo?

Old Jul 8, 18, 11:00 pm
  #136  
 
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Apologies this question really belongs in both this thread and the high end/Michelin thread but this one is more active so I'm putting it here.

Thanks to PPT - NRT opening up, we have a night in Tokyo on the tail end of our honeymoon in September (no complaints here -- will make 5 straight years with at least 1 night in Tokyo which I'm very happy about). Question is where should we go for sushi. I'm torn between aiming for a high end place (we have just enough time we could potentially pull still snag a reservation though doubtful CY Ginza / CY Tokyo Station have deep connections anywhere) and a mid-tier place (say the top of the non-high end place).

My initial thought was Kyubey since we'll be staying at either CY Ginza or CY Tokyo Station (since post August 1 they will cost the same and CY Tokyo Station is more convenient to go to/from NRT for an overnight).

What else would be worth exploring? I did Kyubey Keio Plaza on my own on a work trip last year and thought it was in the B+ area (not quite as good as Iwa and nowhere near as good as Yoshitake which are the two other higher end places I've been) but I've never been to the original.

The honeymoon is going to quite pricey so I'm looking to avoid the Yoshitake-esque prices this time though if something like Saito was available I'd probably find a way to make it happen but hoping to find something that is better than anything we can get in North Carolina (not a high bar) without breaking the bank ($75-100++/person Omakase or lower).
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Old Jul 9, 18, 12:39 am
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
Apologies this question really belongs in both this thread and the high end/Michelin thread but this one is more active so I'm putting it here.

Thanks to PPT - NRT opening up, we have a night in Tokyo on the tail end of our honeymoon in September (no complaints here -- will make 5 straight years with at least 1 night in Tokyo which I'm very happy about). Question is where should we go for sushi. I'm torn between aiming for a high end place (we have just enough time we could potentially pull still snag a reservation though doubtful CY Ginza / CY Tokyo Station have deep connections anywhere) and a mid-tier place (say the top of the non-high end place).

My initial thought was Kyubey since we'll be staying at either CY Ginza or CY Tokyo Station (since post August 1 they will cost the same and CY Tokyo Station is more convenient to go to/from NRT for an overnight).

What else would be worth exploring? I did Kyubey Keio Plaza on my own on a work trip last year and thought it was in the B+ area (not quite as good as Iwa and nowhere near as good as Yoshitake which are the two other higher end places I've been) but I've never been to the original.

The honeymoon is going to quite pricey so I'm looking to avoid the Yoshitake-esque prices this time though if something like Saito was available I'd probably find a way to make it happen but hoping to find something that is better than anything we can get in North Carolina (not a high bar) without breaking the bank ($75-100++/person Omakase or lower).
If you want high-end mid-priced sushi, see my review of Sushidokoro Suzu above, and get both the sashimi and nigiri omakase courses, you can't go wrong, but it won't look or taste anything like what you have in North Carolina so you need to be a little open minded.

Bentenyama is another option with a disclaimer (see my rather scathing review upthread) - your hotel concierge needs to explain that although you are foreign guests, you want an omakase, no different from the options given to local guests, (give the concierge your max budget per person so they can convey it) and you will not be ordering from the foreigners menu. If they agree, then you're good to go - if they balk at the request, run away and look elsewhere, do not go there and order from the foreigner menu.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 2:50 pm
  #138  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If you want high-end mid-priced sushi, see my review of Sushidokoro Suzu above, and get both the sashimi and nigiri omakase courses, you can't go wrong, but it won't look or taste anything like what you have in North Carolina so you need to be a little open minded.

Bentenyama is another option with a disclaimer (see my rather scathing review upthread) - your hotel concierge needs to explain that although you are foreign guests, you want an omakase, no different from the options given to local guests, (give the concierge your max budget per person so they can convey it) and you will not be ordering from the foreigners menu. If they agree, then you're good to go - if they balk at the request, run away and look elsewhere, do not go there and order from the foreigner menu.
Bentenyama doesn't have a "foreigner menu" - I don't know why you keep writing that they do. They have one menu, it is published on their web site for all to see:
Menu - ????????????????
I have been to Bentenyama by myself, and I have been with small groups of Tokyoites (Edokko folks, no less) and ordered from the same menu each time.
Now, this doesn't mean that regulars don't get preferential treatment over first time customers, of course they do, and as well they should.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 2:59 pm
  #139  
 
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
Apologies this question really belongs in both this thread and the high end/Michelin thread but this one is more active so I'm putting it here.

Thanks to PPT - NRT opening up, we have a night in Tokyo on the tail end of our honeymoon in September (no complaints here -- will make 5 straight years with at least 1 night in Tokyo which I'm very happy about). Question is where should we go for sushi. I'm torn between aiming for a high end place (we have just enough time we could potentially pull still snag a reservation though doubtful CY Ginza / CY Tokyo Station have deep connections anywhere) and a mid-tier place (say the top of the non-high end place).

My initial thought was Kyubey since we'll be staying at either CY Ginza or CY Tokyo Station (since post August 1 they will cost the same and CY Tokyo Station is more convenient to go to/from NRT for an overnight).

What else would be worth exploring? I did Kyubey Keio Plaza on my own on a work trip last year and thought it was in the B+ area (not quite as good as Iwa and nowhere near as good as Yoshitake which are the two other higher end places I've been) but I've never been to the original.

The honeymoon is going to quite pricey so I'm looking to avoid the Yoshitake-esque prices this time though if something like Saito was available I'd probably find a way to make it happen but hoping to find something that is better than anything we can get in North Carolina (not a high bar) without breaking the bank ($75-100++/person Omakase or lower).
Since you have been to Iwa and Yoshitake, I think Kyubey will feel like a step down. I can recommend a few shops in the general vicinity of your hotel that are not too expensive, and not too hard to book (assuming the CY offers concierge service):

- Sushi Keita in Tsukiji is amazing (better than Iwa or Yoshitake IMO), and a very good value. Lunch starts at Y5,000, and dinner is under Y20,000. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...-tsukiji-tokyo

- Sushi Ichijo in Higashi Nihonbashi: not too far from Tokyo Station. Same story, cheap at lunch, still quite reasonable at night (under Y20,000 PP) and really delicious. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...honbashi-tokyo

- I think Sushi Taichi in Ginza offers a nighttime omakase in the Y15,000 range. Lunch starts at Y5,000. When I consider food, atmosphere, C/P ratio, and ease of booking, Taichi might be my favorite sushiya in Tokyo. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...in-ginza-tokyo
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Old Jul 9, 18, 3:10 pm
  #140  
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Originally Posted by od_sf View Post
Bentenyama doesn't have a "foreigner menu" - I don't know why you keep writing that they do. They have one menu, it is published on their web site for all to see:
Menu - ????????????????
I have been to Bentenyama by myself, and I have been with small groups of Tokyoites (Edokko folks, no less) and ordered from the same menu each time.
Now, this doesn't mean that regulars don't get preferential treatment over first time customers, of course they do, and as well they should.
Sorry, but I am going to continue disagreeing with you. The menu we were handed was in English, which is obviously a foreigner menu, laminated with photos, and it offered 3 "sets" - A, B and C (and there might have been a D, but I don't recall at this point, nor care as I am not going back). Omakase was refused, we were told to order a set only from the English menu handed to us, yet nearby Japanese customers were served omakase and quite obviously different fish and quality than was offered to us or the nearby foreigner couple. It was very clear the foreigners and Japanese customers were being served differently, and I've been eating sushi and spending time in Japan long enough to know the difference, and I noticed it so clearly because it was so brazen and obvious.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 3:41 pm
  #141  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Sorry, but I am going to continue disagreeing with you. The menu we were handed was in English, which is obviously a foreigner menu, laminated with photos, and it offered 3 "sets" - A, B and C (and there might have been a D, but I don't recall at this point, nor care as I am not going back). Omakase was refused, we were told to order a set only from the English menu handed to us, yet nearby Japanese customers were served omakase and quite obviously different fish and quality than was offered to us or the nearby foreigner couple. It was very clear the foreigners and Japanese customers were being served differently, and I've been eating sushi and spending time in Japan long enough to know the difference, and I noticed it so clearly because it was so brazen and obvious.
Well, if what you were offered is something even inferior to their usual set menus (which I've reviewed on the Japanese website), it must have been something pretty miserable, because their regular "non-foreigner" offerings look distinctly pedestrian.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 3:41 pm
  #142  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Sorry, but I am going to continue disagreeing with you. The menu we were handed was in English, which is obviously a foreigner menu, laminated with photos, and it offered 3 "sets" - A, B and C (and there might have been a D, but I don't recall at this point, nor care as I am not going back). Omakase was refused, we were told to order a set only from the English menu handed to us, yet nearby Japanese customers were served omakase and quite obviously different fish and quality than was offered to us or the nearby foreigner couple. It was very clear the foreigners and Japanese customers were being served differently, and I've been eating sushi and spending time in Japan long enough to know the difference, and I noticed it so clearly because it was so brazen and obvious.
  • Bentenyama doesn't offer an omakase. More than likely, the Japanese customers ordered a larger set than yours that featured a greater variety of neta.
  • The Bentenyama web site features both a Japanese and English version of their menu. Please take a look and tell me if you see any differences.
  • I'm as white as they come and hardly speak any Japanese, and yet I have always been able to select any menu of my choosing, including the larger sets (my favorite is the "Miyako" set, 17 pieces of nigiri + a maki for only Y10,250!) - this even when I have visited on my own.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 3:49 pm
  #143  
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Originally Posted by od_sf View Post
  • Bentenyama doesn't offer an omakase. More than likely, the Japanese customers ordered a larger set than yours that featured a greater variety of neta.
  • The Bentenyama web site features both a Japanese and English version of their menu. Please take a look and tell me if you see any differences.
  • I'm as white as they come and hardly speak any Japanese, and yet I have always been able to select any menu of my choosing, including the larger sets (my favorite is the "Miyako" set, 17 pieces of nigiri + a maki for only Y10,250!) - this even when I have visited on my own.
I looked at the website link and compared it with my memory of the menu we were given and there are significant differences - in fact, there was no "Miyako" set or anything remotely like it with 17 pieces of nigiri and maki. From what I remember, our menu offered sets of up to 12 or 14 pieces of nigiri - so not only did we leave unhappy, but still hungry.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I looked at the website link and compared it with my memory of the menu we were given and there are significant differences - in fact, there was no "Miyako" set or anything remotely like it with 17 pieces of nigiri and maki. From what I remember, our menu offered sets of up to 12 or 14 pieces of nigiri - so not only did we leave unhappy, but still hungry.
I guess they must have taken an instant dislike to you when you walked in, because the extended sets have always been offered to me. :-P
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Old Jul 9, 18, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
Well, if what you were offered is something even inferior to their usual set menus (which I've reviewed on the Japanese website), it must have been something pretty miserable, because their regular "non-foreigner" offerings look distinctly pedestrian.
Their offerings are strictly Edomae, so neta selections are not the most varied, but they use traditional Edo prep techniques that are becoming very hard to find. For example ni-ika (squid simmered in a soy-flavored stock) or akami zuke where the whole block of maguro is marinated in soy for an extended period of time as compared to the much more common modern zuke prep which involves marinating individual slices of neta for just a few minutes.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 8:36 pm
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I would take the metro, get off at Tsukiji, go to the outer market. I found everything delicious, even the sushi etc. for purchase at kiosks.
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Old Jul 9, 18, 9:36 pm
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Originally Posted by od_sf View Post
I guess they must have taken an instant dislike to you when you walked in, because the extended sets have always been offered to me. :-P
How did you rate Sushidokoro Suzu in your reviews?
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Old Jul 9, 18, 9:45 pm
  #148  
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
I wonder if this would apply to foreign visitors who are regulars or repeat customers, or just restricted to locals? I guess next time I am there and get a seat, I will ask.
Update....as a non local regular, I can confirm now that if you are a reasonably frequent or repeat guest at either of Jiro's restaurants, you can call ahead and skip the first day of the month routine, making getting a reservation much much easier.

You will still need to go through your hotel concierge, make sure the hotel is not on the banned list, and make sure the concierge clearly understands the nature of your request so they have the correct information and approach when they call...they need to introduce you as a repeat or frequent first guest and provide your name.

I had no problem getting an off cycle reservation at Roppongi this past Sunday but was a little disappointed in the relaxed standards for decorum....the two mainland Chinese guests beside me were in t shirts, shorts and flip flops but were seated anyway while myself and the other foreign guest put in the effort to dress according to restaurant policy. The experience though was still classic Jiro standards and full service with sashimi course and some second servings ran about 70-80 minutes total.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 5:56 pm
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I would love a few recommendations for the Shinjuku area. East or West of the station is fine.
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Old Jul 10, 18, 8:37 pm
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
If you want high-end mid-priced sushi, see my review of Sushidokoro Suzu above, and get both the sashimi and nigiri omakase courses, you can't go wrong, but it won't look or taste anything like what you have in North Carolina so you need to be a little open minded.

Bentenyama is another option with a disclaimer (see my rather scathing review upthread) - your hotel concierge needs to explain that although you are foreign guests, you want an omakase, no different from the options given to local guests, (give the concierge your max budget per person so they can convey it) and you will not be ordering from the foreigners menu. If they agree, then you're good to go - if they balk at the request, run away and look elsewhere, do not go there and order from the foreigner menu.
Originally Posted by od_sf View Post
Since you have been to Iwa and Yoshitake, I think Kyubey will feel like a step down. I can recommend a few shops in the general vicinity of your hotel that are not too expensive, and not too hard to book (assuming the CY offers concierge service):

- Sushi Keita in Tsukiji is amazing (better than Iwa or Yoshitake IMO), and a very good value. Lunch starts at Y5,000, and dinner is under Y20,000. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...-tsukiji-tokyo

- Sushi Ichijo in Higashi Nihonbashi: not too far from Tokyo Station. Same story, cheap at lunch, still quite reasonable at night (under Y20,000 PP) and really delicious. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...honbashi-tokyo

- I think Sushi Taichi in Ginza offers a nighttime omakase in the Y15,000 range. Lunch starts at Y5,000. When I consider food, atmosphere, C/P ratio, and ease of booking, Taichi might be my favorite sushiya in Tokyo. More info: https://www.thesushigeek.com/the-sus...in-ginza-tokyo
Thank you both for suggestions!! Will take a look through them and see which one catches my eye!
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