All tagged ginza


It wasn't until I visited Japan that I truly liked tempura. Outside of Japan, tempura batter is thick and greasy -- often soggy and wet -- making this deep-fried food taste more like sloppy, oily leftovers. I can't begin to count the number of times I've tasted shrimp tempura and had the plump tempura shell separate from the shellfish, or a piece of broccoli tempura that oozes fat like a sponge wringing out water. Most of the time, especially in the US, tempura is fried food gone very wrong.

At Ten-ichi, tempura is light and fluffy. Each piece of fish or vegetable is individually flash-fried at such a high temperature that the oil barely has little chance to penetrate the food. The batter is thin and weightless, completely integrating with the food: it would be nearly impossible to separate it.

Kyubei, Ginza

Sushi is my favorite food. There's nothing so satisfying as a slice of the freshest fish imaginable just barely brushed with soy sauce -- or dusted with a pinch of salt -- atop a small bed of warm rice. Omakase is a great way to enjoy this experience because it introduces the elements of surprise as well as the chef's knowledge of the day's best catch. But how does the chef always know what I want? Sometimes an elaborate sushi meal is too much; sometimes I want to choose a handful fish I'm craving and eat lightly. Sometimes, ordering a la carte at a sushi counter is the way to go. Kyubei sushi, in Ginza, is perfect for diners who want to chose their own fish. The relatively informal atmosphere in combination with ease of getting a reservation at one of its five locations throughout the city makes it a good option for a last-minute dinner decision. Besides, who can object to a meal of eight pieces of unimaginably fresh sea urchin sushi? (I've done it before.) The fish at Kyubei is extremely fresh and the pricing much more reasonable than Sukiyabashi Jiro.


Why eat French food in Tokyo? Because it's usually better than in France! Located on the second floor of its own two-story building in Ginza, L'Osier perches over the surrounding street lined with designer stores and Tokyo's fashion-savvy shoppers. L'Osier is both style and substance, however; its plates both visually stunning and delicious. I had a meal here in 2006 and never got around to posting it. But I have such strong and positive memories about my experience here that it would be an injustice not to share it. I'm going to post what I remember based on my notes. I ate here before Michelin came to Tokyo and rated this restaurant three stars. It's interesting to see how this restaurant seems to have only gotten better since then.


The simplicity and minimalism of Japanese cuisine never cease to amaze me. Particularly with traditional kaiseki, sauces and spices practically don't exist. Instead of flavoring the ingredients in a dish with external condiments, ingredients are chosen for their own intrinsic flavors. This ingredient-focused approach took a bit of getting used to; in fact the first time I tried kaiseki, I didn't like it. I thought the flavors were dull, repetitive, and boring. But the more I ate it and the longer I spent in Japan, the more I began to appreciate it. My barometer of flavor reset. Instead of loud spicy Thai cuisine full of spices and herbs, or very sweet and sticky Shanghainese cusine, Kaiseki lies flat in the middle: nothing too sweet, salty, or sour. It is a cuisine of modesty and humility where the natural flavors of the ingredients are put on a pedestal to shine.