Ginza Harutaka 銀座青空

Ginza Harutaka

Ginza Harutaka

Chef Harutaka developed his skills with 12 years at Sukiyabashi Jiro. This sushi restaurant is popular with top chefs in the city. Sit at the counter and watch the young, talented and soft-spoken chef as he handles the seasonal seafood with care and deft. Part of the delight in dining here is taking in the beautiful vessels he uses to hold the seafood. No detail is overlooked at this restaurant that comes highly recommended by top chefs in the city.

Ginza Harutaka 銀座青空

Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-5-8, Ginza Kawabata Building 3F


5:00 – 24:00 (Saturday until 22:30)

closed Sunday and holidays

no website

Vegetable Sushi Potager in Roppongi 野菜寿司Potager

Vegetable Sushi

Vegetable Sushi

Potager Interior

Potager Interior

French trained chef Aya Kakisawa created a following for her vegetable based desserts at Potager Patisserie in Nakameguro. Her new restaurant, Vegetable Sushi Potager, serves creative sushi showcasing Japan’s rich diversity of vegetables. High ceilings and a glass counter is a stark contrast to the traditional sushi counters. Using classical French and Japanese techniques, domestic, organic vegetables are simply seasoned with traditional seasonings like vinegar or the spicy, salty yuzu kosho. Pureed carrots resemble uni while eringi mushrooms could be mistaken for scallops.

Vegetable Sushi Potager (opened January 2011)

Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-9-1, Roppongi Hills, Keyakizaki Dori

03-3497-8822 (English)

Chef Seiji Yamamoto of Nihonryori Ryugin 日本料理龍吟の山本征治

Chef Seiji Yamamoto photo by Jun Takagi

Chef Seiji Yamamoto photo by Jun Takagi

Avant-gardist Seiji Yamamoto of Nihonryori Ryugin once silk-screened bar codes onto plates with squid ink. His latest shocker: He’s embracing Japanese classics, as in his rice steamed with shamo (chicken).


Minato-ku, Roppongi 7-17-24, Side Roppongi Bldg, 1st Floor

03-3423-8006 (English)

Food & Wine 2010 Tokyo Go List

Here’s a piece I wrote on chef Yamamoto for The Japan Times.

Interview with Harumi Kurihara for JQ Magazine

Harumi Kurihara

Harumi Kurihara

I had the great pleasure of interviewing Harumi Kurihara (via e-mail through her staff) after the release of her English cookbook, Everyday Harumi. Here is the interview from JQ magazine, the JET Alumni Association magazine for NYC. Find out her three favorite kitchen tools and her suggestions for Americans wanting to make bento to take to lunch to work.

Scroll down to page seven to see the interview:

A doyenne of domesticity, the tireless Harumi Kurihara is often called the Japanese Martha Stewart. A media maven, she is omnipresent from magazines to TV in Japan, guiding followers not only with recipes, but also tips on entertaining at home. A popular author of washoku cookbooks, Kurihara recently released her third cookbook in English, Everyday Harumi.

What makes this book unique is the research that Kurihara did to find out what ingredients are most prominent in Western kitchens and crafting suitable recipes ranging from traditional Japanese to innovative and creative fare. The resulting book empowers home cooks unfamiliar with Japanese recipes to quickly become fluent. While visiting New York City last fall to promote her book at Japan Society and Mitsuwa, among other places, Kurihara-san answered questions for JQ.

Congratulations on a beautiful cookbook. The chapter on kitchen cupboard essentials is packed with good information, and we love your healthy and delicious recipes. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you decided to make cookbooks in English?

I started working as a cooking assistant on TV, behind the scenes. Conran Octopus asked me to publish Everyday Harumi. This was made with a British-only crew. American people can cook all the recipes in this book.

What are your three favorite Japanese kitchen tools?

The first one is a suribachi, or a mortar, to grind sesame and other ingredients. The second one is an akutori, or a scum remover. The third is called daikon oroshi, or a grater. You can grate a radish, ginger, or wasabi with it.

Help us create a menu for a picnic in Central Park.

Deep-fried chicken, sweet egg rolls, and quick pickled cucumber.

Can you suggest bento ideas for Americans who want to bring lunch to the workplace?

Green pea rice, ginger pork, and spinach with peanut dressing.


In your cookbook, most of the ingredients are things we can find in American supermarkets, notably the seafood. How did you conduct your research for the book?

I went to supermarkets in London and checked everything myself. I wanted to know what was easily available.


How do you stay so skinny when testing all of these recipes?

I don’t do anything special. I taste all the ingredients, and I eat small portions regularly.


President Obama and his wife Michelle are encouraging Americans to eat healthful diets. Can you make any suggestions?

From the book, I recommend pork and vegetable miso soup, and tsukune [ground meat patties].


Did you find any new favorite restaurants in New York from your visit here, and do you have any favorite restaurants in Tokyo if we come for a visit there?

Sorry, I have no idea. There are so many great restaurants, but what is more important is enjoying the people you are dining with.


You are indefatigable. How do you manage all of your projects like cookbooks, magazines, TV, etc.?

Out of love for my family and all my friends.


Any ideas on what we can look forward to in your next cookbook in English?

The basic seasoning, soy sauce. I saw a lot of ingredients at the supermarket, and everyone gets confused which one to choose. I recommend you use soy sauce in addition to your own seasonings.


Your English is getting better and better. Have you been studying?

Yes, I’m studying English on the phone, every morning.


At your Japan Society lecture, you gave brilliant advice on entertaining at home. You said that when you have guests coming over, the fi rst thing you do is check to see what’s in your fridge and freezer and create your menu based on what you can build from what’s in your home, going to the supermarket only to purchase additional ingredients. Do you have any other tips for entertaining at home?

Two tips for you. The first one is to prepare some dishes in advance. The second is that I cook some dishes in front of my guests. I can save time this way, and my guests enjoy watching my cooking.


Any final tips or advice?

You should not only go to Japanese restaurants but also cook Japanese dishes at home. Japanese cooking looks difficult, but it can be done easily. I recommend that you try to cook someJapanese dishes.

Learn more about Everyday Harumi

Nihonbashi Yukari 日本橋ゆかり

Chef Kimio Nonaga

Chef Kimio Nonaga

One of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo is Nihonbashi Yukari. It is just a coincidence that it is called Yukari. It is not a coincidence that I worked at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi, just a few blocks from this oasis. Nihonbashi Yukari is a kaiseki restaurant serving seasonal cuisine. Chef Nonaga was the 2002 Iron Chef Winner, you can see the trophy when you walk into the restaurant.

Bento Lunch Box

Bento Lunch Box

If you are going for lunch, call ahead and order the Yukari Bento box. (3,675 JPY last time I had it, or about $35 USD.) It is a gorgeous presentation including tempura, sashimi, and usually something simmered and grilled.

Dinner here is reasonable for the several courses. I believe it starts around 10,000 JPY or about $100 USD. Ask to sit at the counter so that you can watch Chef Nonaga behind the counter as he works with the seafood for sashimi. The hot dishes are prepared by his team in the kitchen.

If you go, tell him New York Yukari sent you there.

Nihonbashi Yukari

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 3-2-14

Phone: 03-3271-3436

closest station is Tokyo station’s Yaesu guchi (exit) or Nihonbashi.

Gotta Go – Nihonbashi Yukari

I am often asked for restaurant suggestions in Tokyo. There is one restaurant that I recommend time and time again. Chef Kimio Nonaga of Nihonbashi Yukari was the 2002 Iron Chef winner, and the trophy is displayed when you first walk in. I love this restaurant for lunch or dinner. For a multi-course kaiseki dinner incorporating seasonal ingredients, you get a meal for a good value. Lunch is also reasonable. If you want to splurge, call ahead and order the Yukari bento box, pictured here. The last time I went this was 3,675 JPY.

The food here is prepared using classic Japanese techniques. Chef Nonaga trained in Kyoto at Kikunoi with Chef Murata, author of the gorgeous Kaiseki book published by Kodansha International.

If possible, sit at the counter so that you can watch Chef Nonaga perform his magic. And, tell him Yukari sent you. If you go with a Japanese speaker you can talk to him about the seasonal ingredients, how the food is prepared, and observe his passion for traditional Japanese cuisine.

Nihonbashi Yukari

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 3-2-14

tel. 03-3271-3436