Ito-ya Ginza has reopened its original store. That and other updates to Food Sake Tokyo on the PDF below. Please print and bring with your copy of Food Sake Tokyo. Current as of 6 July 2015.
Tomato Salad at Pizza Bar on 38th
The specialty of the Pizza Bar on 38th. Marscapone, black olives, and truffle essence. This is so rich in umami and impressive. The first time I had this I woke up the next day thinking of it. Even a week later it haunts you, in a good way.
The pizza here is Roma-style. The crust is 80% water and is fermented for 48 hours. It is light and airy. The five cheese pizza is topped with truffle honey. The wine list includes a nice selection of Italian wines that naturally pair well with the cuisine.
Chef Daniele serving up a glass of “konatsu-cello” made from the tart summer citron, konatsu that is steeped in vodka with star anise and cloves. A perfect combination of Japanese ingredients with a traditional Italian drink. It is chef Daniele who came up with the recipe for the pizza dough after doing research back home in Italia. Grazie, chef!
The Pizza Bar on 38th
Mandarin Oriental, 38th Floor
Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-1-1
I first wrote about the Pizza Bar on 38th for Metropolis:
Staying on top of the food scene at Tokyo has become much easier with social media. Ten years ago when I started research for my book, Food Sake Tokyo, I relied heavily on Japanese food magazines and tips from food writers, chefs, sommeliers, and other industry insiders. I still rely on these same sources, but more and more staying connected with these friends on social media helps me to see where things are trending. Some of
One hot spot with friends who are baristas and coffee shop owners is Glitch. Located in Kanda it is just between three subway stations, Jimbocho, Ogawamachi, and Takebashi. Although the street it sits on has a lot of traffic, the area itself is pretty quiet. The shop is spacious and on the corner there is a take-away window where the drip coffees are made. On the other end of the shop is a roaster. There is a small communal table that seats six and a few other seats around the brightly lit shop.
Glitch offers cuppings and other seminars. I assume these are in Japanese. I stopped by about 9:30 on a weekday morning and most of the customers this morning were women in their 20s and 30s. Some stayed but most of them took their coffee to go. Behind the counter, Machiko-san chatted up the customers, many who seemed to be regulars. We even had a friendly chat about our mutual friends and on being a mother.
Machiko-san recommended a drip made from Kenya beans that had notes of fruit tomatoes. The Japanese fruit tomatoes have a lovely bouquet that is sweet and with a hint of acidity, which was what the coffee offered. The selection of magazines on the communal table included some I have at home, like Hanako, but also a few not in my usual reading list so it was a nice way to pass time over the coffee.
The Glitch facebook page has gorgeous photos from the shop. A haven for hipsters. I wish I were half that cool. Even more awesome to be young and have a slick coffee shop like Glitch to hang out with friends over good coffee.
Glitch opens from 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, which is actually on the early side for coffee shops in Tokyo. It’s a lovely coffee shop and worth a special trip.
Chiyoda-ku, Nishikicho 3-16 千代田区錦町3-16
The main building of the Hotel Okura will be closing at the end of summer. Many are coming to sit in the lobby under the signature lantern lamps. The visitors are a mix of locals and non-Japanese, young and old. It will be sad to say sayonara to this beautiful lobby as we know it.
I wanted to bid farewell to the hotel with a taste of the Okura. The lemon pie at the Terrace restaurant is the original recipe and has not changed in 50 years. It is sweet and tart and has an old school meringue on top. The custard is rich with eggs and the lemon flavor is mild. It is the lemon pies I grew up with, not the fancy tarte au citron available at French patisseries throughout the city. It tastes old and what better way to say adieu than with a nod to the past?
A poster of the Lemon Pie at the hotel. It is one of their signature items.
One of the staff escorted me to the Terrace Restaurant and I asked her about the new hotel and if the lobby would be coming back. She did say that plans are to save some of the pieces, such as the lantern lamps, chairs, and tables. If it makes sense to bring these back, then we may be seeing some of these again. The South Wing will remain open during reconstruction of the main building.
I’ve stayed in the Hotel Okura years ago for about a week. I never made it to the Terrace Restaurant, and so exploring the hotel was another treat. I was here for business and all I could enjoy of the hotel was my bed and bath.
There is a lovely garden that the Terrace overlooks. Sitting next to me was a group of older Japanese ladies who were very sad about the renovation project. One even walked over to the small pond to bid farewell to the fish. We are all treasuring these last few days.
Minato-ku, Toranomon 2-10-4