Dinner after Ben Fiddich

Just around the corner from Bar Ben Fiddich on a quiet pedestrian side street is a local tonkatsu-ya, Tonchinkan 豚珍館。The assistant bartender at Ben Fiddich had recommended it for “good tonkatsu and bad service”. He also warned us that there most likely would be a line. We didn’t see a line when we turned the…

Family-friendly Yakitoriya

Once in a while we adults want to have yakitori, grilled chicken skewers, but many yakitori-ya are smoky joints that are not kid-friendly. Iseya in Kichijōji near Inokashira Kōen Park is both family-friendly and a good value. It is also perfect for groups as it is a large space. The only challenge is that it is wildly popular. On…

Family-Friendly Sushiya Chain

Going out for sushi as a family cuts out many options. High-end sushiya are out of the question as are many mid-range spots. Our kid loves sushi, could eat it three days a week and when we go out, it’s often for sushi. We eat a lot of sashimi at home and will also make donburi…

Yakisoba Temple

Jimbocho’s Mikasa is a temple to yakisoba, even the noodles are made from scratch here. Yakisoba is a humble dish. Noodles stir-fried with vegetables and a protein and seasoned with a sauce or salt and dusted with aonori, an aromatic sea vegetable. It’s a messy dish and is not photogenic, but would win a congeniality contest as…

Sushi Chain to Put on Your Radar

Living in Tokyo it’s good to have a few sushi chain on your radar, especially if  you are parents and dining out with kids. Some popular sushiya on the budget side include Midori Sushi, Sushi Zanmai, Sushiro, Choshi Maru, and Kurazushi. One to know about is Uoriki, which is not only a sushiya, but also…

Soba-ya Amongst the Love Hotels

Fukudaya is a traditional soba-ya on a narrow pedestrian street in the love hotel area on the Shibuya backstreets. The clientele is smart, ranging from fashionable youth to elderly warmly welcomed as regulars. The soba is light and the serving size is generous. Just minutes from the station on the 2nd floor above a 7-11. The…

Omusubi Gonbei

Rice balls, onigiri or omusubi, may be Japan’s greatest comfort food. I wrote about onigiri for a column on Japanese breakfast in Tokyo for The Japan Times. Omusubi Gonbei is a short walk from Shibuya station. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2016/09/02/food/onigiri-japans-perfect-morning-meal/#.WBqdxeF96Cc Omusubi Gonbei おむすび権米衛 Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 1-7-3 渋谷区渋谷1-7-3 03-3498-2556 opens 8 a.m., weekdays, 9 a.m. weekends and holidays http://www.omusubi-gonbei.com/shoplist/tokyo/shibuya/aoyama.html

Keisuke Fugu Ramen

Fugu, a fish that has many names: torafugu, pufferfish, tiger blowfish, blowfish, porcupine fish, or globefish. Regardless of what you call it, you probably know that it is the fish that one could die from if it is not handled properly. Nowadays fugu farmers in Japan have figured out how to raise poison-free fugu. As for…

Meruhenk Sandwiches

Japanese sandwiches are my go-to meal when I am on the run, even before onigiri rice balls. Meruhen is my favorite sandwich shop and if I am not near one, then some of the convenience stores like 7-11, Lawson, or Family Mart, also has great sandwiches. The sandwiches are built on crustless pain de mie (white bread)….

Midori Sushi

Midori Sushi is a sushiya chain, popular both with locals and tourists, that is known for its basement bargain prices. When we query our preschool son to pick what to have for meals out, it is often sushi. Our go-to place is Choshi Maru which is in our area. Choshi is a famous fishing port…

Tsukiji Chuka Soba Inoue

UPDATE – Tsukiji Chūka Soba Inoue is currently closed due to a fire at Tsukiji Market. (Aug. 2017)   Our favorite ramen at Tsukiji is Inoue. This tiny stall that has standing only tables for dining has been in business for fifty years. There is only one bowl that is made from (I believe) chicken…

Ginza Hageten Kushiage

Hageten is a popular tempura and kushiage restaurant in Ginza. While many are familiar with tempura, kushiage is another great dish that is deep-fried, but covered with panko (Japanese bread crumbs) instead of a flour and egg batter. Hageten’s “service lunch” starts at only 820 JPY for 6 skewers, salad, rice, miso soup, and pickles….

Kuoesu Breakfast

Kuoesu is the rare kaiseki restaurant that is open for breakfast. It is a long walk from Hiroo station, but worth the journey. The set morning meal starts at 900 JPY, so without the kaiseki prices. I was greeted by a female chef who guided me to the quiet counter. I was the first diner…

Risaku Onigiri Breakfast 利さく

My last monthly Japanese breakfast column for The Japan Times was on onigiri. The highlight of my research was this lovely gem, Sendagi Risaku. All of the other shops were part of a chain, but this was an independent shop that, for me, is worth having on your radar when you visit the Yanaka area….

Shibuya D47

D47, on top of the Shibuya Hikarie building, is a restaurant the specializes in regional dishes from throughout Japan. The menu changes monthly and is a great chance to try kyōdo ryōri, hyper-regional cuisine, in Tokyo. The above dish is sōmen from Tokushima. These summer noodles are normally very thin and served cold. These are much…

Asagaya Kakizawa 柿ざわ

Asagaya’s shōtengai is a covered street filled with many small shops for food, confectionaries, and essential items for daily life. It is a great neighborhood to visit if you are looking for an insight to how suburban Tokyoites shop. Just off the main shopping street is a gem of a soba shop, Kakizawa, named after the owner….

Japanese Breakfast – Kuouesu

I have a six-month column on Japanese breakfast in the Japan Times. This special spot was mentioned in my first column on traditional Japanese breakfasts. Kuouesu near Hiroo offers a very unique Japanese breakfast. The kappō restaurant is only open for breakfast and dinner. It was a long walk from the station, so best to…

Shibuya Joto Curry

Katsu curry is a great fusion dish of two Japanese classics, tonkatsu and curry. Near Shibuya station is Jōtō Curry, originally from Osaka. When you come into the 2nd floor shop, you’ll find the vending machine for tickets just to your right. There are photos for the main dishes. The signature katsu curry button is…

Shibuya Hayashi Ramen はやし

On the back streets of Shibuya, a short walk from Mark City and the Inokashira line is Hayashi ramen. There are only 10 seats at a counter overlooking the open kitchen. The ramen at Hayashi is a rich blend of pork and seafood. Meaty and smoky aromas from the bowl are accented with a fresh green…

Shinjuku Kaijin 海神

Kaijin literally means the God of the Seas, a perfect name for this ramen shop that does not use meat. The seafood soup at Shinjuku Kaijin changes daily based on what seafood is in season. The broth, while rich in flavor, is light and refreshing on the palate. The fish that goes into the broth is…