I honestly don’t know how I did it on previous trips here.  Between all the eating and the drinking and the strolling and the not-much-sleeping, when the hell did I ever have time to blog?

Anyway, another full day yesterday.  I spent the morning uploading a whack of pics and videos, then headed out.  Lunch was at Faro, a beautiful Italian restaurant located in Ginza’s equally beautiful Shiseido Building.

The elevators whisk you up to the tenth floor restaurant, the doors opening onto a tiny reception area.  A left turn and you’re in the expansive dining room, a bright, elegant area with an enormous bay window looking out on the Tokyo’s high fashion district.

As we settled in, my dining companion, Uccalele, who I met on my last trip here, presented me with a little gift…

My very own chopsticks. And, for what it's worth, I enjoy the odor of new lacquerware.

We enjoyed the five course Menu Specialita…

The amuse was a delectable little jellied scampi on dill cream.
We were served a selections of breads in what looked like a hat.
First up, a delicate yet satisfyingly earthy porcini and eggplant mousse. I loved its composition, the warm, creaminess of the porcini married with the slightly denser pieces of eggplant.
The dish of the day! Foie gras with chestnut chutney. If I was on death row, this would be on the menu for my last meal.
A nice little spaghetti al radicchio with (what I believe was) ark clam.
An outstanding "sottofesa di manzo" (the lean, prized cut is sourced from the cattle's hindquarter) with black truffle sauce.
And to finish, perhaps a selection from the dessert tray. Wait! Did I say "a" selection? Let's go with "several" instead.
I found the tiramisu a tad too boozy, but thought the chestnut pie very good, and the savarin exceptional.

After lunch, Faro's head chef, Takahiro Nakao, came out to chat. Having spent three years in Italy honing his craft, his Italian is better mine.
Uccalele, me, and Chef Takahiro Nakao.

After lunch, I took a stroll through Ginza and took in the sights…

Hey, you know who likes canned coffee? Tommy Lee Jones likes canned coffee.
I ask you, what kid wouldn't enjoy having this lovable character lunging out at him from a dimly lit toy store aisle?
I'm not sure whether it's a high-end product or a treatment for a condition.
Every weekend, one of Ginza's main streets is closed to vehicle traffic. Check out the guy in the orange. He thinks he's Kate Winslet in Titanic, just imagining Leo's big, strong arms wrapped around him.
Manyh Tokyoites bring their dogs out for a walk. I was desperately looking for a pug or frenchie...
Bingo!
Hansamu!!!
I don't know. I know of like it.
Statue commemorating Godzilla who passed away on this spot in 1963. Taking half of Tokyo and the Japanese army with him.

For dinner, I headed out to Kadowaki, a Michelin two star restaurant in Azabu-Juban.  My dining companion on this evening was Anna from the isle of Jersey in the U.K. who was in the midst of a whirlwind round-the-world tour.  I caught her on her last night in Tokyo as she prepared to head off to take a job in a ski resort in northern Hokkaido (despite the fact that she doesn’t ski).

Anyway, Kadowaki itself is a tiny restaurant.  And I do mean tiny.  A narrow corridor leads you to the dining area, a counter seating seven.  It’s certainly cosy and the food is appropriately homey.  We enjoyed a couple of carafes of excellent cold sake along with our meal…

Gingko nuts, salted and fried. Addictive.
Sesame tofu served with a beet-based sauce. And a phenomenal dish. I'm not one for tofu, but Ishikawa's version is a hands-down winner with a consistency unlike any I've ever sampled before.
Crispy lotus root and ankimo (monkfish liver, the foie gras of the sea). Loved the textural contrast.

White fish with pressed roe.  The fish fairly neutral in flavor so the slight saltiness of the roe takes center stage.

Whole boiled crab. Sweet.
And, of course, the crab guts. The best part!
Chef at work.
The fish...
..is dipped in a soup for some thirty seconds, just enough to impart the flavors of the broth...
...and served rare. Seemingly simple but excellent.
Shaving the black truffle onto the rice.
The rice was delicious and incredibly aromatic.
After we finished up, the Chef came around to see us off.

After leaving the restaurant, Anna and I caught a cab to Ginza where we enjoyed some late-night sweet treats at Laduree.

Les Macarons.
Anna

37 thoughts on “November 29, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #5 – Faro, Kadowaki, and the Sights of Ginza!

  1. Hey Joe,

    I know there are comments…you are busy and probably can’t get to moderating them. Maybe you should have let Carl do it while you were gone. Give him something to do while he was strolling through the studio (on duty of course).

    The pictures are spectacular. I cannot even imagine what research you must do just to find these wonderful places. It is a joy just to behold.

    Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

    Best to you Joe.
    Always,
    Cheryl 🙂

  2. I know many people come to this blog wanting Stargate stuff, but I am actually quite enjoying your posts from the trip.

    I’ve developed an avid interest of Japan and its culture, but never though hard about what kinds of restaurants that they have. Most people, myself included, have a stereotype of Japan inside of our heads, but you open the reality of how normal they are. They have a variety of food just like us.

    I just hope you get your full of ramen while there! I love regular maruchan ramen, but an actual bowl of ramen is said to be quite delightful. Sapporo ramen is said to be famous, so I hope you try some!

    I see that you are enjoying yourself, so I hope that it continues!

  3. The food in these restaurants looks spectacular.

    I am not sure if I could eat some of it though, you have a more adventurous palette than most I think.

    I wonder if you would, for us mere mortals, mention the price of some of this , it would be interesting to know how much you have to spend to experience such a high level of cuisine!

    As for your last meal if on death row, the prison authorities wouldn’t have heard of half of what you would select, you’d end up with cheeseburger and fries 🙂

  4. More great pictures, and vivid descriptions. It’s like your own version of giving us the 12 days of Christmas. Thanks for all the labor of posting, not to mention the physical demands of maintaining such a pace of eating and walking and not sleeping.

  5. The food pics look delicious! (all of them, not just today’s pics)

    I don’t think I would have tasted everything (especially not when told what I was going to eat in some cases – cod sperm >.<") but it looks good 😉

    So far (judging from your stories and pics), the Dai San Harumi sounds like what I would have liked best.

    Imagine yourself deeply envied ^^"
    One day, when I have money… 😉

    May some weird-food-purchases find their way towards yourself!

  6. Not one for tofu, but you love crab guts?? You’re a very strange little man.

    Love the pictures, and I’m certainly enjoying the sights of Tokyo, especially the little Frenchie. But my favorite?

    “I’m not sure whether it’s a high-end product or a treatment for a condition.”

    😆

    Thanks for the early morning laugh!

    For those asking, dad seems to be better this morning – he just called me at 8 am on the dot (he knows it’s the LAW in my house that he’s forbidden to call before that…so he called mom first at 7:00. 🙄 If he could, he’d be calling at 6 am – if he’s up, EVERYone has to be up!! He’s a real piece of work, but I love ‘im…). Doctors think, despite his heart problems, etc., this episode was due to pneumonia, and so far he’s responding well. Keep those thoughts and well-wishes coming! Thanks, everyone.

    das

  7. Wow, when do you find time to blog. Those meals! I remember your blogs on deciding where to eat while on your trip, but wow! It is too bad you aren’t a Hobbit, then you would HAVE to eat twice as many meals a day, and still keep your trim figure. Who knew you could find so much foie gras.
    Thanks for taking us along on your holiday. I’m having a great time and your blog is much better than a few measly postcards.

  8. Now you have gone and done it, found the pup (it is cute) and I hope you won’t feel the homesick pangs, remember to bring the presents and the pugs will still love ya. Thanks for sharing your fun with us.

  9. Wow. Tokyos looking better and better each entry. I’m getting uber jealous of you. 😉 Glad your having a good time though.

    Cough … Outline …. Cough. Lol well to make up for ruining your trip, I’ll pray that you find it. :p

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  10. Me revoila enfin Joseph!

    Mais comment faites vous pour manger autant de choses en une seul journée, vous devez avoir un sacré bon estomac^^!

    En tout cas ça me fais vraiment plaisir de vous voir aussi heureux, ça se voit que vous aimez vraiment cette culture!

    Bonnne journée!
    Gors bisou!

  11. I wonder how many of us would really be jealous of Joe if WE were the ones eating crab guts and cod sperm.

    Just sayin’…

    das

  12. Your Godzilla caption gave me a good laugh for a few minutes….little nuggets like that are one of the reasons why i like reading your blog

  13. Das: great about your dad being better. Pneumonia can make one feel pretty crappy. It’s a good sign that he is calling. When I get that sick, I like to be left alone. Feed me and leave.

    I bought a new laptop. Windows 7 has been really easy so far. Plug and Play for real! It even has blu ray on it.

    Mr. M.! Loved the pictures/videos!!!! How do you hold all that food?

    Thanks Mr. M. for sharing all the experiences with us. I’m not sure how you find the time, but we appreicate it!!!

    T

  14. For what it’s worth, Hermes, Birkin and Kelly are all names for the same style (with very minor differences) handbag.

    We sell the Ostrich Leather Kelly. Just the thing Fondy would love for Christmas. 🙂

  15. It all looks so good. I’m not sure I could eat most of it though. I’m a meat and potatoes type of gal.

    Crab guts? Are they really that good? They look a little watery and squishy to me (Couldn’t think of a better description).

    Godzilla. I guess no trip to Japan would be complete without Godzilla. He is rather small though.

  16. Have to say like all the others, the food looks fabulous. My favorite so far is the picture of Godzilla which wouldn’t be the same without your comment below LOL

    Glad to see you are still enjoying the trip what with the lack of sleep and all. 🙂

    Keep us posted. Thanks Joe

  17. Its been great for my diet. By the time I’ve looked at the pictures and mentally savoured each taste I’m too full to eat my sunday roast:)

    @Das, prayers and positive thoughts for your dad’s continued recovery.

  18. Cool chopsticks! Very thoughtful gift to give a person who is eating his way through Tokyo. How do you get all these great chefs to come out and meet you and take their picture? Are you getting famous (or infamous)? Is that the little Frenchie you met last year? Surely not, but just as cute. Crab guts? Yuk. Another stupendous entry! Thanks.

  19. re: smoked glass last night: i think Blumenthal may have come up with that gimmick. Was the pear capsule done with gellan?

  20. Yum. Sesame tofu – one of my favorites and something I can’t get here. The food looks fabulous. Thanks for the squeezing the blogging and pictures into your busy vacation schedule – we really appreciate it!

  21. Thanks for all the pictures and the (quite often) hilarious captions!!! I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!!!

  22. Heya Joe!

    It seems like you’re having a great time on your trip, based on the pictures, but I’ve fallen behind a bit on my daily blog dose, as things have been a little crazy with impending exams.

    Played soccer tonight, and I thought I recognized someone on the other team. Took me a couple minutes to place the face, but it was Ashleigh (as in, from your production offices) whom I recognized from your blog. I did say hi at the end of the game, and hope I didn’t totally freak her out given that we play another game next week 🙂

    Hope the rest of your trip goes great!
    Nadine

  23. 4Das – hope things are turning well for your dad.

    Joe,
    When will you and Fondy be getting outfits like Hansamu’s (hope this is its name) for your lil ones?

  24. Joe, thanks for taking us with you to Tokyo. We appreciate all the work that entails! Love all the pictures…of food, people, robots, videos, Dogs!, dancing robot dogs, and even you. (You were camera shy last year.) Enjoyed the funny sign. Take more of those when you see them?

    Speaking of Dog pictures, I spy Shiba Inu!!!! (The foxy-looking dogs with the curly tails.)

    Angelus and crazymom1, words are never good enough, but we have sorrow because you are in sorrow. Prayers go with you during this journey of Loss.

  25. Das, your Dad sounds a lot like my Dad, LOL. When he’s up, he makes enough noise so that the rest of the house has to be up, too. And being a handful even when he’s sick? Yep. Especially then. Re: the pneumonia, here’s to hoping that his lungs are clear soon. Not only will he breathe better, but his heart won’t have to work so hard. You’ll have to move his bedroom downstairs, now, won’t you? Keep us posted!!!

    And like your Dad, mine is opinionated, but people still love him. Right while I was listening to Narelle’s link to Powderfinger’s “Burn Your Name,” Dad asked me to read his retirement letter to those folks who love him. Oof! Paused the song in the middle, and read the good-bye to his clients/friends he’s known for decades. It was so hard for him to write. I typed the letter, then we reread it and proofed it together, printed it, and e-mailed it to the office. He feels so much for “his people,” but is allowed to say so little because he will no longer be representing them. We were both choked up.

    Afterwards I came back to play the rest of “Burn Your Name.” Oh, my, the timing of the words…. They’re something like, “I want every single soul to know I love you for what you are. So I sound the bells that praise your precious heart. Burn your name right across the sky, so I never forget what the feeling’s like.” The video is breath-taking. After dark, people light paper lanterns with tall chimneys, and let the hot air carry them aloft into the night. When hundreds float away together in the sky for the Yi Peng Festival, they represent the releasing of all your troubles. It’s a peaceful, joyful celebration, kind of like a Thai version of the movie “Up.”

    It is an end, and a beginning.

  26. Thanks, again, everyone…so far, so good, with dad.

    @ for the love of Beckett – My dad is just one of those guys who everyone loves…great stories, great sense of humor, and very generous (and honest, to boot – probably his strongest quality…I’ve NEVER known my father to tell a lie. I even knew Santa Claus was a big fraud. 😀 ). However, it hasn’t always been easy being his daughter. To this day he still calls me a ‘goddamn kid’ (I’ll leave out the more colorful explectives 🙄 ), and compliments/encouragement are rare. When they do come, there is always a ‘but’ – ‘you did good, BUT…’ He also hates everything I like, and loves to openly ridicule me for it (growing up I rarely talked because I was afraid to be made fun of – now I don’t give a damn, as you can see! Make fun of me all you want, I don’t give a flying fig anymore! 😀 ) However, I don’t have a lot of confidence, and think a lot of it has to do with a combination of my personality and his. I can’t blame him for it all because my sister is just fine, very confident and secure. But where she learned to please him, I was always the opposite – very contrary, a ‘head-butter’. My sister would obey his orders, while I would question them. So…ya know…I did it to myself, made him treat me harder because I was the more stubborn. And so, of course, I work for him. It’s like I enjoy being tortured, or something… 😛

    The video is lovely, thanks for sharing. Recently at the hotel where my husband works, wedding guests did something similar. Problem is, it was in a historic town with a LOT of old, wooden buildings…now with open flames floating over them! Locals had a FIT! (And I don’t blame them – I had a fit when I heard about it, too!) Fortunately, nothing burned down, but the potential was certainly there.

    das

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