December 1, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #7 – Gordon Ramsay, Mo Shibuya Stroll, Ishikawa (and I mean it this time!)
Success! Following five success days of post-feasting pre-day sloth, I actually managed an entire half a work yesterday morning! After showering up, I peeked outside and noted it was overcast, gambled, left the sunglasses behind and donned my coat. Later that day, as I was walking through Omotesando, one of my coat buttons came off in my hand. Now I have to track down a needle and black thread – AND find someone to run me off some business cards as I am now dangerously low. It seems that everyone you meet in this city expects you to exchange business cards with them. I figured I could play it safe by bringing along thirty and, with my trip almost at the halfway mark, I’m down to two.
Oh, to those asking the prices of the meals I’ve been enjoying – keep in mind, these are all Michelin starred restaurants, the very best that the city has to offer. They’re also, but for a few cases, fine dining establishments. In order to afford the meals, I booked my flight on points, got a deal on my hotel room, and am actually using the subway whenever humanly possible (ie. if it’s not too late and I’m exhausted). So, how much are these meals? Well, they range from the reasonable to the outrageous. Let’s put it this way. Many lunches are a steal at a little over $80/person.
Speaking of lunch – yesterday, I enjoyed a group outing with return diners Satch and Uccalele. We were also joined by Gregor Andreewitch, General Manager of the Conrad Hotel in Tokyo. We gathered at the Conrad’s 28th floor restaurant level to enjoy a meal at the famed Gordon Ramsay’s cool Tokyo eatery named, appropriately enough, Gordon Ramsay.
From the dizzying heights of Gordon Ramsay to the street level chaos of Omotesando, I was crosstown in a little under thirty minutes to meet my friend Akemi.
We strolled past the university located across from Pierre Herme (only after stopping in for some macarons and hot chocolate of course)…
I eventually headed back to the hotel where I updated my blog, recharged, and headed out for dinner at Ishikawa. No, really. I realized yesterday morning that the restaurant I had assumed was Ishikawa the other day was, in fact, Kadowaki. I read the wrong restaurant date and, on the night, there was nothing in the way of a Kadowaki sign to tell me otherwise. My bad.
Ishikawa is one of the city’s (actually, the world’s) top-rated restaurants, a three-star Michelin pick located in quaint Kagurazaka.
This was followed by a delicate and delicious soup of scallops, leeks, shiitake mushroom, mizuna green, and deep-fried tofu, then an equally delicate sashimi of flat fish – another subtly flavored fish but one possessed of a nice, meatier texture.
After our meal, both Chef Ishikawa and Manager Sugizaki walked us out to our waiting taxi., putting the capper on a lovely evening. I felt as though I was saying goodbye to the comforts of a home away from home and extended family. I’m definitely coming back next year.
Finally, to Das who was asking about tipping. It’s not expected but those who’ll tell you it’s frowned upon or insulting are attempting to asuage their own guilty conscience. I make it a point to tip and, from my experience, the Japanese like it just fine.