Tokyo Blond Is Not Porn

Tokyo Blond is not a porn blog, about hair or even, as one pithy friend remarked, a micro beer or late 1980s glam metal band ("Dude, I just saw Skid Row and Tokyo Blond opened and played a killer set").

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences in Tokyo - poignantly, visually, irreverently - for fun.

Anybody can tag along...that is if I like you. This blog will endeavor to be entertaining and honest and frequent enough to keep those following interested including me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sushi Sorry

So, Friday we decided to have sushi.  After perusing the many choices in the Tokyo Michelin guide, kind of like Zaggats but French and far more particular, we decided upon a place called "Shin" near our apartment.  We tried to call to make a reservation but like so many other times, when they don't speak any English, we wind up confused and not really sure we secured a table or ordered a pizza.  Generally, we find when we attempt to go someplace authentic that doesn't cater to tourists and gaijin, once they realize we don't speak Japanese, they try to get us off the phone as quickly as possible or just say no.  At the conclusion of the ten minute conversation we either had a reservation at 8:30 or we were supposed to call back at 8:30. Translation - we'll decide then if we want to allow you into our restaurant.  We decided to just go there and take our chances.  I love humiliation.

After walking around the block the restaurant was allegedly located in, we finally found the entrance on a side street.  Thankfully the Michelin guide shows a picture of the entrance of each of the restaurants featured, which in Tokyo is sometimes the only way to find a place because they don't really believe in addresses here.  The restaurant was located on the third floor in an old building in a fashionable neighborhood.

We had to duck, well Russell did, to get into the restaurant.  The place was warmly lit but tiny.  There was a sushi counter which sat less than ten people and two tiny tables.  It was very quiet.  I felt like we had just walked into a stranger's living room unexpectedly.  Ooops, Sorry wrong apartment.  I felt like apologizing and backing out.  And based upon the way everyone else looked at us, appalled, I think they felt we should too.  

The wait staff looked confused.  Russell tried to secure us a seat at the counter, which had three seats open.  The wait staff looked even more confused.  I could almost hear them thinking,  "excuse me what?  You want to eat here?  I think not."  Now I understood why the guy on the phone asked us to call back later.  He probably thought we'll maybe if business is slow... we wouldn't want to offend any of our regular customers.

Clearly we were not welcome.  Russell was persistent.  The wait staff were consternated.  Finally a customer from the sushi bar, who apparently spoke English, came over and translated for us.  That was nice of him.  Apparently they were "filled up".   Ah, that explains the three empty seats at the bar.
We apologized and backed out.

Since we had already been around this block we'd discovered a quaint little French place on the back street called "Les Vinum" so we decided to go there.  It didn't have a Michelin star but the menu looked promising.  They were all "filled up" too but they allowed us to sit outside on the patio.  The patio consisted of tables in front of the restaurant on the street.  

I was a little concerned we wouldn't get good service sitting outside, especially since we were the only ones.  But I was momentarily confused, it must have been the previous humiliation, this was Tokyo so the service was excellent, as well as the food.  We both had the pre fixe menu which was a great value.  The highlights were sea bass carpaccio and house made pate.  The carpaccio was served with slivers of sweet yellow grapefruit and a basil/mint dressing.  I'm going to try to make this at home.  The pate was rich and savory and complemented by perfect crusty french bread.  They had a good wine menu as well.  So after a glass of champagne we had a bottle of Sancerre to wash the outstanding meal and our residual humiliation down.

Look here's a picture of it and my darling purse.

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