The inspiration is unmistakably Okinawan, as are the ingredients -- but they are prepared and presented with the understated elegance of Kyoto and its elaborate kaiseki multicourse cuisine. It's an intriguing cross-cultural melding, and one that by and large works wonderfully.

Like so many casual eating/drinking spots opening in these cash-strapped times, Maruni keeps things simple and cheap. It's basically a standing bar serving yakiniku barbecue, with a brightly lit interior and retro wooden facade. What sets it apart from just about any other place ...

In charge of the grill is Tomohiko Abe, Ikegawa's youthful right-hand man from Torishiki. He is working side by side with Yasunori Yamamoto, whose background is in Italian cuisine. It sounds hybrid, but it works wonderfully.

The idea is simple but profound. Japan's traditional multicourse cuisine has always been based on the bounty of the vegetable kingdom. Increasingly, though, kaiseki meals have become loaded up with meat and seafood, with vegetables, herbs and mushrooms treated as mere seasonal accents. Nagamine ...

When Suzuki first opened Aramasa, the idea of providing Tokyoites with the local food and drink of furthest Akita was almost as exotic as it would be now, say, to serve Ethiopian cuisine (though, of course, he had the advantage of constant support from ...

Iseeya's tempura is hearty and substantial. The batter is applied in a thick layer; the oil is dark and strongly imbued with the rich aroma of sesame. This is how tempura was prepared in Edo times, when it was cooked and sold from street ...

R. Not only does this basement hideaway in the back streets of Ebisu serve up quality ryori in the Kyoto style seven evenings a week, it manages to do so at reasonable prices and with absolutely no standing on ceremony. You can tell from ...

The great film director Akira Kurosawa was a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine in the widest sense -- he especially liked his meat and chicken, it is reported. But he was also an aficionado of te-uchi (fresh, handmade) soba. So that is why, after his ...

Kokoromai serves eight varieties of plain white rice, each identified by the prefecture of its origin and even the name of the farmer who grew it. In addition, they also prepare genmai (very lightly polished brown rice) and zakkoku, mixed with grains such as ...

The name, Sasano, is cunningly derived from alternate readings of the two Chinese characters meaning "sake" and "drink." They could well have added a couple more ideograms to boast that you will also eat very well here.

Designer okonomiyaki may sound like a contradiction in terms, but here in Shirokane it seems to make perfect sense. Where else can you go to drink Pouilly-Fuisse with your pancakes?

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