Review excerpt: Front and center at Gomachu are a scoop of kin-gomadofu, made from roasted golden sesame seeds, and, in a separate dish, a light coffee-colored scoop made with a soba noodle base and black sesame seeds and topped with roasted nuts.

The lunchtime menu is limited. Besides the bento, there are usually only a few other choices: typically a donburi (rice bowl) served with tempura or chicken and egg. At night the menu is far more generous, with as many options as any good izakaya ...

The kamonasu takiawase (a Kyoto heirloom eggplant simmered in dashi) was served with sukiyaki-thin pork, and melded together in a lemon sauce. The futamono (covered dish) was a clear soup containing fish paste studded with sweet corn and Hokkaido scallop — a delicate combination ...

Tottuan in Fukushima -- the gullet of Osaka -- is firmly in the glasnost category. It's a squat boxy restaurant with big windows that look out onto the street on one side, a snack bar at the entrance and a thoroughfare on the other ...

At Hanakujira the person to watch is the cook holding the tongs; like a musical conductor he sets the rhythm and the tone of the restaurant, and it is from his vat that all good things come. Oden is a year-round food, but best ...

Incredible handmade soba. I had kamojiru soba, a bowl of sauteed duck served with noodles thin enough to thread through the eye of a needle, and topped with sansho peppers; this is food approaching edible art.

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