In Tokyo, where I was until yesterday, there are so many amazing things going on, it’s hard to know where to start talking about them. Some other time I’ll write about the chef whose desserts, when scanned with a (Japanese) cell phone, take you to the restaurant’s website where the chef explains the dish; or how $30 mangoes are really worth the price; or about all the American chefs and restaurateurs who are reportedly looking to open up outposts there, now that Danny Meyer has pulled the trigger with his Union Square Tokyo.
But the bigger buzz in Tokyo was all the chefs who are coming here (watching the back and forth is a little like seeing all the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, residents head to the East Village to hang out, while all the East Villagers are making the reverse trip). First up are the Matsushita brothers, owners of Matsugen-ri, a terrific little soba place on the fourth floor of a typical Ginza building. As Grub Street first hinted and Florence Fabricant confirmed, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has tapped them to run the kitchen at the restaurant he's opening in the Manhattan space that formerly housed his Shanghai restaurant, 66. With the new place, he’s hoping to capitalize on the soba cravings New Yorkers are experiencing now that the Soho classic Honmura An is closed. Will there be loud noodle-slurping, the way there is in Tokyo? Who knows, but look for the space to open in the summer.