No, this isn't my last Newsletter so don't despair (or rejoice)! Recently I was reflecting on a conversation with fellow Louper Mindy G. who plays the "Last Meal" game with her family. The idea is that if you were going to have one final meal, what would it be. For her, it was the Pappardelle Portofino at Ristorante Puny in Portofino (btw, it is exceptional). I think that a reasonable definition of the best of anything is something that you would do on your last day. That perfect meal. That perfect hotel. That amazing experience. I have been fortunate to travel, and to try many places and things; however, I may have encountered some of my all-time favorite things to do on my "last day" in Tokyo. In this week's Loupe, we explore them!
My Last Night's Stay
〒100-0004 Tokyo, Chiyoda, Otemachi, 1 Chome−5−6, 大手町タワー
What makes for a great hotel? This is a complex question and depends on your perspective. For me, it represents a hotel in an excellent city (less of a beach person) where at the end of a long day, you are yearning to return to its comfort and service. I have been to many leading cities and stayed at many great hotels, but I have found myself particularly enchanted with the Aman Tokyo. If you haven't been to a property, the Aman chain represents some of the most beautiful properties in the world, certainly some of the most expensive. However, the Tokyo property stands tall (literally and figuratively) relative to all of them. Walk into the lobby, and you are transported from a city of noise and crowds to an area of tranquility, space, zen, and service. You are in a cavernous space (expertly architected by Kerry Hill) that is over 30 floors above the city with incredible, expansive views over Tokyo. The rooms are well appointed, incredibly spacious and very comfortable. The spa is a meditation unto itself with relaxing colors and sounds. This is where I might check in on that very last night, as it has outer-worldly vibes!
Shima Steak Tokyo
〒130-0026 Tokyo, Sumida, Ryogoku, 2 Chome−11−９ 三共ビル
Last meal is particularly tricky as there are so many different cuisines and so many dishes to choose from. I like steak. However, I didn't know how good steak could be until I came to Shima. This restaurant is located in a nondescript building where you must take the elevator to the basement level. If it weren't for a very knowledgeable cab driver, I may still be looking for it. Once inside, you are welcomed by Oshima's wife to their intimate restaurant. Walk past the open kitchen and say hello to Chef Manubu Oshima. No fancy decor. However, the patrons are exuding good vibes and positive energy. The menu is simple consisting of two cuts of steak (Kobe filet and sirloin), a fish option, and a couple of salads. I prefer a small menu done well, and this menu is exemplary. Chef ages his own Waygu beef from his hometown of Kyoto. He cooks it to perfection and serves it with love and passion. Cut into the steak, and it literally melts; I'm not sure you even need a steak knife as it is that tender. Please note it is not fatty, something that seems to have been lost on most US-based steakhouses. This is literally the best steak I have ever enjoyed. At the end of the meal, Chef and his wife walked us to our taxi and bid us farewell. Those in the know, ask for the doggie bag, which contains the most sublime steak sandwiches in a bento box (although it is not listed on the small menu). There is no doubt, I would be happy if this was my last meal.
My Last Worldly Posession
Neorest® 750H Dual Flush Toilet
Holy sh*t, I know I don't need any worldly possessions heading into my last day. Not even a pot to piss in. However, I would make sure that my last worldly possession was a pot to piss in, and that it was a Japanese style toilet. They are ubiquitous in Japan, and I can't understand for the life of me why they aren't everywhere in the world. No need to lift the seat, it does it automatically. No need to put it back down for your wife, it does that too. Hell, it even automatically flushes. Sit on this throne, and it is warm. And, the greatest feature might be the built-in bidet and dryer. You will feel like a king with this last worldly possession. I am saddened that I wasn't able to visit the Toto Museum on the South Island of Japan ... I will, however, be calling my plumber the minute I get home! After all, we all have a smart phone so why not a smart toilet?