World Chefs: Gourmet "standing" restaurant a Tokyo hit
By Junko Fujita
TOKYO (Reuters) - "Standing" bars - where customers stand to drink - are currently popular in Tokyo, but now the former chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant has taken the concept to a whole new level by serving gourmet food.
Hiroshi Shimada, who once worked at the three-starred Tokyo restaurant Azabu Yukimura, opened "Shimada" in the city's fashionable Ginza district in January, and now has diners lining up to sample dishes similar to what he used to create for customers before - at a third or less of the cost.
Shimada, 40, maintains his insistence on top ingredients. He uses a whole Ise ebi, a kind of lobster, for stock used to prepare a gelee, which is served with sea urchin in its shell.
The secret, he says, is in turnover - one reason he doesn't have any chairs in the tiny restaurant, which has space for only 14 people.
Shimada spoke with Reuters about his new venture.
Q: Why did you want to open a standing bar type of restaurant after Yukimura?
A: "Customers who would dine at Yukimura are just one or two percent of the whole population. Rather I wanted to serve the vast majority by charging less and open my own restaurant. Did I want to open a yakitori place? No. I did not want to give up what I had achieved in the past. This restaurant was a result of connecting the two dots - serving first-rate food but for much less money."
Q:How do you balance costs and profits? Continued...