4.12.17 / Tokyo / Japan

Mike Nouveau’s Guide To Tokyo

tokyo7

Mike Nouveau has a lot on his plate. As a DJ you might know him from some of the coolest clubs in New York, after-parties at Milan and Paris fashion weeks, or maybe even the kind of Coachella parties he’s currently en route to spin. There’s a good chance you’ve caught him on a street style roundup, clad head-to-toe in avant-garde designers like Paul Harnden, Rick Owens, and Comme des Garcons. Or you might just have seen his Instagram where he showcases his penchant for striking artwork and the most interesting restaurants in the world, where he literally has a lot on his plate.

tokyo8

It’s the combination of all of these things that have made his travels so fascinating, but nothing has looked as good as his recent adventure in Tokyo. It was a rare trip that was no business, all pleasure, and Nouveau acted accordingly. He fully immersed himself in the culture, going to the cherry blossom festival, hanging out at the famous Park Hyatt, and checking out the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the National Art Center. But we caught up with Mike to find out what he knows best: the unique, under-the-radar spots that give Tokyo its distinct character.

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 1.22.47 PM
[Matador roast beef ramen]

Matador

“There’s this ramen ya, in a weird area of Tokyo, way more residential, that’s called Matador. They serve roast beef ramen, which is so amazing. And it’s off the radar. There are a lot of boring chain ramen restaurants that every American thinks is the best because they don’t leave the central area. It’s not a traditional ramen; usually ramen is pork or chicken, this is really super delicious.”

tokyo2
[The search for great ramen…]

Menya Itto

“It’s similar to [Matador] in that it’s in a totally random area of Tokyo, where I was definitely the only Westerner. And this was tsukemen, like dipping ramen. So you have two bowls, one has just broth, and the other has noodles and chashu, and there’s also chicken meatballs in the broth. It was just transcendent and incredible.”

tokyo9
[Ueno Park]

Hinoya

“A little bit outside central Tokyo, in Ueno, is a big cherry blossom site; I was there for the sakura blooming. It was the perfect time to go, a lot of people go just for that. There’s a street that has all these Japanese denim stores, kind of a mecca for Japanese denim. And I actually bought a pair, which is funny because I never wear jeans. I used to be really into Japanese denim like 13 years ago, and now I saw these and they’re so beautiful. There’s two of them on the same street, which is filled with Japanese workwear, Japanese Americana. It’s amazing, for $200 the work and quality and love that goes into this compared to like, a pair of $2000 Gucci jeans.”

Bear Pond

“It’s this Japanese guy who lived in the East Village for 20 years, and he moved back to this area in Tokyo called Shimokitizawa which is like the East Village of Tokyo, and opened this place where he’s kind of hacked his espresso machine to do these really greasy, dark shots of espresso. He only does 10 of them per day and they’re like $7 each, it’s called Angel Stain. He also does an amazing Gibraltar.”

tokyo4
[Tsuta ramen]

Tsuta

“It was the first one to get a [Michelin] star so it was big news that this ramen ya that seats 9 people and just serves ramen got a star. This is also not in a normal area. You have to go there at 7 in the morning and you get a ticket which tells you what time to come back. Once it got the Michelin star it was game over. It has wontons, pork chashu, black truffle, and egg.”

Takahiromiyashita The Soloist

“It’s cool, a little bit hidden. I think the brand is really interesting. This season was not so interesting…but the store itself is cool. You don’t ever see that much of this brand, so seeing the whole collection was kind of cool.”

tokyo5
[Gyukatsu Motomura beef cutlet]

Gyukatsu Motomura

“This is a little bit of a chain. Beef cutlet, so they serve it super rare but they also give you this heated thing with a candle in it so you can sear the meat more. I ate it just like that but I tried [searing]. It was better than I thought it was going to be. I thought it would taste super fried, but it was incredible.”

Fuglen

“It’s actually from Oslo, Norway. And it’s affiliated with Monocle magazine, there’s a Monocle shop like 500 feet away from where this coffee shop is. It was in the area where I was staying, like north Shibuya. It was so cozy and nice, I went almost everyday. You go there and it’s like half expats, which is usually what I avoid when I’m traveling, but it was very comfortable. It’s no secret.”

[Check out Mike’s other picks at @mikenouveau]

tokyo10
[Toranoman Hills]

tokyo11
[More Kusama at Naoshima island]

tokyo3
[Tokyo at night]