“You can't really say what is beautiful about a place, but the image of the place will remain vividly with you.”
— Tadao Ando
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There are a few rare places in the world that defy categorization. One of those places is Robot Restaurant. In that grimey Shibuya basement disparate cultures converge, are remixed and then amplified until they become something new. Words and definitions fail to convey the spectacle. It’s part dine-in theater, part techno-metal concert, part manga-themed burlesque show, part Rock'em Sock'em Robots, and entirely magical. Things and ideas that were never meant to intersect have been cross-bred and evolved, giving birth to a new cultural specimens, simultaneously foreign and familiar. That is Robot Restaurant.
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When I visited, the new vogue in Tokyo cuisine was pancakes and french toast. But this was not like any you can find in the West. Tokyo chefs have taken the craft of souffle pancakes and brioche french toast to such a pinnacle that it has become an entire reinvention of Western breakfast. Michelin restaurants have engineered a fluffy state of matter akin to a warm cloud that turns to goo on your tongue.