Shinsuke is a famous little joint, and obviously knows it. It doesn't make the slightest effort to advertise itself, and the little wooden sign with its name in katakana hanging next to its door is just a formality: you have to know it's there to find it. I was introduced to the place by a new friend of mine who, having lived around Ueno for the past few decades, knows it very well, and he told me that recently the English language Tokyojin has published a list of its favorite Nomiyas. Shinsuke was the only one in Bunkyo-ku honored by the paper with a few lines.
I was expecting a lively place full of people and smelling of fish and oil, but Shinsuke isn't like that: a little classier and a good deal quieter than the average izakaya, it is nonetheless basically the same thing. Sure, the food costs way more, and portion are way smaller, but basically it's the same glorified thing: sushi, fried, boiled and grilled fish, sunomono, and so on. Sure, it's 80 years old, and sure, it has a tradition, but I wasn't very impressed and I don't share Tokyo Q's enthusiasm for the place. It's too sterile for my character, too expensive for what it offers and I don't think I will be going again any time soon. I can have the same things somewhere else with a more interesting menu. If you do want to go, first eat something at the nearest Mac Donald's, or you will go to bed either broke or hungry.