I think the praise was well deserved. So many dishes were delicious, enough to make expats think of back home. But the location and unit itself worked against Bincho from the beginning. I’m guessing Tomo-san didn’t think there were issues with this place (at least initially). Izakayas in Japan are usually located in and around foot-trafficky areas and the configuration of deep narrow places are the rule. While it’s a non-issue for Japanese, I think most folks here want more ambiance; more elbow room.
If I was harsh and presumptive in my previous post, I apologize. But I think while Bincho set a new bar in this type of food, the quirkiness did get in the way for us (and I am sure many others). We always tried to show Tomo-san great respect. He did recognize us as we came in often enough. But the gruffness, wonton behavior and disregard for common courtesy ( extremely frowned upon in Japanese culture) that became his norm later on - especially with my parents present - was way beyond unacceptable.
What probably clipped Bincho in the knees was Torihei. The place is similar enough in food to Bincho, the quality is at least on par and probably more of what folks here would want and expect as far as service, space and ambiance.