I feel a little ignorant that I'd never heard of La Rochelle until a few days ago, as this French restaurant has been around for many years at the edge of Shibuya, on the 32nd floor of the Cross Tower. I recently had the opportunity to try it out for one my periodic "blow out" dinners.
As you could imagine the views of Tokyo are terrific but I have to admit to worrying a little bit about how the food would turn out given my recent experiences concerning food with a view. I needn't have worried. The chef at La Rochelle is of the "iron" variety, a Mr Sakai - and a well respected maître Japonais de la cuisine Française!
My dining partner and I opted for the "Image" menu which features an amuse, two entrées ("starters" to my American friends), two main courses, dessert and coffee. A pungent selection of cheeses is also offered. The amuse was really more like an entrée in scale and featured a shot glass of creamy nice stuff with a truffle surprise on the bottom, a crumbed, deep fried cherry tomato, cream filled pastry cigarillo and a tiny dish of simmered mushroom with hints of tomato and bacon - great start! This was followed by a plate of marinated vegetables with raw tuna and shreds of truffle that looked just like nori - interesting combination of flavours. The next entrée was a foie gras served on a slice of mushroom with kaki and pineapple jam. To be honest I'm not sure how well the mushroom complemented the foie gras, but that didn't stop me eating it to the last bit.
This was followed by a snapper served with a light broth and then a lovely morsel of wagyu served with a classy little hash brown. This was followed by the cheese cart, which was not to be denied, and then a delicious dessert of chocolate mousse, chocolate shells with cream and a mandarin ice cream. After coffee and petit fours we had enjoyed an elegant sufficiency, to put it mildly. All this delicious food was washed down with a bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé to start, a lovely Eyrins Bordeaux that our very attentive and obliging waiter recommended around wagyu time, and some muscat with the dessert.
What a feast! All in all, the experience was extremely satisfying and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend La Rochelle. The food is not what I would call innovative but if you are happy with a more traditional-modern French style (by that I mean a cuisine I imagine the chef learned and perfected in the 70s) you will not be disappointed.