Les Creations de Narisawa, Minami Aoyama レ・クレアシヨン・ド・ナリサワ 南青山

Yoshihiro Narisawa at Creations de Narisawa apprenticed with both Bocuse and Robuchon, so it's hard to imagine a better pedigree in French cooking that this still-young chef could have had. His restaurant, which is located under the Sony building in Minami Aoyama, opened in 2003 and since then has received a string of accolades, including a Michelin star and being named by San Pellegrino water as one of the top 20 restaurants in the world (on my blog you can read about one of the others - Tetsuyas).

After dining there I can confirm that all the accolades are well deserved. Indeed, I really need to question why this restaurant has only one Michelin star when you compare it to other places in Tokyo which are supposedly on the same level. Creations is clearly aiming for a class above. The first thing that sets it apart is its ultra-modern "waiting room" where you are asked to sit before the electric doors slide open and your waiter leads you to your seat.

There is a studied, deliberate coldness both about the room and the serving staff who do quite a good impression of expressionless androids; which is quite disconcerting at first. However I set out to see if I could subtly melt this down a bit, and as the evening wore on I'm happy to say that both our waiters became steadily more human and even Mr Narisawa himself came out to say hi - and couldn't have been more friendly. Hmm - I know they're trying to focus all attention on the food with the minimalism, but I think people, at the end of the day, want a human experience too when they dine out. I think one shouldn't really attempt to separate this from the food.

I'm going to show a pic of each dish that was served on the “o-makase” menu (the only choice available) with a little description. I opted for the paired wines which took all the work out of deciding how to wash it all down. Just one final point - if you need to ask how much this meal was then you won't be able to afford it. I’ll be paying this one off in installments ;-0

Amuse of Sea Urchin with Kyoto onion.

Fresh as can be - delicious!

Aji (a white fish), mozzarella and beans.

The sauce was kind of savoury - great!

This is not a pot-plant. It's actually butter and the "dirt" is like a tapenade. This went down well with the bread, which was divine - especially the black bread.

Finger lickin' good fried frog, served with poached egg, frog foam and summer truffles. It tasted as good as it looked.

Abalone, served with dry ice/"ashes"and a capsicum sauce. Entertaining.

Kyoto eggplant topped with mushroom, petals, pine nuts and a curtain of tomato jelly. Fresh and playful!

This little critter is an "Ayu" - a freshwater fish. It's billed as a sweet fish but was actualy rather bitter. More interesting than enjoyable to eat.

Eel, foie gras and mango. Served under a dome containing fragrant incense - wow. Stupidly, I opted out of this one.

Instead I got a rather nice little monkfish and clam dish.

The main event - Matsuzaka beef slow cooked in charcoal or "sumi" with a side of slimy girolle mushies. It tasted every bit as good as you'd expect.

"Pina Colada". Good little mouth freshener.

Ice cream with chamomile foam, strawberry and rhubarb. The glass dish it was served on was cool as!

This is not pictured but there was a huge cart of petit fours, savarins, choc pudding that was served with coffee. Yum!!

Tel: 03-5785-0799


Joseph Mallozzi said…
Looks fantastic. I'm planning a return trip to Tokyo this winter and will definitely have the hotel make a reservation.

You say that you succeeded in eventually thawing out their frosty demeanor. How exactly? Do you speak Japanese? Did the waiter speak any English?
Dom said…
i think he's trying to create a sort of stark, "shibui" feeling - it wasn't anything to do with being a foreigner - i just think it's hard to keep that kind of act up for any length of time if you're dealing with people showing enthusiasm to your food...
g. neidisch said…
so you were dining there? what about lunch? is it as expensive as dinner?
Dom said…
it was for dinner - i don't know about lunch...
g. neidisch said…
thanks Dom, I had lunch there :)
It was just great and delicious, and the chef also said HI to us...
Dom said…
that's great - i would love to have lunch there one day, especially as i will be moving office nearby very soon

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