Dom quote

Dom quote

The Michelin Guide has consistently awarded more stars to Tokyo dining establishments than any other city in the world. I created this blog as my personal Tokyo restaurant guide, but I hope you will also enjoy reading it. If you have been to any of the same places feel free to leave some comments about your own experiences.

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Thursday, 30 December 2010

Restaurant Hiromichi Ebisu レストラン ヒロミチ恵比寿

For one of my more special one-on-one bounenkais (end of year catch-ups) I thought it would be nice to try Hiromichi in Ebisu. The chef was formerly at Chemins, Akasaka. I know this because everyone I've read on the net quotes this fact. I guess this is supposed to mean he's pretty good, because Chemins has one of those dreadfully sought after Michelin stars.

Hiromichi-san just got his own star (omedetou!) so I went along to see what the fuss was about, and I can definitely say that the star was well earned. The prices are extremely reasonable (7,500 for the dinner set) and the quality of cooking is excellent.

Little amuse of hibiscus and olive (strange combination but not unpleasant).

The big amuse of cheese puff and terrine

The butter had a seaweed thingy on it giving it a bit of saltiness - great idea.

My oysters - cold and hot

The scallop was served with a little gobou root paste.

The foie gras was beautifully cooked. I tend to prefer it with a more acidic sauce than the cream sauce here, but no complaints.

I'm not a big fan of boudin noir, but my dining partner ordered it and I had a taste. Not bad!

Fish of the Day (can't remember what it was though...)

The venison was delicious

I didn't want the banana crepe so I got a nice gooey choccy pudding instead

Banana crepes
Petits fours and fairy floss (or cotton candy to my American friends!)


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Il Figo Ingordo, Roppongi トラットリア・イル・フィーゴ・インゴルド 六本木

Of course, like any other sentient being, I love Italian food. But, without sounding like a peasant, I don't really enjoy Italian food when chefs aim for refinement and technical precision. Unlike French food (where I think the refined and poncier the better) I think Italian cuisine works best when it sticks to the basics.

Il Figo Ingordo is an Italian restaurant located in Roppongi, quite close to Roppongi Hills but on the other side of Roppongi Dori. Quite simply, it serves the most satisfying Italian food I have tasted in a very long time. There is nothing particularly sophisticated about the menu and the preparation of the food, but the ingredients are absolutely top-notch and the chef knows exactly what he's doing.

I've been there for a very enjoyable lunch and, most recently, for my company's bonenkai (end of year party). Taking into account the quality of the food and its skillful preparation the prices are more than reasonable so I just might make this one of my regulars.

The bread, especially the focaccia with Rosemary is delicious!

Take your pick of delicious fresh fish, prepared acqua pazza style, grilled or fried

The steak tartare with truffle (that blur in the pic is the waiter shaving fresh truffle on) was exceptionally good

Wild boar penne. I had this at lunch on my first visit. Very good.

Stuffed calamari (looked great but I didn't get a taste)

Shrimp taglione in squid ink. This was mine and very nice.

Fish (can't remember which, sorry).

This was the grilled pork. I didn't get a pic but my beef was AMAZING. Just the best I can remember for so long...

Dessert cart

Tel: 03-6447-2347

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hoi, Ebisu HOI 恵比寿

I love Chinese food but I'm kind of Chuuka-phobic (Chuuka being what they call Japanese-style Chinese food in Japan). For the most part I find it kind of bland and gluggy - a world away from real Chinese food which can be some of the most exciting on earth.

So it was probably for that reason that although I had heard good things about Hoi, whenever it came to the crunch and I needed somewhere for dinner near my soon to be vacated Ebisu apartment (I will miss the neighborhood) I would cross the street to Marché aux Puces. Well I reckon Marché has got pretty same old same old so I recently forced myself to try Hoi.

I am well glad I did. This is Chuuka ryori the way it should be - bold, flavoursome and filling. I will let the pictures tell the story, but I should add it's great value for money - two full course meals and two beers for just under 9,000 yen.

Fried burdock - must be much healthier than french fries...

Assorted appetisers - jellyfish, eggplant and pork

Shark fin "Fuka Hire" soup

This fried prawn with chilli was delicious. The waiter advised me to eat the head which I did. It was yummy - I lost my prawn head virginity!!!

Delicious sweet and sour pork "Subuta". We were able to substitute the beef harami which was orginally part of the set...

Mapo dofu. This is spicy as hell - and yummy!

Some clear broth (great stock) and noodles to finish.

Anin dofu was just the way I like it - kind of you bite into it and the fluid feels like it's coming out.

Tel: 03-3446-5437

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Legato, Shibuya レガート 渋谷

Located at the top of Dougenzaka, Legato (owned by the Global Dining group) is one of the mainstays of Tokyo ex-pat dining. I've "done" Legato at least four times during my time in Tokyo and I've never failed to have a good time there.

It's not because the food is so good, because it really isn't anything to write home about (except for the 50 day aged steak - yum!). The wines are another matter however and on a recent visit for dinner on a Saturday night with friends from overseas, our attentive maitre d'hotel, Nabil, made sure that we were fixed up with a lovely Aussie Pinot Noir.

It's a great place for a reasonably priced (well for the food at least) night out with gaijins who aren't too fussy about insisting on going somewhere from the Michelin Guide. I'd advise you to start with a nice drink and take in the view at the bar before you go to your table.

Fresh pork spring roll

Thickly sliced prosciutto (delicious) and seafood salad

The 200 gram aged steak. The trimmings of mashed potato and a few scraps of mushroom didn't rock my world, and it comes with no sauce (and none is offered). However the meat itself is basically to die for so you don't need anything really other than a bit of pepper with this one...

The salmon was not good I'm afraid - was somewhat overcooked.

The plate's not brown - it's dusted with cocoa!

Tel: 03-5784-2120

Izari, Naka Meguro 伊座利, 中目黒

Has anyone noticed just how happening Naka Meguro is getting? In the six months since I've been down there I've noticed new cafes and boutiques opening up and down the river, and it's really nice to see that there is at least one area in Tokyo that is not looking gloomy and shuttered up (been to Aoyama lately???).

I came upon Izari quite by accident but I'm really glad I did. This modern Japanese restaurant does the basic Japanese comfort food favourites such as curry rice, omelette rice and hamburger; but there's a twist. The chef prepares these as if we're dining at a Michelin restaurant. The execution is exquisite and delivers a taste sensation way beyond your basic slopped-up comfort food.

This place is fantastic. I'm definitely going to be back and back and back...

The "hamburg" was juicy as can be, the demi-glace sauce superb, the cheese delicious and the spaghetti beautifully infused with a white pepper flavour. The chef actually made this bog-standard fare taste sophisticated!

Tel: 03-5456-8210

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Ristorante Frick, Minami Aoyama フリック南青山

It's taken me a couple of visits to get around to writing about Ristorante Frick in Minami Aoyama. During the first dinner I was so engrossed in the conversation with my dining partner that I forgot to take photos of most of the food. The next time I was out with my work colleagues and, again, I forgot to take all the photos I should have. I am hoping that my patchwork photo essay will be enough to cobble together an impression of the fare.

The first thing you notice about Frick is, of course, the name. Apparently it's an acronym blending the first initials of the team. They're a young team, and the chef and his dour waiter look like they're barely out of high school. I think they're blissfully unaware of the double entendre in English, and the name certainly has raised a few eyebrows. But this is Japan so, frankly, who frickin cares?

For 5,250 yen you can order the Menu Frick which includes an amuse, vegetable plate, pasta, main, dessert and coffee. It's excellent value and allows you either a reasonably priced dinner or to splash out on some delicious Italian wines or grappa which, of course, is what I did on both occasions.

I think, overall, the food is pleasant enough and reflects a high degree of thought in conception and reasonably good attention to detail in execution. Top marks for that, especially when considering the good price performance and the compromises that this demands. I think though that this young chef is capable of operating at a higher level if he has the opportunity and willingness to develop. It would be a pity if he were not to continue to grow in his art, resting on the laurels of the apparently commercially successful formula he has struck for these recessionary times.

The amuse bouches are intriguing. Here is a chicken liver puff and a spoon of (omg I forgot...)

This is a puff with pork and a little blini with raw tuna and okra

The raw vegetable plate comes with an anchovy and olive oil dip. Hmm, it's OK but it really is a bit raw for my liking...

I forgot to take pictures on both visits of the pasta, but I had sea urchin and tomato sauce which was quite nice. The lamb ragu was well received by those that had it and the mozzarella and tomato also seemed to go down nicely.

The duck "sumibiyaki" was, honestly, a little bland even with the truffle shavings.

The fish received good reviews, but not about the portion size, which I agree was tiny.

The pork received a good review on the second visit. I had pork on my first visit and it was OK.

You don't get to choose your dessert which is pretty annoying as I don't like a lot of fruits. I rejected my banana tiramisu (?!) and they kindly prepared the apple pie and ice cream which was much more to my liking.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Itamae Gokoro Kikuura, Nishi Shinjuku 板前心 菊うら 西新宿

Kikuura is a friendly, unpretentious Japanese restaurant in Nishi Shinjuku. Their food has a lot of thought put into it and is of very good quality. The kimono clad servers are also delightful. Amazingly, the set pictured here is just 5,000 yen per head. I would highly recommend Kikuura as a place to take visiting friends for an authentic Japanese meal.

Abalone with its miso (guts) mixed with vinegar

"Moriawase" of starters

Pumpkin consomme with scallop, shrimp, corn and snow peas

Sashimi. The accompanying sliced vegetable had an amazing texture. The uni (sea urchin) was delicious - sweet and none of that funky taste that you often get

Fish was delicious

Anago (conger eel) with eggplant and daikon

Rice and miso soup. The miso had some bony fish and negi (spring onion) in it giving it a very pleasant flavour

Anin doufu (almond jelly) - a Chinese touch to finish the evening.