Aronia de Takazawa, Akasaka アロニア ド タカザワ 赤坂
My dinner plans at Aronia de Takazawa came as a complete but pleasant surprise after a fellow foodie at a loose end suggested we try it together. I'd never heard of Aronia (hello, and I call myself a Tokyo food blogger!) and when I arrived I could definitely see that the place has been designed with exclusivity in mind. The discrete entrance for this rather conveniently located restaurant is to be found hiding in plain sight in an Akasaka alley just parallel to Sotobori Dori.
The restaurant sets only two tables per evening, and the chef stands doing his work on a raised platform in full view of the diners. The waitress on the evening we visited, or should I more aptly say his representative, spoke more than passable English and was very helpful throughout the evening.
I don't quite know how to describe the style of cooking, but "modern cuisine" seems the most fitting. If I had to compare a similar restaurant, albeit a more famous one, one I would say that Creations de Narisawa in Aoyama would be the most similar in goal. In terms of execution, the food at Creations is better in my opinion, but this should not take away from the assessment of the food at Aronia which is very good.
Our nine course tasting menu was 20,000 yen. This was paired with 100% Japanese wines, which provided an interesting experience. I appreciated the uniqueness of the idea of pairing with Japanese wines, but the reality is that Japanese wine simply doesn't make the grade for this level of cuisine. Every wine we tried showed a great deal of effort in its conception and realisation, however there is just something "funky" to my palate about Japanese wine.
If you consider that the wines, which my dining partner did not even to any extent fully partake of, added a full 30,000 yen to the bill, you're looking at a seriously pricey dinner that begins to unroll your socks, but doesn't really knock them off. I still give it 4 stars, but I seriously suggest some further thought be given to the experience versus the investment - especially when considering the competition at that level.
Amuses were toro sashimi with avocado mouse and little white fishies with shiso.
Very creative rendering of Ratatouille
Fruit bread with pork rillette
"Hamo" with chilled tomato soup
Asparagus four ways (delicious)
Candleholder with foie gras pudding
O-toro tuna with powder dressing (liquid nitrogen powder!)
Hokkaido lamb (this was on the fatty side)
"Martini" jelly with fake olives. They're actually apricots.
Takazawa's Special Camembert