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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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Chef's Shanghai Cuisine, Shinjuku シェフス 新宿

Chef's is a small, family style Chinese restaurant tucked away in a fairly non-commercial part of Shinjuki 1-chome, not far from where Gaien Nishi Dori ends. It's been around for years and on a friend's recommendation I decided to try it for dinner in a party of three.

What a great choice! Although it's an unpretentious little affair of a restaurant the food is quite innovative and, as there is a clear European influence in the cooking, I would confidently label a lot of it as "fusion". The service is friendly, but service ends early so that everyone can get a good night's sleep. I'd recommend you get there no later than 7. Chef's is not cheap, but I have no objection to paying a decent price for food that has a lot of thought and love put in it. I'd definitely recommend you give them a go for an informal dinner if you're in the area.

Our gracious serveuse serving our egg and tomato. This was really sweet!

Peppers and olive oil. Is this Chinese? Do we care?

Chinese sausage

Clams (asari) in butter and white wine sauce. One of my dining partners gave this the gold medal of the evening.

Lamb cutlets were very tender.

Excellent shu mai. The spring rolls (unfortunately not pictured) were the best I've had for a long time!

Slow cooked pork belly with black bean sauce. Sinful but delicious.

Stir fry of squid and fungus. Excellent and refreshing.

A clear ramen with lots of negi finished the savoury course. It's not pictured here but we also ordered some "goma dangoes" (sesame balls) in soup as well as some basil ice cream for dessert. Both desserts were better than good!

Tel: 03-3352-9350

Friday, 30 July 2010

Tokyo American Club - Mixed Grille

You need to be invited by a member to dine at the Tokyo American Club. This occasionally happens to me and on a recent visit I thought I'd take some pics to show you what gets served here.

I've always found the food, wine and service at TAC to be relatively unsophisticated but pretty good so if you get a chance to I would try it out.

Frozen Margarita

Mix up of quesadilla and shrimp (shrimps kind of defrosted I'm afraid...)

Mix up of Ibaraki Pork and Sea Bass

Brownie (before the yummy, chunky raspberry sauce was poured)

Tel: 03-4588-0381

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Two Rooms, Kita Aoyama TWO ROOMS グリル | バー 北青山

Without meaning any disrespect to the genre, there are few eateries in Tokyo that better typify ex-pat expense account dining than Two Rooms. These are places where you'll often find whole tables of foreign men in suits, lots of good wine and waiters who don't even try to address you in Japanese. It is a little like taking a trip, for a few hours, to the world of the international banker as he wheels and deals, deciding all our fates over some steak and plonk.

My most recent trip to this rarified world occurred recently when I visited Two Rooms for dinner. I had previously visited on my own for lunch but this time I was fortunate enough to have company. I'm not even going to comment on the prices. Perhaps we should leave that to whomever signs your expense report. Suffice it to say, it's not Pepper Lunch, but I think the quality of food and service is very horses for courses (but not on my course please!).

Anyway our dinner comprised a salad, starter, main and dessert and was washed down with two very nice bottles of wine - a Yering Station Chardonnay from Oz and a Cristom Pinot Noir.

Artistically presented crab salad to start

I subsituted horse sashimi for a couple of oysters. The big'un is Japanese and the baby is an Aussie!

Juicy white asparagus with parmesan

Scallop with baby corn and risotto

DELICIOUS wagyu steak.

Cherry with crispy meringue and ice cream
Tel: 03-3498-0002

Sunday, 18 July 2010

L'Embellir, Minami Aoyama ランベリー南青山

My evening at L'Embellir didn't start so well. The location was (I thought) well known to me and I had put some thought into planning a short cut where the taxi could drop my dining partner and I, so that I would not arrive dripping in sweat (this being summer and all). Well, although there was a sign, it was taped over and there was no indication of a restaurant ever having been in the building. One phone call (well actually two as the phone number had also changed) pointed us in the right direction. These days L'Embellir is located in a basement just behind the space-age Prada building.

We duly arrived after a ten minute walk with me playing my role of sweaty gaijin to a "t". That was all soon forgotten as we were seated in a cosy corner couch-style table and glasses of Bollinger were brought. This very nicely set the tone for the amazing, sumptuous feast that was to follow.

The conception and execution of the food at L'Embellir is extremely good and I can honestly say have not had such a special meal since my visit last year to Creations de Narisawa. Their basic menu is a surprisingly reasonable 12,600 yen. The only trick for young players, if one is on a budget, is not to let them bring you wine by the glass. I was given one which ended up costing 6,500 yen, perhaps a little bit over the top, especially seeing as I was not even shown what I was drinking. I'm pretty sure it wasn't Yellow Tail, but a decent sommelier should explain what he has selected and why. The cheese cart (which I highly recommend!) will also set you back 2,400 yen each and is not included in the menu. I was the only one drinking and adding some water and a half bottle of Puligny Montrachet we were looking at just shy of 50,000 yen for dinner. So, I need to warn you - special occasions only!

The basic "Menu Beauté" comes with two amuses, three entrees, a fish, a meat, a pre-dessert, a dessert, coffee, petit fours and lastly what I would describe as "bon-bonnerie". We were also given a little biscuit and nougat to take home. I promise you, you will not starve at this here modern French restaurant!

I would be very happy to return to L'Embellir for a special occasion, expecting a very luxurious and wonderful dinner. The only recommendation I would make to them is to loosen up the service. The numerous waiters were all rather serious, and I could not say that I felt any personal warmth from any of them. It's always best not to take oneself too seriously...

Beautifully set table

First amuse of jellified slow cooked watermelon, french cream cheese and mushroom "sandwich".

Tougarashi (Japanese pepper) pudding with corn soup and fried corn on top.

Vegetable terrine - this has 17 different types of vege!

The bread and butter were something else. The smoked butter was delectable.

Croustillant of langoustine

Beef tendon consomme with carrot mousse and fried carrot on the side.

"Madai" with rice crispies on top and puréed potato. The fried cauliflower was overcooked IMO (sorry chef!)

Pintarde and liver of caille.

Cheese plate


Fruit soup with basil sorbet

Goes with very almondy almond blanc manger

Raspberry macaron and kouglof


And a little take home pack!

Tel: 03-6427-3209

Friday, 16 July 2010

Furutoshi, Nishi Azabu ふるとし西麻布

Nishi Azabu is home to some pretty expensive establishments that are strong on image and not much else. However Furutoshi hits a home run if you're looking for somewhere with a little touch of class, that will fill your belly with tasty and contemporary fare - and that will not break the bank.

Their 5,250 yen "Dolce Vita Fizz" course menu is a winner in my opinion, comprising a small soup, assorted entree platter (terrific!), pasta, meat or fish and dessert plus coffee. Their wine list is not large but even the cheaper drops (sorry - on a budget at the moment) are very drinkable.

My dining partner and I added two bottles of wine and a grappa on top of the set course and the bill only came to 13,000 a head, which I think for Nishi Azabu and the amount and quality of the food represents excellent value.

The service is very obliging, and our waiter even spoke English. In conception the food is working hard to keep up with the trends. In execution, the food is probably not up to a Michelin standard but the genuine effort to provide something more innovative than the norm certainly is appreciated from my side.

For a date or a business dinner, I would certainly add Furutoshi to the list!

Cold corn soup

The assorted appetisers were a real treat.

And came with a helpful guide!

Excellent brioche, foccacia and cheese roll

Seafood pasta, bouillabaisse style

My dining partner's lamb cutlets

My "Tsukuba" pork
Banana chocolate gelato

Blanc manger

Tel: 03-5775-1275