Yamada Chikara, Nishi Azabu 山田チカラ南麻布
I was first made aware of the power of Yamada from inveterate fellow sybarite and Tokyo blogger, Terry. For some reason, repeatedly I failed to make the journey to this well reputed establishment run by Chef Yamada, an alumnus of the late, great molecular gastronomy laboratory El Bulli. It was only when I realised it's all of five minutes walk from my house, and that the interesting shopfront that I took a picture of a few months ago was not only a restaurant, but THE Yamada Chikara, did I take the plunge.
Yamada Chikara has the atmosphere of being a place that people "in the know" go to. Tiny, discrete and totally chilled, it is the epitome of the modern Japanese dining experience. The wine list features some beautiful wines (and sakes!) and my dining partner, being much more skilled than I in the art and pleasure of wine ordered some excellent pairings.
The food was first class. Creative, fresh, and beautifully presented. I found nothing particularly surprising about it, but this is not to detract from the obvious love and thought inherent in its preparation. I think that the chef has, probably quite wisely, decided that molecular gastronomy is best in small doses. After some stomach-churning experiences in the world of molecular, I tend to agree.
I would recommend Yamada Chikara for a time in business or in romance when you must not fail to impress. Success is guaranteed.