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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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.