El Caminito - Argentinean
Reviewed by Jose-Luis Albertos
Address - 1-12-11, Higashi Azabu Minato-ku. Tokyo 106-0044
Opening hours - Open Monday to Saturday from 18:00 to 00:00
Telephone - 03-3582-9380
Menu - In Spanish, Japanese and English
El Caminito is a mall restaurant with just about three tables. According to its site, there are occasional live performances. In summary, this restaurant has good food, small portions and is expensive.
We were a party of four including a Spaniard and an Argentinean.
The menu is limited but authentic. The wine selection is reduced and only offers Argentinean products. They are expensive too. The house wine was not worth the price (we order half a bottle and did not need more--that shows that we did not enjoy it too much).
Some of us ordered a very Argentinean meal: bife de chorizo - a kind of grilled beef steak. The meat was good and nicely cooked, but the portion small. Definitely not Argentinean size. The price was also high for that size (Y 3500). Another member of the party ordered Morcilla. It was good in size and texture, but saying whether it was the real thing is difficult, as there are as many morcillas as families or villages in the country. As an entrée we ordered empanadas to share. Again, good but pricy.
The service was attentive and correct - native Spanish speakers. No complaint in that regard. We could not get a jug of water and had to order mineral water. A silly and unpleasant detail.
They have the menu written in Spanish, English and Japanese. Just to finish the review, the Spanish text in the website is very poorly written, although the type of mistakes it shows are most likely made by a native Spanish speaker.
Tony Roma - American Barbecued Meat ****
Roppongi, Minami Aoyama, Sanbancho & Akasaka
: 5-4-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku
: 3-1-30 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku
: 1 Sanbancho , Chiyoda-ku
: 22-3-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Opening hours - 17:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Menu - In Japanese and English
CC – OK
Tony Roma in Roppongi is the archetypal American restaurant. The decor, the opulence and overproduction of the food, the size of the portions, the doggie bag (a great invention, if you ask me), and, unavoidably, the mediocre taste are all too typical of the US. The strong points of its menu are the salads, the ribs and the fish dishes, in that order. The famous ribs cost about 2000 per person, look huge but, in reality, are mostly bones, and therefore the bill usually climbs up to at least 4000 yen per person.
Bourbon Street - Cajun *****
Address - Core House BF 7-8-16 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours - From 6:00 to 11:00, Closed on Mondays
Telephone - 03-3478-8473 (restaurant) and 03-5786-2887 (Bar)
Menu - In English and Japanese
CC - OK
The cognoscenti already know what Cajun food is and why Louisiana is different from the rest of the United States. Common folk not unlike myself might use a bit of history, though, so we will remember how Louisiana, being a former French colony, takes its name from the H.R.M. the King of France. This is why people in New Orleans and the city itself are American with an accent, proud to be different. The impact of French culture is still felt.
And the word Cajun? The word Cajun, by which the French Louisianan define themselves is, according to the Webster's dictionary, a corruption of "Acadian", from "Acadia", the original name of the colony of Nova Scotia, in Canada, from which French colonists were expelled when France was defeated there by the Brits.
Their cuisine is therefore the best in the US, which in itself doesn't mean much. Think of it as basically French-style with a generous African touch due to African American and Creole influences: sausages, catfish, dirty rice, beans, shrimps, and so on.
Cajun cooking is good stuff, even though a bit heavy (bring along at least one Alka Seltzer), and represented in Tokyo until a while ago by the now dead Lahaina in Harajuku. While not bad, Lahaina was hardly exceptional, but now we have reason to take heart.
Sohan Ahluwalia is the owner of Bourbon street, the first true Louisiana kitchen restaurant in Tokyo. I have known Sohan for many years, but this is not why a dedicate so much space to his venture. The real reason is that I know how good Cajun food is, how good Sohan is in preparing it, and how professional and strict he is when it comes to his restaurants. After managing Zapata, Zona Rosa and Navajo, he is finally on his own, master in his own kitchen.
Why should and Indian, a Sikh, like Louisiana so much? Who knows... If it's unusual for an Indian in Tokyo to do this kind of thing, then Sohan is an unusual Indian and an unusual anything else I can think of, so that him doing something so odd is perfectly normal.
P.S. You will notice that the menu at the restaurant contains a "Francesco's salad". That Francesco is ME.
Update from 2001
: Bourbon Street is expanding: right across the alley, two meters from the entrance to the restaurant, there's now Bar Bourbon Street, wine, liquors, cocktails, blues, zydeco and more in a room the size of a garage. Prices are high (1000 yen and up), but quantities are American and Bourbon Street's food is also available. Tel. 03-5786-2887.
: Bourbon Street is one of my favorite foreign restaurant in Tokyo, and I have eaten there at least 6 times. To the previous review, I also want to add that the wines, while not cheap, are absolutely incredible. In October 2006, I had there an incredible Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastle from California, which pars the best Côtes du Rhône from France. For 7000 yens per bottle. Sure its not cheap, but any other restaurant would give you a miserable wine for 5000: the quality-price ratio for wines at this restaurant is great. On the other hand, several of my female friends find the food too heavy…
web - www.bourbonstreet-tokyo.com