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Roppongi restaurants - European food
 
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:43 pm Back to top

Minsk - Belarussian ***

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Azabudai 1-4-2
Opening hours - Open every day from 11:30 am to 2:00 am and from 17 to 10:30 pm
Telephone - 03-3586-6600
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

I was in Russia, and what I remember of the (scarce) food isn't enthusing. It was 1992, the last days of the Soviet Union, and all they had on the Trans Siberian restaurant wagon was Beef Stroganoff, which went down easily enough the first week. Later it got harder.

In any case, because Moscow was more of the same, and because Tokyo's Russian restaurants hadn't impressed me all that much, I went to Minsk with a mix of curiosity and diffidence. Belarus isn't Russia, but I figure they can't be all that different: I recognized several item's in Minsk's menu just because I had been on the Trans Siberian. What I found was an attractive, tidy interior, a colorful menu and three very beautiful, very Slav-looking women, one of whom was the owner.
The menu was mostly new to me, but interesting and enticing.
Ordered a Baltika Beer (the name is in Cyrillic characters) apiece, we opted for some Beef Stroganoff, the unavoidable Borscht (one apiece), Kiev cabbage (cabbage rolls), and other things that didn't leave a lasting memory. To close the meal, a glass of Kwas, a wine-like drink made with stale bread. Damages: about 5 thousand per head.

Ambience and service were good, all food well prepared, and the girls, as I said, a pleasure to the eye, but Belarussian (or Russian) food, while visually attractive, is nothing to write home about: it's definitely a minor cuisine, and at least to me has just a curiosity value. Couple that with an extremely inconvenient location of the restaurant, near the Tokyo Tower and far from everything else, and you see that I almost certainly won't be back.
Please do not misunderstand. I am not saying Minsk is a complete dud, but just that I personally can think of many places much closer to home that serve more interesting stuff.
May 2005




Esperia - Italian
Akebononobashi

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Nishi-Azabu 4-11-25.
Opening hours - 12 to 3, 6 to 11 Monday closed.
Telephone - 03-5485-1771
Menu - In Italian and Japanese
Credit Cards - OK

Having read its glowing review in Tokyo Food Page's, I expected magnificent things from Esperia. In fact, just a first look at the menu, or rather menus, because there's also a long list (in Japanese) of additional dishes available only for the day, makes you realize that this is indeed an excellent Northern Italian restaurant. Others places I have tried have the Esperia's quality, but none has the astonishing variety of foods and drinks. Polenta, raw ham, lamb, bottarga (smoked cod roe), swordfish, gnocchi, 50 kinds of grappa, Italian amari and wines (sorry, no foreign ones) ... The list goes on an on.
I ordered assorted appetizers, linguine with bottarga, grilled lamb and assorted desserts. My beloved one had raw ham and mozzarella, risotto with funghi, grilled swordfish and assorted desserts. Everything was superb and service impeccable. When we ordered two grappas, the owner was so kind to bring at least 15 bottles to our table to let us choose, then suggested that we have two half glasses instead of a whole one, so that we could taste four different varieties. The one problem were the skimpy portions, the smallest I have ever seen, but since we didn't go hungry, it's a minor one.
Damages: 7000 yen apiece. Esperia is clearly not a restaurant where one eats every day, but it's absolutely worth the money. If you want to have a special evening on a special occasion with a special one, this is the place you are looking for.
December 25, 1999

web - www.geocities.jp/clinica_trattoria_esperia




Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden - French
Reviewed by Claus Regge

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 4-4-2, Hill Side Palace Roppongi
Opening hours Open 17:30 to 23:00, Closed Sundays and National Holidays
Telephone - 03-3479-1390
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - Yes

Hidden away in a back alley of Roppongi near the ex-Defense Agency is one of my long-time favorites, Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden. Founded over 20 years ago by Albert Stamp, an American restaurateur and wine expert, with some financial help from the wine department of Kikkoman, Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden must not be confused with the similarly named chain of cheap wine bars found all over Tokyo.
Many years before Japan's recent wine boom, Al Stamp set out to make this place a cozy gathering spot for wine lovers with mainly French-inspired food and some steaks offered more as an afterthought. After running it himself for over a decade, Al then returned management rights to his financial backers. They appointed Mr. Sekimoto as manager and maitre d' which position he fills to this day.
I gladly admit that I owe Al Stamp and his restaurant a good deal of my wine education. It was quite unusual in those days to find a truly comprehensive selection of wines from all major producing countries gathered in one smallish spot, at decent prices and supported by Al's freely dispensed expertise and advice. The wine list was quite a tome, organized by country and region of origin and, for the most important regions like Bordeaux, by appellation and rank. While one could choose a modest but well selected bottle for around Yen 3000, there was also a great selection of all the premiere grand crus, of good vintages and with enough bottle age, at Yen 30,000 and up. And up. And up...
But please note the past tense in the preceding paragraphs. The decor with its warm wood colors and filament bulb lighting hasn't changed, classical music is still streaming from the speakers at restrained volume levels, and the food has become, if anything, better and more varied over the years. But the wine list, while still well planned, is only a pale shadow of its former self, down to a tenth or less. Champagnes and sparkling wines, although still in stock, are not even listed any longer. Bordeaux has been reduced to a page or so - there used to be dozens. Other areas such as Alsace or Austria have been given short shrift.
That said, I still like to go to Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden from time to time and I recommend it to any wine drinker looking for a decent bottle or two to wash down some more than just decent French-style food or, at later hours, just a plate of cheeses. For a very satisfyling three-course meal, the tab will be around Yen 4000. I don't bother with the wine list any longer, instead consulting with Sekimoto-san about what else he has to offer. He invariably pulls a few bottles out of his sleeve that are not on the list, perhaps because of limited supply, or maybe because he was just too lazy to list them. (Note: there is no beer but a wide selection of after-dinner digestifs.)
Service always has been relaxed, unassuming but courteous. You'll be made to feel welcome even if you're alone, although I consider Mr. Stamp's a perfect choice for a date. Assuming, of course, that the lady knows how to drink and be happy...
Reservations recommended, especially on Fri and Sat

How to get there : From Roppongi crossing, walk toward Aoyama 1-chome and the ex-Defense Agency headquarters on the right side of Gaien-Higashi-dori. Turn right into the third alley. At its end, turn left and immediately right again. Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden is on the left-hand side at the end of that alley. You'll see some wine crates stacked outside and Mr. Stamp's bearded face adorning a yellow sign.




Piccolo Grande - Italian
Reviewed by Saverio Pascazio

Address - 3-7-2 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours - 11:30am to 14:00pm and 18:00 to 23:30
Telephone - 03-3457-0665
Menu - In Italian and Japanese

Piccolo Grande is a small restaurant I have been to a couple of times. The staff at the Italian Embassy likes to eat here because it's inexpensive, yet very good and hospitable. The cook comes from Tuscany, but the food is traditional fare from all over the country. The last time I went I had an excellent pasta all'arrabbiata and my friend pasta with swordfish sauce, yet spent about four thousand altogether with drinks, coffees and desserts. Recommended especially for people on tight budgets.
Francesco's Note : I called Piccolo Grande and was told that the restaurant is about 15 minutes away from either Roppongi or Hiroo. In the middle of nowhere, but if you live or work in the neighborhood it should be an excellent choice.

web - www.piccolo-grande.co.jp




EX - German
Reviewed by Michel Bouchet

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 7-7-6
Opening hours - Open from 5pm to 2am. Closed on Sundays
Telephone - 03-3408-5487 & 03-3405-9942
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

Five minutes walk from Roppongi crossing going in the direction opposite to Tokyo Tower.
You can eat dinner there for about three to four thousand yen, depending on how much you drink. Not only the beer, but also the food is excellent.
The dishes are big enough so that you can share one between two (or even three) people, unless you have a very big appetite.
Ex is no more than 20 meters from Bourbon Street, further ahead on the same street. See Bourbon Street's map.
Frank's note : By the way, I am told that "Ex" in German student slang is an equivalent of "Kanpai!".




Bernd's Bar - German
Reviewed by Hans Sautter

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 5-18-1, 2F
Opening hours - Open 5pm to midnight. Closed on Sundays
Telephone - 03-5563-9232
Menu - In German and Japanese
Credit Cards - OK

The only German restaurant here in Tokyo I take into consideration is Bernd's. The others are all to different degrees fakes, yet they advertise themselves as typical. Bernd's is the real thing, a completely unpretentious bar and restaurant where Bernd busies himself talking to his friends about soccer and assorted gossip, creating atmosphere, while his wife does the real work. 70% of the customers are Germans working for Daimler, Hoechst and other German firms, Japanese working for the same companies or Japanese who know Germany well.
The cooking is what Germans eat at home, simple and unsophisticated but excellent stuff. And Bernd is a good guy. The beer: the beer is of course great, and there is Weizenbier vom Fass at about 1000 per pitcher.

Francesco's Note : I have also been to Bernd's bar, and liked it a lot. They have seven different kinds of high quality German draft beers, pure luxury to the beer lover, and food is simple but excellent. The other day we had Sauerbraten (roasted beef, 1800), Jaegerschnitzel (a Schnitzel in mushroom sauce, 1800 yen), Rettichsalat (radish salad, 1000 yen) and a Wiener Schnitzel (1800 yen) with plenty of beer and tasty brown bread. By the way, Bernd looks interesting, to put it mildly. In a picture on the wall he wears short pants with a white shirt and a bowtie. Gentleman from the waist up, riffraff from the waist down. Just one thing: Bernd's isn't cheap. At all. So bring with you a well fattened wallet.
To get there: walk from Roppongi crossing towards the Tokyo tower on the right side of the street. After maybe a five minutes walk, you will see Bernd's Bar sign.
February 10, 2000




Lilla Dalarna - Swedish

Address - Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 5-9-19
Opening hours - Open every day from 12:00 to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Telephone - 03-3478-4690
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

From a Swedish restaurant I did not expect colorful dishes and strong flavors, but I didn't expect the anonymous stuff I found either. Without being actually bad, Lilla Dalarna will impress you with how unimpressive it is. Right after getting out of the door, I had already forgotten what I had eaten.
The decor is nice, though, but prices sort of high for what you get. Stockholm is no alternative, because I always found it pricey but stale, figuratively and literally. To eat Scandinavian, I'd rather spend my money at Café Daisy, a good Danish restaurant in Roppongi.




Cafè Daisy - Danish ****

Address - 7-3-22 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106
Opening hours - Open all day, every day
Telephone - 03-5411-0253
Menu - In English
Credit Cards - OK

I found Café Daisy in a guide book and decided to go in spite of the name, which in my humble estimation could use a little bit more pep. I took along my good old friend Stein as an escort, because he is Norwegian, speaks Danish and could therefore be a good guide to an esoteric menu of smoked herring and other such things. I was prepared for the worst, but as it turned out food at Café Daisy isn't bad at all.
Café Daisy has tables also in the small, very pleasant garden, and the inside is simple and tasteful, although not particularly original (the sort of interior a guy who chooses a name like Café Daisy would choose).
The food is mostly cold meats or fish accompanied by vegetables and the like. The variety and the quality are good. I would suggest that you try the Danish Special (assorted cold meats) and Frikadellen (meat balls and other meats). A pleasant surprise was also the bread. Obviously made in situ, it's typical northern European stuff, for example black bread with nuts and white bread with carrots. Some of us would also appreciate the beers, Tuborg and Carlsberg on tap, of course, but also other Scandinavian varieties like Giraf and Elephant. Alas, Café Daisy is not cheap. I would say you won't get away without paying less than five thousand yen.
Pros : Pleasant, relaxing, with a garden. Good food and interesting bread. Cons : A little expensive
sanji's note : I like this restaurant, the food is nice, the service excellent and they have interesting aquavit (scandinavian alcohols); but the best is the possibility to eat outside, a rare feature in Tokyo...

web - www.cafedaisy.com

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:07 am Back to top

Roppongi - European food






M WHITE

Minsk - Belarussian ***



E GREEN

Esperia - Italian



M BLUE

Mr. Stamp's Wine Garden - French



P GREEN

Piccolo Grande - Italian



E BLACK

EX - German



B BLACK

Bernd's Bar - German



L AQUA

Lilla Dalarna - Swedish



C AQUA

Café Daisy - Danish ****



V BLUE

Va-tout - French brasserie ****



A BLUE

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Cuisine gastronomique ***



C BLUE

Cogito (コジト) - French ****




Last edited by secret-japan on Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:07 am; edited 2 times in total

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:10 pm Back to top

Cogito (コジト) - French ****

Address - 東京都港区西麻布3-2-15 (next to Roppongi Hills tower)
Opening hours - 12:00-24:00, closed on Sun
Telephone - 03-3796-3838
Menu - in Japanese and French
Michelin Guide 2008 - 1 star

Following the publication of Michelin Guide 2008, Olrik and I decided to visit that place for lunch... to discuss about the future of Secret Japan web site!

Cogito is a small restaurant located behind Roppongi Hills. The interior is characteristic of a French bistro, made mostly of wood. On the ground floor, there is a large bar counter (where people are not eating), a couple of tables, a separation and some other tables under a glass ceiling. There is a single, little bit larger table on the second floor, where the kitchen is located. The overall impression is that this place follows the typical settings found in many French restaurants in Tokyo.

The tablecloth and the napkin were made of paper, which is not really what you would expect from a restaurant listed in the Michelin. There are 3 menus available for lunch, priced at 2000, 3500 and 5000 yen (all prices do not include a 10% "service charge"). We all went for the 3500 yen one, which offered a good selection of starters and main dishes.

Among the starters, we decided for a terrine de chevreuil, which was simply fantastic; made of venison meat with some foie-gras, with just some pepper, salt and two types of mustard, this dish, served with a small salad and some bread, was clearly the best of that menu; it was followed with a potage of sweet potatoes, which was tasty without being to heavy.

While the iberiko pork was nice and well-prepared, the biggest disenchantment came from the blanquette de veau. This typical French dish is made of veal, but unfortunately in Cogito it was served with plain beef - the difference between those two meats being easily noticeable. The cream sauce was well-prepared - although it is normally not served with green vegetables - but still, the meat announced on the menu was not the one served; more disturbing, even after asking twice the waiter to confirm with the cook which meat was used, we did not get any answer.

For a normal French bistro, this would already be a problem; for a * restaurant, this is simply unforgivable.

A choice between 3 desserts was proposed (blanc-manger, gâteau au chocolat and pear with champagne jelly and ice cream); all were quite nice, but the portions were rather small. A coffee/tea was also included in the course.

Clearly, the food was nice. Even more clearly, this place is not worth its place in the Michelin Guide. You will find tens of French restaurants on Secret Japan web site that propose similar quality, usually for slightly cheaper prices.

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:13 pm Back to top

Va-tout - French brasserie ****

Address - 東京都港区六本木5-17-1 AXISビル1F
Opening hours - 11:00 - 23:00
Telephone - 03-3568-2080

Brasserie française. Offre des huîtres (des vraies, crues!) et de la chasse en saison. Une cuisine plutôt familliale, qui contraste avec la sophistication que les Japonais recherchent parfois un peu trop. Les prix sont très raisonnables.

web - www.lead-off-japan.co.jp/tempo/vatout/index.html




L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Cuisine gastronomique ***

Address - 東京都港区六本木6-10-1
Telephone - 03-5772-7500
Michelin Guide 2008 - 2 stars

On ne présente plus le célèbre cuisinier... qui ne sera sans doute pas aux fourneaux pour vous servir! Restaurant branché - tous les convives sont assis à un long et même comptoir - avec un menu qui est relativement cher sans être si intéressant. Témoin, notre entrée à midi avec deux malheureux raviolis au foie-gras qui nageaient dans un bouillon... Une petite déception tout de même - peut-être à visiter quand même... pour le repas de midi.

Voir également cet intéressante critique sur le site Simon-Says.

web - www.robuchon.com


Last edited by sanji on Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:13 pm; edited 2 times in total

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:19 am Back to top

I totally agree the critic of Cogito bistro by Sanji. Despite the fact of the good quality of the lunch (unless the veal point) and a relative good service, this restaurant would not receive a star from the michelin guide in France. Anyway, it's still a good adress, well located (just near the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi) and with a good range for quality and service.

I just add some pictures about the lunch:



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PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:26 pm Back to top

Forty Five 45 - The Ritz-Carlton Hotel - Modern International French Cuisine


Adress: Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-1, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6245 Japan
Opening Hours: Dom Perignon Sunday Brunch: Every Sunday 11:30am - 3:45pm
TEL : 81-3-3423-8000
Menu: Japanese & English
Dress code: Casual Elegance

Réservation conseillée à l'avance !

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Tokyo/Dining/FortyFive/Default.htm



Si vous aussi, vous ne supportez plus ces nomihodai où alcool et qualité font souvent mauvais ménage, mais que vous rêvez de vous en mettre plein la vue et plein le gosier sans en dépenser plus qu'il n'en faut, alors, le Dom Pérignon Sunday Brunch est la formule qu'il vous faut !

C'est au Ritz-Carlton, situé dans Tokyo Midtown, et au 45ème étage qu'il faut vous rendre, et qui plus est, le dimanche. C'est en effet ici que se joue l'incroyable formule bling-bling à la mode; un nomihodai de deux heures au seul Dom Pérignon !!!!


Cette terrine ressemble comme deux gouttes d'eau à celle de Cogito !


Le menu propose une succession de 4 plats: Entrée, Variations autour de l'oeuf, Plat principal et dessert, le tout arrosé sans discontinuer de Dom Pérignon Vintage de 1999, le tout en essayant d'admirer la vue du 45ème étage, et profiter du panorama de l'un des derniers hôtels de luxe à Tokyo.

La majorité des plats sont de bonnes factures, quoique on dénote un brin de facilité et un service un peu trop pressé, mais eu égard au plébiscite de la formule, on fait mine de comprendre. En même temps, on n'est pas vraiment là pour la dégustation, mais plutôt pour la star du brunch: le Dom Pérignon !





Et à 12950 Yens la formule, si vous voulez mon avis, c'est les soldes !!!!!

And soon, the review in english !

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:42 am Back to top

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - French Gastronomic

Adress: Roppongi Hills Hillside 2F 6-10-1 Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032
Opening hours: 11:30a-2:30p, 6p-10p
TEL: 03-5772-7500
Dress code: Smart casual

Michelin Guide 2008 - 2 *

http://www.robuchon.com/concept/concept.html



It was also my turn to try this "deluxe snack" after the review of Sanji here, and a good opportunity to try to figure out why this "chain" restaurant was awarded by two stars in the Michelin guide.

First, Thanks to the Grand Hyatt Concierge, who made a reservation for two (after a strong negociation), one day before a saturday lunch.

Indeed, the restaurant was very crowded, but no way to pass out a review for secret-japan, and miss a french restaurant.





Like at Mc Donald's (forgive the comparison), the deco is stricly the same than Paris, Las Vegas, Hong Kong and so on... Anyway, i'm fine with the uniformisation, when the cuisine seems to follow a true inspiration.

I've tried the first menu at 2950 Yens, and my wife, the B menu at 5400 Yens. Unless the point of the supplement for somes dishes (Foie Gras, Bavette de boeuf), no way to say: it's expensive.



After the "aperitif", time to eat. I've ordered the "Oeuf Mollet" with the "Bavette", and my wife after a green peas amuse bouche, had a "Langoustines ravioli" followed by a "Foie gras on a risotto parmigiano". The dishes all cames in very good proportions, and nice presentation. The Oeuf mollet was truly interesting for a so "simple" preparation, and believe me, the langoustine was delicious, well prepared and superbly assorted with the vegetables. My bavette was a little bit (a lot ?) deceptive, far away from the taste in Paris (they use japanese beef and god damn it, but where are my french fries !), but the Foie Gras and the risotto was onctuous and perfectly served. The dessert was also on high standard. The mango variations and the chocolate sensation were to damn the saints.




The Atelier is truly a "deluxe snack", with high expectations and a very handy team. So, why two stars from Michelin ?

Is that this staff, who explain everything with a beautiful smile, or the relative quickness and efficacity of the service ? The good choice of wine, from France to Spain, New Zealand or Chili ? Or maybe this attractive ranges of prices for a two stars restaurant ? So much questions for a good equation: Your pleasure. But Joël Robuchon (and most of all, his japanese team), with the Atelier, seems capable to respond.

"Et bon appétit bien sûr !"

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