Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's Next: Las Vegas, NV

We're heading to Las Vegas tomorrow night for some R&R. In a city that never sleeps, I like the fact that we can sleep all day and wake up at night when the city comes alive. I have one reservation secured so far as we plan to use about $275 worth of dining credits from M life as well as an additional $100 from a dining gift certificate I forgot to use last April. 

I have a few more Tokyo posts which I plan to finish up when we get back.

Tokyo, Japan: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

It's no surprise that any Joel Robuchon restaurant will be on my dining agenda. Hubs and I have dined at his restaurants in Las Vegas, Monaco, Singapore and now Tokyo. Japan has the most Robuchon establishments than any other country, even France (he has restaurants in 9 countries).

I chose the L'Atelier restaurant because I was too lazy to dress up for the ultra elegant Le Chateau de Robuchon in Ebisu. To be honest, I enjoy restaurants where there is no dress code.

L'Atelier is similar to all of the other locations around the world. I think the Tokyo restaurant is by far the largest compared to Las Vegas and Singapore. It seems all of the chefs were Japanese and no French chef yelling at anyone. I still feel bad for the chef in Singapore who almost burned the foie gras.

After being seated, we were greeted by our French server Sylvan. I make it a point to remember the names of our servers or sommeliers at every Robuchon restaurant. We met the sommelier from Las Vegas (Jonathan) in Singapore last year. We hope to see Sylvan again at another location someday.

Amuse Bouche
Pork Rillette Crostini

Le Jambon
Iberico de Bellota ham with toasted tomato bread

 I forgot what this was called. It was a grilled fish dish. I can't seem to find a description anywhere.

Le Boeuf
Wagyu ribeye with truffled mashed potatoes

Le Foie Gras de Canard
Foie gras with Parmesan Risotto

Caramelized pear with a cinnamon tart

La Tendance Chocolat
araguani chocolate ganache served with a cocoa sherbet covered with bitter biscuit powder

The sauteed foie gras with parmesan risotto was epic. Now I understand why this place is busy during lunch. This is THE dish to order. 

Next door to the restaurant is a small bakery called La Boutique where you can purchase pastries, teas, cookies and small desserts.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Sylvan walked out of the dining area to bid us farewell. He was an excellent server and we hope to see him again perhaps in Singapore or Hong Kong!

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Roppongi 6-10-2, Roppongi Hills, Hillside 220
Tokyo, Japan

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tokyo, Japan: RyuGin

As soon as RyuGin made the leap to three Michelin stars last year, I knew we had to dine there during our trip to Tokyo. Situated within walking distance from the Roppongi metro station, this hidden gem can be found by locating the dragon statue near the front door. As soon as we pushed the sliding door, we were immediately greeted by the hostess and escorted to our table.

The decor was traditional Japanese with dragon-themed plates adoring the room.

Autumn Menu
There is only one tasting menu unless you reserve a table after 9:00pm for the a la carte menu which consists of 50 different kinds of dishes. The tasting menu is 23,100 yen per person not including the service fee. For two diners, a glass of champagne and a bottle of Japanese wine, the total cost was 70,000 yen.
Note: A bottle of Japanese wine is quite expensive, averaging around 12,000 yen. I would recommend skipping the bottle of wine altogether. More on that later.
The tasting consisted of alternating hot and cold dishes.

Hot: Variation of Autumn Vegetables with Pine Nuts dressing

Cold: Soft "Simmered Abalone" and "Blue Crab" with "Wakame Seaweed and Apple Vinegar Jelly"

Hot: Abalone Broth Hot Soup

Hot: Premium "Sea Urchins" from HOKKAIDO in Lace Wrapping Rarely Deep fried with "Edamame Beans Paste"

Cold: "Grilled Mushrooms" Cold Soup

Hot: "Ichiban Dashi" Soup with Grilled "Thorn Head" and "Matsutake Mushrooms" in Autumn Presentation

Cold: Today's Assortment of Sashimi RyuGin style

Hot: Autumn Colors in a plate... Grilled "Sea Perch", Eggplant, Chestnuts, Ginko Nuts, RyuGin presentation

Hot: Simmered preparation Soft "Octopus" and lightly fried "Sea Scallops" with Autumn Vegetables

Hot: Chef Yamamoto's Specialite
Sanuki Wagyu Beef "Sirloin" and "Matsutake Mushrooms" in Sukiyaki style with "Crispy Poched Egg"
"Edamame Beans" Rice and "Shrimp Broth" Red Miso Soup

Cold: "Two Grapes"

Hot hojicha (roasted green tea)
Cold: Grilled "Ginjou Sake" "Oyaki Souffle" with "Egg" Soft Cream


As you can tell toward the end of the meal, my photos were not as clear as in the beginning. Why? I was drunk out of my mind. No joke!
I attempted to drink the few ounces of Japanese wine left from a bottle that costs nearly $150! By the time I got to the dessert dishes, I was nearly drunk and couldn't maintain focus. If you bring a camera with the intention to take clear photos, don't drink and shoot.
Though I failed miserably at the end, this was one of the best meals of the year. Tastings that left me plastered at the end of the night are the ones that I remember the most. This meal is up there with Alinea, Tickets and miniBar. Without a doubt, I always come home smiling.

Side Roppongi Bldg, 1st Floor
7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 102-0032

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tokyo, Japan: Les Créations de Narisawa

Narisawa is a 2-starred Michelin restaurant and ranked #27 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. After reading numerous reviews on Chowhound and other food blogger sites, I was hesitant to book a reservation until a few bloggers recommended their 5-course lunch menu which was a value at 7,350 yen ($92.61 US). The 10-course dinner tasting menu is now available during lunch for 21,000 yen ($264.61 US).

The restaurant is located in Aoyama and three blocks away from the Aoyama-Itchome Metro station.

We were presented two menus and I selected the Autumn Lunch, 2012 - Evolve with the Forest. Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa has a deep understanding of the environment and his nature inspiration is seen throughout his creations. His Autumn menu was simply titled, Gift from "Saien", "Satoyama", "Satoumi" and the Forest.

The first course was a preparation of bread at table side. I posted the video in a previous post.

"Forest 2010", Bread of the Forest

Butter covered in moss. This was probably the most creative presentation of butter I've ever seen.

       Kamo nasu, eggplant

Suzuki, Sea bass, maitake mushroom

Free range purebred black pork, kagoshima

Waguri, chestnuts, yamazaki whisky


Mignardise Cart

Overall impression: unique interpretation of nature-to-plate. I feel Narisawa's nature-to-plate concept is similar to California's farm-to-table movement. I enjoyed the way Chef Narisawa recreated natural landscapes and made it appealing on the plate. I think we all need to remember where our food comes from and appreciate it without the smoke and mirrors.

Minami Aoyama 2-16-15 Minato-ku, Tokyo
107-0062, Japan