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Thursday, March 24, 2011

ROBUCHON IN TOKYO: My Best French Dinner?


Across the street (view from my room above) from the Tokyo Westin is what was once Taillevent-Rubuchon, but is now only called Robuchon.  He has a dozen restaurants and has more Michelin stars than anyone.  At the age of 28 he was the youngest chef to earn 3 stars.  His only three star restaurants today are in Macao, Las Vegas and the one I went to tonight.  There are 27 Michelin 3-star (no such thing as 4-star) restaurants in Japan, 37 in France and 11 in the USA.  He was named chef of the century in 1989.  He mentored Gordon Ramsay, who you know from TV's Kitchen Nightmares.  Joel Robuchon actually retired 15 years ago at the age of 50 and is coasting, but doing well.

I began the evening with a  Kir Royale at the Westin, then walked over to Robuchon at 1800.  The first photo is the butter serving:


I had a set menu of 8 courses and Hanawa served as my personal interface:


The rolls were heavenly.  I ordered a 2006 Grand Cru Riesling Schlossberg (13%) and 2003 Chateau Tour-Serab Joel Robuchon Bordeaux (13.5%), which were poured into connoisseur Riedel glasses:


The Amuse Bouche was an anchovy lemon olive cream concoction:


At 1830 I was still the only customer.  The lobster appetizer was replaced by a warm potato salad with black truffles.  Different, but as good as Doris' (Pearl's sister) and Zippy's.


Then came the foie gras with bamboo shoots, cabbage and foam.  Exceptional.


Forty-five minutes, and I'm still the only customer.  At 1850, a couple joined me into the corner to my left.  Next was a Japanese whitefish, L'Amadai, with assorted vegetables:


I loved it.  Just after 7PM we were up to four tables, each in our own corner.

The next course was wagyu beef from Ibaraki.  I asked for a Geiger Counter, but they assured me that the meat had been aging for a while on site here.  Hanawa is from Ibaraki and I commiserated with her about the situation in her home town.


The vegetables were par-cooked and perfect, while the steak was as good as you can get anywhere.  It melted in my mouth and had that pleasant fatty texture and taste.

With a Bruno Paillard Champagne (12%) I finished (I thought) with blue cheese and two desserts, one mango and fig on strawberry jelly, and the other, sherbet on passion fruit and pear.  This came with expresso and coffee.


And just when you think it's over:


I ordered one of each, which elicited a laugh, so I don't think he took me seriously.   I selected the following:


As stuffed as I was by then, this might have been the highlight of the evening.

No question this was a 3-star restaurant, and, perhaps, the best French meal I've ever had.

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Tropical Cyclone Bune at 50 MPH formed south of Fiji, but will move away and soon attain hurricane force winds.  It appears to be headed nowhere important at this point.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We'd love to know how much was the course (without wine).

It should be said also that March 24, 2011 was 13 days after the big Tohoku earthquake, and that may explain why the restaurant was not crowded...