Wednesday, April 16, 2014
ROBUCHON'S IN TOKYO
Joel Robuchon, a quarter ago, was named "Chef of the Century," and he is five years younger than me. He first retired at the age of 50 in 1995, but then decided to open restaurants around the world. He chaired the latest edition of Larousse Gastromique and operates a dozen restaurants. His cuisine is, actually retrogressive, harking back to the earlier days of French cooking before nouvelle cuisine took over. He has accumulated 28 Michelin Stars, five at his Tokyo establishment, which I can see from my room at the Tokyo Westin:
Mayumi and Tadashi Matsunaga joined me for a drink at my Executive Club. (Two years ago, David Block and I dined at Robuchon's Las Vegas.) We then went across the street to Robuchon's, a three Michelin Star restaurant on the third floor. On the second floor is his medium class, Two Star dining floor. Our 3-Star floor is decorated in black. Here, we are having a 2007 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Pauillac:
Our dinner began with a white asparagus light foam over orange jelly:
Those sticks of asparagus look real, but that is but a photo. I might add that just the serving of bread and butter is an event:
Next came red turnip and radish served with a scallop carpaccio and lemon dressing:
What a work of art, and the caviar is Ossetra from Russia. The pan fried foie gras was accompanied by spring cabbage and bamboo shoots:
However, this was duck liver, not goose, from France, and the quality lacked the sparkle of the best. A kind of Japanese snapper, Amadai, was the most outstanding dish, for the write-up indicated, cooked with "his" scale over a lily bulb yuzu scented broth. What this was was a chunk of fish french fried so that the scales were crispy, while the flesh was juicy. The texture was astonishing:
The main entrée was Spanish roasted pork done teriyaki style with a soft polenta and parmesan cheese accompaniment with an endive salad:
There was a pre-dessert, then the real one, a chestnut parfait with blackcurrent filling, coffee and almond meringue:
We finished with Calvados and expresso:
This will be my best meal on this trip, and certainly the most expensive. We all then ended the evening at Tadashi's favorite karaoke bar in Roppongi.
For the record, while the evening was most enjoyable, we did discuss a new pathway for the Blue Revolution, with details to hopefully be released in the near future. President Matsunaga two decades ago was the first, and only, International Professor for the Blue Revolution, when he spent his sabbatical at the University of Hawaii.
Frankly, I was surprised how clear the scene looks, for there was a very heavy haze, sort of reminiscent of Beijing air pollution. There were no obvious clouds, but the Sun never shone through. The Westin Miyako has a shuttle pick-up at Kyoto Station. On the 25-minute drive to the hotel I noticed cherry blossom trees here and there, but the peak has obviously passed. View from my room: