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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 2C Monna Lisa and Burger King

The Tokyo Westin arranged for me to have lunch at Monna Lisa, located in reasonable walking distance from this hotel:



I asked why two N's, and was told it had to do with copyright issues.  Chef Toru Kawano left Japan from Miyazaki to France at the age of 25 and worked at Guy Savoy in Paris and Girardeau in Switzerland.  He became the right hand man of Joel Robuchon in Paris and returned to Japan in 1980.  In 1993 he became the first Japanese chef at Taillevent Robuchon across the street from my hotel.  He created Restaurant Monnalisa (also spelled Monna Lisa) in 1997, with a second now in Marunouchi across from Tokyo Station.

His special focus this year is white sturgeon from Miyazaki.  In fact, much of what he serves comes from this city, which is known to produce the best wagyu beef.

I ordered their middle set, and with Kir Royale and a glass of Bordeaux, paid around $100.  Started with two appetizers, and the artwork of his serving plates are half the fun:


Looks like flower petals, and they were.  Not sure what this was:


The three courses involved fish, foie gras/truffles and duck:


Frankly, I hardly detected any foie gras nor truffles, and the duck was a disaster.  If you had told me, this was all a joke, for the meat was really rare round steak, I would have said, oh, okay.  This was the toughest duck I've ever had.

The dessert came, with an expresso:


At first I was disappointed, for it was like liquid sherbet with cream.  Then the real dessert plate came:


It is clear where Kawano excels.  Sort of reminded me of Kapiolani Community College and the fine dining I had there last week.  I could only barely touch these delicacies at this point.  There is only so much one can eat.  Just when you think everything was finally over, ice cream and sherbet came:


For $100 in Tokyo, this French lunch had good value.  Would I return?  No, but I'll try his Tokyo Station restaurant someday.

You can only enjoy so many great meals in a row.  So for dinner, I took the underground passage to Yebisu Garden Place (Ebesu, Ebisu and Yebisu are the same place), and the first restaurant was a three level Robuchon.  Bakery in basement, a mid-level restaurant on the first floor, and the Michelin 3-Star beacon on the second.  

I passed, and, with some irony, the next eating establishment was Burger King.  I went in and ordered a hot dog, cheeseburger, french fries and a Caesar salad.  The HD, CB and FF cost a total of 300 yen, or, around $2.75, but the salad was not on the "cheap" list, and set me back another $2.75.  With the order placed, I went downstairs to the Mitsukoshi market area to get a beer, for about $2.  Thus the following cost $7.50:


Clouds covered Mount Fuji so I ate while watching CNN.  Note the beer:


This Yebisu beer, called Sapporo in the USA, somehow involves input by Joel Robuchon.

I am leaving on my first Shinkansen (Bullet Train) later this morning, and was planning to have my usual beer and bento meal while gazing at Mount Fuji, so for breakfast I went relatively light.  This was a two part Singapore/Japanese/France fusion, beginning with a Laksa and natto combo:


Laksa is a coconut-based spicy soup with rice noodles.  Perhaps this is first time in history anyone combined this with natto.  All my life I hated the smell of these fermented soy beans.  I can't say I love it now, but I've heard it's good for your health.

I then went on to a giant croissant, large cappuccino, with blue cheese:


Next as Day 2D:  ON THE MATTER OF MAKING AMERICAN GREAT, AGAIN.

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