Sunday, December 23, 2007

Benoit Tokyo (Tokyo, JAPAN) ★★★★☆

Benoit Tokyo is run by Alain Ducasse, one of the genii of modern French cuisine. The restaurant is conveniently situated in the Aoyama district near the popular Omotesando station.

Our first impression of Benoit was a good one to start. Decorations were primarily classic European themed with a casual and relaxed bistro-style flavor. The restaurant is divided into two stories. The elevator at the lobby connects directly to the lower level of the two floors which includes the reception and bar area. Diners can enjoy a drink or two while waiting for their tables to be ready. Up the staircase leads to the upper level, where the dining room is situated.

We began our lunch with two wonderfully prepared starters including an escargot and a spider crab two ways. It was nice to see some Japanese inspired techniques being incorporated into some of these dishes (for example, the steamed egg with spider crab meat).

Our appetizers were followed by two main courses which turned out to be even better. First up was a baked lobster in Newburg sauce. That was mouthwatering and undisputedly the best dish of this lunch.

Roasted black pork from Kagoshima was the other main course. It was unbelievably tender although they could have done a better job with the sauce.

A nicely poached pear brought an end to a satisfying lunch. I think what separated this with our experience from other French restaurants in Tokyo was the relaxing and bistro-like environment. We did't need to get too up tight at all.

Food Rating: 7/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: La Porte Aoyama 10F, 5-51-8 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo, Japan
Closest Metro Station: Omotesando

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dazzle (Tokyo, JAPAN) ★★★☆☆

Tokyo is a foodie's haven that never seems to disappoint. In search of a hidden gem in the heart of Ginza, we managed to unearth this gem inside the Mikimoto Tower called Dazzle during our most recent trip.

Dazzle is a small fine dining restaurant located on the eighth and ninth floor of the Mikimoto Tower 2. The beautifully decorated interior lives up its name with some of the flashiest design including Swarovski Crystal lamps, giant glass walled wine cellar etc. 

After arriving at the restaurant's entrance on the eighth floor, we were immediately greeted by a gentleman who showed us the way to a private elevator that would send us to the ninth floor dining room. When the elevator door re-opened on the ninth floor, there he was again, the same gentleman (or his twin brother) waiting there to greet us. That was simply outstanding service (or blazing speed) !

Our much anticipated dinner started off on the wrong foot with a disappointing dish of pan seared foie gras that was served with French mushrooms and crispy chestnut.

Very filthy and the texture very much like a puree...

Fast forward to the main course, here's the best dish of the night - Linguini with Japanese spiny lobster and sea urchin. The linguini was almost perfectly al dente while being further enriched by the fresh sea urchin.

Dessert again failed to impress. My tiramisu was quite neatly presented but somehow it tasted more like a chocolate brownie! 

Food Rating: 5/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: Mikimoto Ginza 8/F & 9/F, 2-4-12 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Tel: +81 3 5159-0991
Closest Metro Station: Ginza Itchome

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