Saturday, October 31, 2015

Benoit Tokyo (Tokyo, JAPAN) ★★★★☆

Benoit is one of those restaurants that I have been eyeing a return visit for years. After a strong showing at our first visit in 2007, I already began planning this but there are just way too many good restaurants in Tokyo so it ended up waiting 8 years for its turn.

Located on the 10th floor of La Porte Aoyama, Benoit Tokyo is a true French bistro from highly acclaimed Chef Alain Ducasse. The "Benoit" brand has a very long history dating back over a century ago. The original Benoit in Paris first opened its doors in 1912 but it wasn't until 2005 that they all became an Alain Ducasse establishment. At Benoit Tokyo, guests can enjoy a warm and authentic experience and a seasonal menu filled with classic French bistro dishes. 

When they talked about an authentic experience, they were certainly not joking. The classic decoration here is a perfect reflection of the distinctive style of Paris.

Through the glass windows, we can see a very nice view of Shinjuku on one side and Shibuya on the other.

The dining room is located on a separate floor (connected by a staircase). This is my second time visiting and I am still amazed with the beautiful setting which evokes a modern French brasserie feeling with the high ceiling and traditional chandeliers.

There's a separate dining area at the corner that offers a bit more privacy, and it's slightly more casual with nice patterned wallpaper and classic framed pictures. 

First a little something from the chef - some savory cheese puffs while we were checking out the menu. Speaking of Benoit's food menu, it's one of the best bargains in Tokyo. A 3-course lunch (starter + main + dessert) set only starts at 3,800 yen while a 4-course lunch set (2 starters + main + dessert) sets you back for 4,800 yen.

My first course was soft-boiled farm egg, codfish brandade and toasted bread stick.

The soft-boiled egg was very nice but the codfish brandade could have been a bit more fluffy.

A little more successful was the delicate pumpkin soup with ewe's milk cheese.

They turned it up a notch with our main course starting with these seared scallops. The scallops were seared to perfection and the artichokes did well to balance out the sweetness from the scallops.

I had the chicken and mushrooms fricassée in a light cream sauce. That was another beautiful dish.

Dessert for me was traditional vanilla mille feuille. It was very flaky, perhaps a little too flaky.

We are seeing chestnut desserts everywhere on the streets so why not have a chestnut cream with some homemade sorbets for dessert? I thought the blueberry sorbet (red one) carried a little too much acidity in there (forgot the second one) which was a bit of an odd combination with the sweet chestnut to begin with.

Mom was really overjoyed following this meal and I certainly don't blame her after seeing the final damage on that bill. 

(1/12/2015: Congratulations to the team at Benoit for re-capturing the Michelin star they lost in the previous year. Keep up the good work guys!) 

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: La Porte Aoyama 10F, 5-51-8 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo, Japan
Closest Metro Station: Omotesando
Tel: +81 (0)3 6419-418

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