Friday, October 30, 2015

Restaurant Ryuzu (Tokyo, JAPAN) ★★★☆☆

Mom's crash course on French dining officially starts tonight at two-star Michelin Restaurant Ryuzu. Owner-chef Ryuta Iizuka (飯塚隆太) has previously trained under Joël Robuchon before starting his own restaurant in 2011. He led Restaurant Ryuzu to its first star in 2012 and soon captured its second star in the following year. Chef Iizuka owns a pretty impressive resume that includes experience working for Michelin starred restaurants in France and also spent time at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Roppongi (Tokyo). He's best known for his emphasis on the harmony between fragrance and texture.

We had a choice between 3 set menus tonight (8,000yen, 13,000yen and 19,000yen) but honestly, our minds were already made up way before we arrived. Like most high-end restaurants in Japan, their reservation staff would request us to choose between the 3 menus when we re-confirmed our booking a week in advance so they already knew we were heading for the shortest set.

There were two nibbles in our amuse bouche, first a small cookie with homemade minced pork and also a madeleine with olive and tomato.

A further amuse bouche came in the form of a pumpkin soup with fresh ricotta cheese. It was very creamy and refreshing.

For my starter, I went with their patented roasted beef. This was done like a carpaccio, with beef consommé jelly, vegetable salad and goat cheese on top. So I guess this was what they meant by the harmony between fragrance and texture. Pretty nice.

Mom didn't want any raw meat so she had the shiitake mushrooms with foie gras and garden green instead. I stole a slice of shiitake from her and it was very tasty. A little better than my roasted beef I might add.


Next up was sautéed seabass, served with cabbage and bamboo shoot and rocket leaves. There was a bit of Asian style cooking in this one. The execution was nice but not the most exciting seabass one would ever find in a French restaurant.

My third and final savory dish was roasted pig belly from the chef's home province in Niigata prefecture. This was nicely complemented by some grilled seasonal vegetables including yam, turnip, pepper, potato, green beans and bamboo shoot. The quality of the meat was very nice with a unique flavor that resembled those from Iberico pork and the texture was almost perfect.

Dessert was a scoop of yogurt sitting on top of a goat cheese foam with sponge cake, apple, granata jelly and some red wine sauce. 

Concluding this meal was a lovely set of petite fours sending us home with happy stomach.

Despite Chef Iizuka's background in classical kaiseki (under Aoyagi's Hirohisa Koyama) and French cuisine (under Robuchon), this feels more like a hybrid between an eclectic modern cuisine and classical French. Chef Iizuka obviously has great respect for sourcing the ingredients for his seasonal menu locally and like some of the best restaurants in the city 
(Quintessence immediately came to mind.), quality Japanese produces are the focal point here. 

Food Rating: 6.5/10

Price: ¥¥¥
Address: Urban Style Roppongi B1, 4 Chome-2-35 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan
Closest Metro Station: Roppongi
Tel: +81 (0)3 5770-4236

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