Last night I had dinner with a friend at Ricos Kitchen in Ebisu. Although it's apparently been around for a few years now, it was new to both of us, and we were both impressed. The food is sort of California/French (fusion-y in a good way), with a large list of California wines, including three reds and three whites available by the glass.
Since it was the first trip for both of us, we decided to go with the tasting menu, which includes an amuse, four scaled-down appetizers, a pasta, two mains, and dessert and coffee for 4500 yen per head. Although this seems to be pretty much an omakase type of menu, they do ask what your likes and dislikes are, and we were able to put in a request for the risotto of the day as our pasta course. (The girl sitting behind us wouldn't eat scallions or onions-go figure!?)
Amuse: Smoked salmon on top of a grapefruit gelatin
1) fish carpaccio (didn't catch the names)
2) a grilled squid salad with soy/ginger dressing
3) spring rolls filled with spiced minced duck meat and (a little) mozzarella cheese, in a mustard sauce
4) foie gras on french toast (don't worry, not a particularly sweet one) topped with mango.
Pasta: Tomato cream risotto with chicken and arugula
Mains: Sauteed sea bass; duck thigh on mashed potato
Dessert: Cheesecake with cinnamon ice cream.
While the duck main was a bit blah, it wasn't bad, and everything else was very nice. I tried two of their red wines by the glass, but wasn't particularly impressed with either of them. The Gewurtztraminer (sp?) my friend had was much nicer, and better suited to the food, but given the cold rainy weather a cold glass of white wine didn't really appeal. 900 yen also strikes me as a bit pricey for a smallish glass of wine.
The atmosphere of the place is also quite nice, and most of the customers seemed to be in their 30s-40s, so it was a little more laid back than many of the places I go. Menus are in English and Japanese, and the waiters seemed to be making a good effort to describe the specials, etc. to the other non-Japanese customers. All in all, it's definitely a place I'd go again, although I'd be tempted to order my wine by the bottle. They also have a weekend brunch that I'd like to give a try.
4-23-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
Reservations suggested for dinner.