With our Tokyo food crawl eating itinerary packed full of highly rated and iconic establishments, it is therefore a total surprise to me that my best dining experience for the entire trip would be from an unexpected, relatively new, ‘dark-horse’, Japanese influenced French restaurant!
Nestled in a side street opposite the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo’s ritzy Mid-Town, this intimate, chic and cozy Michelin one star is dominated by a modern glass paneled, floor to ceiling wine cellar that acted as the front-of-house focal point .
The young and super talented, Paris 3* Ledoyen trained chef, Yujiro Takahashi, managed to churn out impressive ‘ out-of-this-world ‘ cuisine that is both visually pleasing to the eyes as well as blissfully tasty to the palate! By creating dishes that morph Japanese Zen characteristic and appearances into Noma and Eleven Madison Park_esque, funky and playful approaches, the chef managed to wow patrons with clean, unsophisticated yet beautifully garnished offerings that enlightened the senses! Half way through our delectable feast, my inner voice started to shout out: "There is definitely something wrong with this meal of ours?!". That single macaroon awarded by the little Red Book is definitely off! For, what we were devouring was no one star food but more like 2-3 star fare! This was confirmed by a timely remark made from one of our foodie companion who commented that Le Sputnik’s food and wow factor was ‘way better’ than the Michelin 2* food he just had the night before! ‘Way better’ than 2*?! Wow! What a compliment!
Service began with our ever smiling, warm and super friendly manager/server, Yuka Tamura, informing us that our meal will be a 10 course Omakase affair…. so, sit back, relax and enjoy!
A series of ‘striking’ seafood-centric amuse bouche started off our gustatory curtain-riser. To go with these, we ordered a bottle of beautifully aged,1999 Louis Latour Corton Charlemange. A lovely pairing choice! These were followed by a series of non-stop, well paced and expertly crafted, exotic mid courses . Foie Gras in Orange infused Espresso coffee blanket, Mushroom crepe made with 5 mushrooms, stuffed with a 65C poached egg, drizzled with Truffle oil, topped with shaved Truffles and paired with mushroom ice cream!....etc. One of our mouth watering entrée was a delectable Roasted Hokkaido Venison perfectly cooked 2 ways…inner and outer round, paired with an intense and complex red wine jus reduction. Our dining adventure closes with an amazing dessert trio, one of which was a Yuzu Souffle using the citrus fruit shell as ramekin! What a perfect illustration to show off the ‘Maison Kayser’ dessert training and skill of this gifted chef.
To sum up, it was so refreshing to see the freshest of seasonal ingredients being handled with flare and creatively prepared…. using elegant yet simple approaches rather than overwhelming the key ingredients with multiple, gimmicky and flashy decor and side components that masks rather than enhance.
With a flawless complete package of Great food, Great Wine, Great Service and most of all Great company. What more can one ask for?!
BTW, at only 6000 Yen pp, this 10 course lunch was an absolute STEAL and the BEST valued Michelin star fine dining experience I have ever had! Absolutely speechless!