Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chartreuse, Roppongi

This is the restaurant that crystallized my views on 'old' food. Interestingly, it was in a book of
'great lunch places' that I picked up, intending to use for weekend dinners. When I realized how
close it was to the office (i.e., "that place with the French flag that I keep seeing on the side street")
I went for lunch.

The décor has a certain familiarity - it's like the sitting room of your maiden aunt, if you have a
maiden aunt or know what one is. (I don't, but I think I do, respectively). Couches in the waiting
area! Floral patterns! Everything a little faded! Flowers, but either silk or else tired fresh ones.
Nothing actually wrong with it, but nothing exciting either. And the service, as I remember it, is
the same way - like your aunt stopping by the table. Friendly and possibly competent, but you
sort of wonder what she's doing in the restaurant.

All of the above is charming once in a while, depending on what shows up on your plate. In this
case you'll have something like 3 courses for Y1750 (I think), which sounds pretty good! And the
items themselves sound good too - there's rabbit in the meat selections, for instance. Whether
you like rabbit or not, you have to admit that it shows a certain effort on the part of the chef to
put something like that on the menu. I remember some sort of red pepper (piman) parfait too,
which has a bit of scarcity value about it. No? The fact is, all this food looks like (and tastes
more like) it was made in advance from older ingredients, and the technique wasn't fully up to
snuff. So it tastes fine, but you'll feel a bit let down, and then you'll understand what I mean by
'old' food as opposed to the fresh and new flavors that you can get at other places.

As a parting shot, I thought it was neat that there was a pair of dried bird wings in the fake
fireplace (really!) but my friend thought it was gross and wouldn't believe that they hadn't
fallen naturally off a dead and decaying bird trapped in the nonfunctional chimney.

Not a real site, but make do

1 comment:

  1. Jon,

    Welcome to the club! Eating Out is now immeasurably better (three heads are better than 2.

    With fat as a goal,