Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Miyama, Nishi Azabu (味やま; Roppongi)

I've walked by this place a LOT of times but never been in. Sometimes it's been too late to go, but most times I've just been put off by the standard teishoku-ality of the menu. It's strange because the entrance and pictures of dinner courses are modern/traditional and very impressive, but the lunch menu is limited to nizakana, yakizakana, gyudon and oyakodon. Not the mark of a place that's trying real hard to meet the lunch crowd, right?

In fairness, this isn't a location that you'd stumble on, unless you were me and tended to spend your solitary lunch hours stumbling around Roppongi and Nishi Azabu looking for lunch destinations. Know where the Romanian and Lao embassies are? That street. On the hill up from Gaien-Nishi to the back of the Grand Hyatt. This probably explains the patrons - mainly groups of women (there's that theme again) who must have found the place in a magazine and wanted to enjoy the modern, classy ambience and affordable pricing.

I have no problem with a teishoku if it's done right, and I would have to say that these were done right. My gyudon didn't include too much meat (which is sort of a blessing), but the meat was extremely high quality for a don. Lots of vegetables, good sauce. Nizakana was saba today (isn't it always?), and the piece of this that I stole was really good - firm yet yielding, sweet and salty, much like a...well, never mind. Everything came with tofu, soup, pickles, and the table got a mid-size dish each of gomakonbu and red beans poached in ginger syrup (I'm not making this up) to share.

All of this in a very modern and stylish environment - I think it was the marble floors that really made me feel modern. Actually my actual comment was 'museum cafe', but museum cafes don't have lovely prep counters with seats, nor do they have big glass wine coolers. This is a place that looks distinctly worth trying at night since the kaiseki courses start from Y5000 and Y6000.


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