Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pizzeria d'Oro, Kanda

How do we feel about chain restaurants these days, my friends? For at least one of us (who's writing this), it still comes as a bit of a shock to realize that the charming and 'authentic' place you just enjoyed is one of 5 or 6 just like it. We'd like it to be unique as well as great, but reality probably dictates that a good thing gets done over. And over. And for those of us who have never been to Italy, the most authentic-seeming places are just as likely to be mere shams, cruel constructs, black-hearted simulacra, vicious automatons. I digress (and use words inappropriately).

Still, Pizzeria d'Oro's Kanda shop is doing a good job of it! The exterior is such that it's been described in the past as "you, know, the lovely place", and it really looks like a pleasant, authentic slice of Italia. The inside is a bit more 'modern Japanese' in its furnishing, but in a nice and relaxingly stylish way (brown cloth stuffed chairs, simple wood tables).

The menu covers the bases with a minimum of fuss - a couple pizzas (the sample outside looked unconscionably small; I couldn't force myself to order one), a couple pastas (normal stuff - for instance swine and aubergine; as long as pigs have become 'swine' in the news, I'm going with fancy words for other quotidian comestibles too), and two risotti. Oh, and a weekly special of baked snapper with vegetables. I went with the simple cheese risotto, which was momentarily disappointing since it included a lot of white sauce or cream rather than relying on the starchiness of the rice to make it gooey. This is perfectly understandable in a restaurant setting, especially at lunch, where you don't have 40 minutes to stir the rice and pour more water on it, and in any event it was quite tasty once I got into it. There are side salads for Y200 (lettuce and fresh mozzarella), and everything seems to come with a small side dish (bits of rosemary-grilled chicken, cabbage, and radicchio, yum). They have a very serious coffee machine, so serious that they don't deign to include a hot bevvie in the lunch set, and also a little freezer full of gelato that looks nice.

So this would almost make it to a recommendation; the food's nice enough, the atmosphere is lovely, and it's a good walk away (or too far if you're trying to detract). Today, all it's done is kindle a desire to make a buncha Italian food for tomorrow's holiday, especially a good leisurely risotto!

Oddly, the company's web page doesn't seem to mention Kanda. Maybe they're embarrassed over the size of the pizzas.

In yet other news, after several walk-bys in the company of those less-interested, I managed to stop into Yanagiya World Wine in Kanda. The staff are incredibly welcoming and helpful, and they have a lovely and offbeat selection of Italian and French wine (1st floor), US/AU/NZ wine and 'cult wines' (2nd floor) and Belgian beer (fridge). Can't really give it a whole review, though we will throw it up on The Map, under the clearly inappropriate 'bars' heading.

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