Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Isola Smeralda, Marunouchi (丸ビル5階)

Do you get these cravings sometimes? Maybe you're pregnant so you understand (I made some pickles on Sunday. They're getting pretty good now!). Sometimes I eat so little meat that I just get desperate for beef. Today it was...cranberry juice. I thought Meijiya was the place to go, but they didn't have it. In any case, I got to try a new restaurant down there in Marubiru with Zoner. I love trying new restaurants!

Isola Smeralda is one of the two (!) brick oven firin', pasta boilin', fairly classy Italian places on Maru 5 (the other one looks better, but that's a different story for a different day, I hope). Their format is starter, pasta/pizza and dessert for Y1500, a little pricey now that I think about it. Coffee costs Y3-400 depending on what you get. There's a little outdoor section that they've weirdly constrained with clear plastic and bulked out with some portable air conditioners. The odd maitre d' insisted on seating us out there despite the fact that it's actually less salubrious. And the waitress was seriously grumpy, but I'll leave it at that.

Starters: Zoner had cold pumpkin soup. It seemed OK, but he was kinda bitter afterward. I had a 'rice salad', which was Italian rice (i.e., something like Arborio, but not thickened into risotto) mixed with chopped onion, olive, tomato, pepper, etc., and served with some boiled egg and a slice of salami. Not bad, actually - oily and lemon and fresh to counteract the heat seeping under the plastic 'walls'.

Mains: Zoner had the ground beef-and-shishitou pizza, which I rated as an impulse order, and he was kinda bitter afterward. I had the very basic-sounding prosciutto ragu penne. What's the point of taking a perfectly good cured ham, chopping it up real fine, and mixing it with stewed tomatoes? It's weird, but this was oily, fresh, meaty and flavorful. I really enjoyed it.

Dessert was a forgettable scoop of panna cotta with a weak drizzle of raspberry sauce. It was a bit of letdown after the pasta...so the score ended at 1-1, with Zoner quite disappointed and me not particularly unhappy except for the outdoor seat and the grumpy service. I have a feeling the other place on this floor is better, so why don't you try it and let me know?


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