Wednesday, July 15, 2009

La Cabane, Ebisu (ラキャバヌ)

Ebisu is always on my mind. It calls to me. Gently, so softly that I sometimes forget it's there, cooing its sweet song as it reclines like a pampered pet across my frontal lobe. The tiny alleys twist and turn back on themselves, concealing hidden delights and Oriental delicacies. A gentle fragrance barely disturbs the night air, infusing perambulators with a deep sense that I've been reading too many overblown food blogs today. The west side of Ebisu at night (where the subway exit meets the big escalator) is crowded and noisy and filled with dining bars and downscale places, plus the odd high-ender (Mona Lisa), and is more or less ripe for having a great time. If I ever leave Monnaka (いいところね?!), I'd like to settle around Ebisu. Could be the east side like Dominic, could be the farther-west like Nakame or points outside (but I shudder at the thought of living outside the subway system).

If one moved sufficiently far west, one could live in France (ahhh, the segues! So smooooth!) and eat wine and drink cheeze every day. But that would be very far outside the subway system, and thus not practical for commuting to Otemachi. In the meantime, we make do with places like La Cabane, a new outpost of Kagurazaka's famed Maison de la Bourgogne. It's a bit of a cheese cafe, with a side order of ze galettes, and if you get a move on, you might be able to get there before it gets crowded. Last night there were almost no other people except our table outside, which let us get a lot of attention from the staff.

Olivier did well at taking care of us, which started off strongly when he responded to my wine choice with a solid Gallic moue. What is it with me and waiters this week? It turned out that the wine I ordered was 'too light', but he would be very happy to propose something else not on any list that was much nicer and the same price. I guess this is good, but restaurants should probably keep things that they recommend against off the menu, and things that they recommend on it. No? But there's also a blackboard with well over 10 by-the-glass selections at OK prices, and this is a great thing.

Without really ordering, we received a number of nice things (thanks!). A plate of lightly-cooked mushrooms (were those really fresh porcini, or was it just the sauce?) with shaved parmesan was excellent, as was a larger plate of mixed meat and cheese. The big leg of pig on the counter (Italian, I think) was put to very good use, and the kitchen got to show off their cheese selection. On the menu there are about 15 choices covering all the bases in a nice, normal way; in France this might be normal or pedestrian, but in Tokyo having Brie de Meaux, Bleu d'Auvergne, Stilton, chevre, hard cheeses, etc. in one place that's not the cart at an expensive restaurant is extraordinary. Cheeses seemed pretty good, but we didn't get a fair tasting seeing as we were sitting outside and it was hot and humid (hence the desire to drink 'light' wine!).

Cooked food is also available; we got through a quick galette, (jambon cru, fromage) that was a little less fluffy/chewy than homemade but very tasty due to the bacon 'n' egg. The salad in a galette bowl was ordinary, and the pasta was pretty poor (which I feel bad about saying, because the other waiter had to go out specially to buy the pasta that they cooked for us).

Inside is a bit on the 'bar' side - not a lot of tables, and a minor North African theme going on (I think). The overall concept is right on, however, and I think this is well worth a stop by, either on your way somewhere or else as a reasonably-priced alternative French option.

Eet eez, 'ow you say, ze fromage?

1 comment:

  1. Were you smoking something when you wrote this? Your prose is absolutely poetic. Love you. Aunty.