Sunday, August 16, 2009

Le Jardin, Yoga

Setagaya Art Museum is good for a visit. It's a healthy walk away from Yoga, and that healthy walk, if done properly on the smaller streets and not on the 6-lane monsters that cut through the area, will be almost unconscionably pleasant. It will include cobbled streets with architectural details at every corner, water features, and various goblin heads. It will also include a short tour of Kinuta Park, famous as one of the best places to drink under cherry trees in an environment that's at once beautiful and yet more family-oriented and manageable than Ueno Park. The museum is in the northeast corner of the park, and the restaurant is in the northeast corner of the museum.

Actually I don't know if that's true, but it makes for good copy, and I wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good story. The architecture of the museum reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright in some ways, featuring as it does big concrete trellises partially shading walkways (I remember this as being like Taliesin West, but it's now been just over 15 years since I was there). On other ways, it reminds me of other things - the triangle / square motifs that appear everywhere inside and out seem much like the hastily-assembled signifiers of an alien city in Doctor Who. None of this is going anywhere, but it's fun to reminisce.

The restaurant is of the Japanese museum restaurant variety. This means the tablecloths are plastic-reinforced and stain resistant but heavily used and somehow hinting at faint stains. The food is equally a bit tepid, but when it's burning hot outside and you can (after a short wait) have a table to yourself to look out at the collonades of an alien city and the pale cool green lawns beyond, and the fine bright clean bones of the...oh, you didn't want a Hemmingway review? Here are some pictures.

Roll cake with chestnuts. a bit of icing, two kinds of cake, and two pieces of chestnut, nothing one way or the other (except a welcome burst of sugar). Someone should tell the chef that mango sauce may look nice, but really doesn't go with everything in the kitchen.






Pear tart, a lesser example of the species but again a welcome sugar hit. The crust was pretty good.








What the heck are these berries? The look like something from a bush that I was told never to eat as a kid. It was the prefect roundess and deep color that attracted me then as it did on this day...and these little balls of redness were as noxious as I imagine the others in Glassboro, NJ must have been. I'm afraid that I failed to eat 4 of the pictures berries, which you may know is quite a feat and a departure for me.


Hey, this was great! You probably would need to live in Japan for a while to appreciate how and why it was great, but the opportunity to sit and look at decent scenes and eat OK snacks is not something you get every day here.

In other news, the ostensibly French menu (backed by bottle of Veuve and Krug, no less) had been temporarily expanded. In honor of the 20th-Century Mexican Paintings exhibit, they had no less than 5 Mexican items including the exotic and nutritious 'tacos'.

Ooh, you can see in this picture the 'Prarie Style Alien City' features that I was making such a big deal about. I always find that long, insightful pieces of writing result in severe disappointment when I later encounter the object that they reviewed. And wow, they also temporarily had a Mexican Dinner Show!
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