Saturday, November 21, 2009

La Scene, Kagurazaka

Kagurazaka is famous for French stuff. It's funny, but there really ARE a ton of little French (and Italian) places lurking around. It's not that they're clustered in one place; this one, which appeared in a Hanako article, is actually a bit north of what you may think of as the 'main drag' (Waseda Dori), on Okubo Dori (which comes up from Ushigome, then curves around to the north side of Iidabashi station). It's a quiet stretch of road, and La Scene is actually a block off that road on a smaller, darker, quieter street. There are a few other quiet, stylish-looking places in that block, however.

It's this kind of place inside - mainly counter, open late at night, 2 guys working (the waitress went home while we were there). They describe themselves as wine-focused: the chef imports/selects things himself, and the selections seem interesting. While they had obvious and interesting character, the glass wines we tried weren't the greatest things ever, and I fear I must also warn you that the pours are quite small (and such small portions! Oy!). But this is not a significant drawback. Late-night hours and reasonable prices are a bigger draw for me.

Unlike those at El Bulli, these roses at the counter were merely for adornment and not to be eaten.

Lyon salad was more meaty than most - rather than bacon pieces, the meat under the egg is sauteed liver. The salad portion was also a bit small, such that one would easily exhaust the green bits well in advance of the meat and egg, and be reduced to eating the succulent, steaming offal by itself. Not that bad a scenario, come to think of it.

I'm a sucker for choucroute, and I'm always let down. This is because I love pickles, and what I really want to eat is excellent choucroute. Perhaps in Germany? I could do with less of the fatty bits of meat and sausage that garnish the cabbage. This sauerkraut was OK, and some of the meats were quite good. The piece of belly in the front is particularly frightening - the thin edge of meat was the same color as the fat, so it looked pretty much like you were eating nothing but fat. Years of training have paid off, so I can do this now.

Lamb was very good; I was initially skeptical since the chef started it off in a pan, but he roasted it later. And you can't argue with the deep lamby taste nor the pink perfection of his cooking. 4 solid chops (2 doubles) are a nice touch. This completes my view of the food; I'd say it's bistro-themed, but definitely on the Japanese side of the fence.

Chocolate cake was pretty good - somehow dense and light at the same time, and sticking to your teeth in an appealing fashion. I seem to remember the vanilla ice being good too.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired after all the activity this day, but enlisted a passerby to snap a picture of me napping in my sleeper berth on the way home.

Not much of a view.

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