Friday, November 13, 2009

Sabatini di Firenze, Tokyo

Being graced with the company of my good maaaaate Rin-ji, I felt like it was time for something special (besides, it was her turn to pay). Out of the choices I offered (any building with 'Maru' in the name) she chose Daimaru, which is largely unknown to most Otemachi dwellers. This is because it's far away, non-obvious, and anyway a decent lunch there will easily set you back Y2500 and 90 minutes. Oopsie. I'll stay late tonight to make up for it.

Unfortunately we were not able to dine at the first two places that Rin-ji evinced interest in. Because I've been to them. Again, oopsie. We ended up at Sabatini, which is possibly the cheapest of the 4 high-end Italian restaurants in its group - the other end being the positively brutal Antica Osteria del Ponte in Maru Biru (I understand that the original in Italy is 3-star, but after my terrible lunch at Enoteca Pichiorri, I'll never again trust such pronouncements). Sabatini has many nice, elegant trappings, but things are squeezed in a bit, and with the rushing to and fro of the waitstaff it feels like a much more casual restaurant than it is. (Which is too bad at this price point.)

So we were both taken by the Sabatini lunch - mixed starter followed by a bit of grilled Japanese beef in mustard sauce. The mixed starter was as follows - some ham which was decent despite the fact that I'll never eat industrial ham in the same way again, a few little fried fish (the waiter said they were wakase, but he was deeply Italian), some salad. Meh. Distinctly meh.

Here's the beef. The taste was interestingly gamey, I'll say that for it, and it might be because it was halami, the English name of which I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if it was 'skirt steak' or something. The beef was certainly cooked nicely, but seemed mediocre, and the sauce didn't match in my mind (or mouth). The potato gratin was very good, probably the high point for me, the little parmesan crisp was nice, and the confit onions behind the cheese crisp were also good.

The post-meal coffee was conspicuously good, and the service by the aged Italian guy was warm, friendly and quirky. The cost performance was just lacking.

Aaaaa, la testa cauda! Grazie!

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