Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Goutte d'Or Crattini

On a day as crappy as this, where I labored under a deadline until lunch time (self-imposed, but if we can't manufacture our own urgency, who can?) and stepped out to find gray everwhere, there was only one solution.

Pasta. I thought about a few places I've been to before, but ultimately decided to wander down Marunouchi Naka Dori, above ground rather than the underground version I've done the last few days. I stopped into 2 random buildings and didn't find pasta, but hit the jackpot at the aptly-named Naka Dori Building, whose placid corporate facade cleverly hid the pretty well-known Goutte d'Or Crattini.

I see that certain colleagues of mine have already been here, not that that's a surprise for this certain colleague, who has been everywhere. The linked review is accurate, of course - GdOC is both smaller and more casual than one would expect. Here's some of the casuality inside. Seeing these ladies reminded me yet again that I'm basically a Lady Who Lunches...the lady on the left of this pair looked an awful lot like Brenda, which was a bit distracting. I see that Camille also went there around the same time (3 years ago, maybe when it was cool?). I always like to think that Camille must look like Brenda, even though I'll never find out.

I don't take pictures of bread (I love saying that even though it's a lie!), but being alone and with camera I was both bored and enticed. As focaccia goes, this was really good - not too dry, and with a lightly oily burnt part on the bottom. The Italians probably have a name for that, like the burnt part at the bottom of a traditional rice cooker is called koge.  The oil was mediocre, and I didn't love the way it was pre-poured on every vacant table.

Outside of the 2-plate course, there was this starter salad - normal leaves with a mound of cooked spinach and mystery fish in the middle. I want to say it was cooked mackerel, actually, since it was darker and stronger than your normal tsuna.

Shrimp and potato salad on the menu made me think of more exotic things. No doubt because I ate raw mountain potato for dinner last night (marinated briefly in soy sauce, mixed with ruccola and grilled beef - a masterstroke for a 15-minute home dinner, I thought), I got excited thinking the potato would be mountain potato soumen or something equally exotic. In fact, it was just a quarter of a boiled potato included on the plate - but a nicely-done plate nonetheless. The shrimp were very good, while the cubes of shrimp mousse tasted bizarrely like Cheetos.

Looking at Seat's review linked above, it seems the (very earnest and attentive) staff arranged a man-sized portion of pasta for me. This was described as 'salt pork and vegetable penne', but it turned out that 'vegetable' covered a lot of territory with a very liberal interpretation of Italian-ness. Nanohana (which is a lot like broccoli rabe, of course), lotus root and burdock all appeared, which made me feel healthy even as I was getting stuffed on

fatty fatty fatty salty pork.

The coffee is just here to say 'Damn this was a good coffee. They pre-heated the cup, restretted the heck out of the water, and it came with a lovely crema and lots of frangrance.' So there.

Next door is the owner's branch wine shop; it's quite lovely, but I can't help thinking this isn't the place to buy your wine. The few bottles I can recognize on sight through a window and across a shop were a bit dearly priced. Online ordering is the way to go these days, I'm afraid.

Again, I was just kinda bored on the walk back and thought I'd throw in a little shot of Marunouchi since it shows up so much in posts. This is the back of Maru Biru (or at least the side that faces Naka Dori. Both Maru and Shin are designed not to have much distinction between front or back; the non-Naka Dori side faces Tokyo Station, but it's much less pedestrian-friendly. Lisa, just imagine if things had worked out differently when you introduced me to those guys in Virginia and I had ended up in urban planning...).


Ahahahaha, if you eat too much Platinum Pork, you'll get Golden Gout. Hmm, no one else thinks that's funny, do they?
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