Saturday, May 22, 2010

Brasserie Paul Bocuse la Musee

Years I've meant to go to this place. Years. How long has it been open? Even before that I wanted to go there. Even before that. Why? It's inside the museum, but more importantly it's located on top of a giant inverted concrete cone in the lobby. If you sit near the edge, it's sort of like sky dining. Except with a roof. And the food was better than I expected; almost like a redemption of M. Bocuse's name after I've had some less positive experiences.

The setting is decidedly nifty, what with the views into space over the lobby and out the windows. Considering that it's in Roppongi, there's a lot of greenery about. One thing that's a bummer is that it has a mildly industrial aspect. I say 'mildly' advisedly, because it is called a brasserie, and that doesn't sound very formal, and there are tablecloths and service staff in matching outfits. The tables are a bit packed-in though.

I've been to the Brasserie Bocuses in Yurakucho (dinner - overpriced and under-qualitied, the source of my bad feelings) and Tokyo (lunch - Daimaru 12th floor has nice views of Yaesu, one-plate lunch deal was good); this is the same format and I guess the same menu, but we had the short course instead of the one-plate lunch. I don't think this was bad for Y2600 (although two of the plates were chargeable extras).

Lo, the first courses arrive. (Oh, the bread was decent baguette, but a bit doughy inside and not at all crackly without). Left, a salmon rillette that had a strong herbiness, at first odd and later addictive. The sort of beef-in-aspic terrine on the right, with chopped eggs, tomatoes and capers, was very nice. Almost like beef vegetable soup made into a terrine, but very well-made.

And thus we proceed to main courses, with roast pork on the right (no mention of Alsace despite the tasty bacon and stewed cabbage) that was delicious if a bit dry. Roast prawns on risotto with American Sauce was just great. You may not like sauce made from boiled shrimp bits, but I do, I do.

Desserts were disappointing; The creme brulee is listed on the menu as a particular specialty, but I'm not sure what's special about spreading a very very thin layer of sugar on the custard, burning it, then leaving it in the refrigerator to get soft and start dissolving. The old-fashioned gaufrettes were perhaps better, but mainly because you could apply copious amounts of whipped cream and excellent chocolate sauce. The very light applesauce was also tasty. I wonder how they get it to taste so light; mine always gets heavy and a bit sticky. Well, I suppose that's another reason why Paul Bocuse is one of the great chefs of history.


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