Friday, May 28, 2010

Le Mont St Michel, Mejiro

Decamping from Takadanobaba station quite early in the game, I had plenty of time for a walk around. I know the Waseda-Baba corridor is famous for ramen, but I wanted to see what else there was. I'm here to tell you that it's not particularly exciting (and the walk up to Mejiro is even less exciting, being convoluted and largely barren), but there was a 'Flexible Pub' called 'Flappy'. I think I saw something like that on the internet one time.

I do like that decrepit alley on the west side of the tracks, just north of the station. There are some really down-home places there, and some good-looking noodleists.

At the appointed hour, we rocked up to Le Mont St Michel, heading for an all-white wine tasting, and in fact all Burgundy. Here's an atmospheric shot of the second floor, including owner, chef and festive pepper. The space reminds me considerably of winery tasting rooms in Australia, the kind where they were trying to redecorate them and be elegant about it. I really enjoy eating and drinking there. The thing that you won't understand unless you go is how much effort Yves puts into the tastings - there were pages of notes about the region (which I meant to scan and post but now feel like it might be violating copyright, so to speak), and also minutes of monologue on each wine, winemaker, etc. If you like that sort of thing, it's fantastic (the wines, also, are none too shabby). That's the reason why I feel compelled to repeat-post on Le Mont; I won't do it again. Sorry.

Scallops and bacon, a classic combination done well. Someone commented that it's hard to find bacon like this in Japan, and that's true. The rock salt is a nice addition if you're like me and put too much salt on things from time to time; no danger of not having enough here.

Because I care about my readers, both of them, I've spent the extra minute to figure out that this fish, St. Pierre (French) or John Dory (English) is a matoudai. With it being much more like flounder (the waitress suggested it could be karei), this goes to show you that translating tai as snapper like I always do is dangerous, as indeed is ordering a fish on the basis of it being some species of tai.  Well-cooked, butter sauce, crispy galette, fennel mousse with a bit of potato thrown in. Nice dish, especially for the wine pairing.

Having these pan-fried galette bits for the second time was no less enjoyable than the first - they look like a dark cloud in the picture but taste great. It's been a long time since I ate a chicken breast, and even longer since it was under something as classic as a mushroom sauce, but I don't feel poorer for the experience. Again, I think this was especially chosen for the wine pairing since it's following the brown-and-brown theme as above.

One platter per table, cheeses were a nice change to the menu from last time. For those of us at the English-speaking table, much caution was advised for the washed Epoisses de Berthaut (rinsed repeatedly in marc, hello), but we were all hardy and enjoyed it. At least I did. The cylinder of goat cheese also seemed to be in good condition, but I didn't catch where it was from.

Finishing again with M. Fec's mille crepe, only this time a rich but subtle pear filling...ably accompanied by a bottle of pear cider (produced by Eric Bordelet, I believe). Boy were they good together. I'm not sure if the pear filling is a regular on the menu, but the cider certainly is, and the rarity of it in Japan is a good enough reason to visit Le Mont.

If you go, note that you should leave by 11:55 to run like hell to get the last train. That will allow you to stick around for the marc, calvados, framboise and other high-octane goodies, yet still make it to your bed.

Original post here

Le Merveille here

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