Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bistro Lugdunum, Kagurazaka

Probably more than a year has gone by since I started thinking that Bistro Lugdunum looked like the best bistro in Kagurazaka - which any French person in Tokyo will tell you is saying something. Since the French School is nearby, various French things have congregated there for years, and there's a higher concentration of bistros then anywhere else in Tokyo. The Wrecker, despite having kids in that very school, said he was unfamiliar with any area bistros, so I chose this one...which it turned out his wife had also chosen three days earlier for Father's Day. And The Wringer may also have recommended in the past. Oopsie. Well, at least it's popular if not original. And at least the nicknames are original.

In a sentence, this is very good quality bistro food, at reasonable prices for the quality (although I don't understand the course menu pricing system - it seems like if you order from the restricted 3-4 choices for each course, you save a grand Y150). I ignored that, and you should too. There are some significant upcharges if you get the luxury ingredients, but those plates looked terrific when others got them.

Not something you see that often in Japanese bistros, but a real staple in France - herring with potatoes. The herring was really soft and delicious, and the waxy yellow potatoes and onions were very good. Everything was a little warm, which brings out both the oiliness and the flavor of the fish (in a good way).

The other starter, a Lyon-style sausage and meat plate, which I could not sample out of politeness. It certainly looked very fresh and...almost light, I think.  The only criticism I could make, which indeed would carry over to most of the items, is that the portion looked a bit small. Ehh, how much cured meat do you really need?

Sadly I could not try this either, but it's a lovely-looking fish quenelle dish, presumably in a sort of Americaine sauce and topped with a bit of bubbling cheese. I'm not all that sure, but it really looked great, and I'll be angling to try it when I go back.

I got the open-faced, that was lunch. I got the blood sausage, supported by mashed potatoes and topped with roasted apple slices. Soft texture, interesting flavor, good mix of elements, great sauce, a realy winner.

And ehhh, might as well get dessert. I saw someone else receive a slate of macarons and thought I'd try them. Turns out they're cherry-leaf flavored! Imagine sakura mochi, the salty-bitter-cherry thing that you can get in the spring, made into macarons, with a strawberry foam and indeterminate red-fruit sorbet. The macarons were competent, which is a fairly good recommendation in a city that has a LOT of mediocre macarons. You could fault the shells for being a bit moist, not crackly at all, but they were chewy and had a good shell-to-filling ratio.

There you go folks - no reason not to suspect that this isn't the best bistro in Kagurazaka (Y5k for the 3 plates pictured on the left above). Decent selection of glass wines, which seemed good when we drank them, but didn't see the wine list. I'll definitely be back.

And next time, I'll wear a tricorn hat.

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