Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bistro La Poupee, Ningyocho

How did I end up at this place? I'll be up front about it - I looked at the map and picked an area I'd never been to. This dense area north of Nihonbashi (broadly Ningyocho, but well outside the more interesting area) has a lot of small offices with a few restaurants sprinkled through - sort of like Kanda, only less good. After cruising around for a couple minutes I saw a French flag, and that was it.
The inside is...drab and efficient, let's put it that way. The course-on-course service times were quite rapid, and the waitress was pleasant, but the lack of decoration and low lights were a bit of a downer.
Since it was cloudy, even sitting right next to the window didn't help, although it did permit some artistic picture-taking while waiting for food.
Emboldened by dramatic success at Coulis, I threw caution to the winds (along with all semblance of original writing) and ordered the full course. It started with this mixed plate. The ham was decent if predictable, the smoked scallops were interesting and good (done in-house, I bet - you wouldn't get something that dry and smoky produced commercially), the pickled cabbage was refreshing, and the terrine...I think it included some objectionable bits, based on the texture, and congratulations to the chef for daring to go there. The flavor could use a little boost though.
The fish course was this sea bass with a creamy, possibly muistardy sauce. With crisp skin, moist flesh, and an abundance of cliched food-writer words, this may just possibly have been among the best dishes of the lunch.
This little steak was a bit of a surprise considering the menu said Meat of the Day was chicken (and I planned to have leftover steak at home for dinner). A tolerable peace of meet, with adequate sauce, the whole distinguished mainly by the fact that it was nicely cooked between rare and medium rare, and the single pea pod with it was delicious.

Choice of desserts; Eye I'd them suspiciously and then gave up and ordered the apricot tart. Naturally it wasn't fresh fruit, and the filling was an odd and very sweet cross between clafoutis and cake, but it was fine. And so was the coffee.

Goes to show, you're not going to hit the highs like Coulis all the time, and rarely without advance planning. Honestly, it should count as a win to find a place even as good as this in such a quiet neighborhood.

We win, we lose, but we keep trying.

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