Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ristorante Frick, Aoyama

August brings hard times for big men in Tokyo. When colleagues go to Hong Kong or Hawaii and come back talking about how the weather is worse in Tokyo, all we want to do is retreat to our air-conditioned rooms and laze on the couch. Or maybe go out for a touch of elegance. As long as it's similarly air-conditioned. Frick is cool, very cool. The south-Aoyama location is undeniably cool and stylish (walking from the station you'll pass Prada and a dozen other boutiques), the interior is minimal but accented with leather and wood, and the service is downright chilly.

No complaints though - the roughly Y6k Frick Course gets you a crafty and elegant starter like this one (diced scallop with papaya and a hint of coconut; rilette on toast with a dried smear of basil paste; not strictly Italian, but both good), then a salad, pasta, main, dessert, coffee and tidbits (with about 5 choices for the pasta and main). That's pretty good anywhere in Tokyo at this level of cooking, and double-surprising in the depths of Aoyama.

The salad is in some ways the thing; this is what Chez Tomo  wants to do but can't. There's not much to say beyond the beauty of the picture except that the cooking and/or saucing was very precise and a lot of the bites were surprisingly good.

It's a good thing the light stayed good for the salad, because it went downhill for the pasta courses, which were very nice on both sides of the table. One was fresh tomatoes pureed and mixed with balls of fresh buffalo mozarella (you don't see that kind of attention to detail often in an entry-level course),

and this one was tomato and cream with sea urchin mixed through. Maybe a waste of a best-raw luxury ingredient, but if you've got the luxury to burn, it does add a certain kick to the sauce.

Of the mains, the stewed veal belly was tasty if a bit tough, but the grilled chicken was an absolute standout. Grilled chicken! So juicy, and the skin so crisp, it was like genetic engineering by the kitchen. Almost enough to restore one's faith in grilled chicken.
Desserts, like everything else, were presented with an absolute minimum of pomp, or indeed communication, by the staff. There's no choice, so they give you one of each, 'each' being this white peach compote over vanilla semifreddo (a little bland, but it's hard to improve a fresh peach, now at the height of the season, by pounding it up)...
and a forgettable blancmange; the most notable thing about which is, in retrospect, that there was Campari hidden somewhere in it, adding a nice complexity.
Still, desserts doth not a dinner ruin, and those desserts were in truth a cut or two above expectations, and followed by good petit fours. Mostly this meal met expectations, which were pretty high from looking at the web site. At last, an Italian restaurant that doesn't disappoint.

1 comment:

  1. look interesting - good price performance? i've booked in there for end of the month