Saturday, March 5, 2011

Oggi dal Matto, Nishi Azabu

Hmmm, you know what happens if you continue walking up the restaurant street that curves away from the northeast corner of Nishiazabu crossing? All the expensive places go away and it turns into a nice neighborhood. With a big temple.
But you have to come back to modern Japan sometime, especially if you managed to get a same-day reservation at Oggi. It's popular, so it's pretty cool that they actually plan for a second seating at 1:30, their stated last-order time. This is directly across from O'hara et CIE, which is one the best competitions I can think of.
And this, this is one of the best starter plates I can think of. Lemme see what I can remember in the absence of notes, other than the unusual, apt seasoning and distinct, perfect preparation of each element. The 'main' elements were down front - L-to-R, snapper with cherry leaf-flavored jelly; oyster with strips of bacon and chrysanthemum leaf puree, octopus 'terrine', reminiscent of the compressed octopus at Biodynamico and just as awesome. Cream soup in the glass. Spicy tomato sauce-simmered burdock to the right. Pumpkin mousse. But the vegetables in the back row were all tremendous in their own ways - very precise, boiling, spicing, pickling, grilling. Happiness from the first bite, and I would value this by itself at at least half the price of the whole lunch.

Sadly, I wouldn't value this strawberry pasta too highly. The pasta was good, and I love cold pasta, and I love strawberries, and these were good strawberries (see how they put green bits in too, more cunchy and sour?)...but it was too sweet for here. You could have put less oil on and called it dessert, but I think they should have put more oil, and salt, and balsamic vinegar, and called it a realy agrodolce pasta. Maybe I should make that on Sunday if it's warm.
But this Yamagata pork, ahahahaha, you'd have to value it highly or risk damaging our friendship (unless you're a vegetarian ballerina or something, which is totally cool with me). Cooked just right, balsamic sauce (they must have put it here after forgetting to put it on the strawberries), delicious komatsuna. The kitchen has a way with boiled greens. Sounds weird, but it's true.
Hello princess. What are you doing hiding with all those other vegetables under the pork?
As is traditional in...geez, I dunno. Where is it traditional to have spicy anchovy-breadcrumb linguine after the roast pork? This was OK, but weird sequentially. You could argue that it followed because the anchovy flavor was stronger than the mild pork, but fish pasta after meat is odd where I come from. That reminds me though, when I go back to where I'm from, people seem to think multi-course meals are odd too.
No one thinks chocolate cake is odd. And with cream and raspberry sauce. Good cake. No further comment.

Funny, looking back the starter and pork were wonderful, and that sorta paid for the cost of the lunch. If you thought of the other three courses as a bonus, you too would come away very happy with the value performance as well as filled up by the quantity.

Oh man, I almost forgot - with lunch they do all-you-can-drink sparkling wine. It was either Y1k or Y1.5k, which should clue you in to the quality of the wine, but still.

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