Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raffiné, Hongo (ラフィネ)

The Hongo explorations continue. I like it up here because it's so quiet, especially if you cross the intersection going north toward Tokyo U, and even more so if you take the soft left onto this little half-shuttered shopping street. I found it months ago, coming from a different direction, totally lost, and was pretty startled when I started going to Hongo and realized that was it. Raffiné was the place I earmarked on my first accidental trip, so the Hongo project has sorta come full-circle.

Mixed signals inside - it's bright and clean, the kitchen looks very serious, as does the blackboard, but the vinylized tablecloths are usually a negative signal in this price range. Let me just cut to the chase and say it was OK, but I thought the value equation was poor.

How to put it? I think the chef here is in the upper quartile of a mediocre group. He's doing a good job, but in a bland style. The highlight of this plate was certainly the seafood mousse at the bottom, but it was curiously weak, and you know pink peppercorns are an attempt to cover up. Like huge pepper shakers.

This is Kagoshima pork, and again it was tasty albeit tough. The vegetables were fresh and still-green. Maybe I'm complaining too much. It wasn't bad.

The hazelnut mousse on the left was very nice. I would have liked to get a look in at the cheese mentioned on the dinner menu and shown on the web.

Hmmm, I guess the cooking is simple but OK. Compared to all the exploration in Kagurazaka though, I think the course is several hundred yen overpriced.

And if you need to eat a 3 course lunch and also save a couple hundred yen, that's where you should go.

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