Friday, May 13, 2011

Brasserie But, Ningyocho (ビュットブラッスリー)

What what? Brasserie But.
Really they want you to say 'Butte', like 'a solitary hill' (yes, ideally populated with cabarets and a winery), but when they write 'but', my inner 5 year old can't help but wiggle.
Funny exterior, isn't it? It's a-way off on the east side of Ningyocho, near that street that's divided by the trees, and the way it sits back in the building makes it invisible unless you're in front of it. I saw it a year or more ago and meant to go, but wasn't able to find it on several trips until now. Oh, it's pretty stylin' too, isn't it?

Funny for a two-person restaurant, actually. It's probably husband and wife, and the chef is quite stylin' himself, with a French sailor shirt and knit beanie. High banquettes to sit on, comfortable stuffed-and-steel chairs, pleasant lighting and an ample bar. Again - well beyond the call of duty and above-standard for a Tokyo chef-and-waitress bistro.

Can't remember what I think about being charged for seating in bistros. You know how much I hate it in Italian places ('coperto' is Italian for 'kiss my ass'), but if it's going to come with half a baguette and a big plop of rillette. The rillette was very fatty, but it tasted good and spread easily (much like...).

You know something I've just never been able to get into? You can guess. It's white asparagus. I've had it enough times to say with some conviction that I don't get it (including classic preparations like sea urchin and soft egg topping). Isn't green asparagus better? The highlight of this was probably the bit of mixed seafood that came with it.

And came with the next dish too. The same seafood, carefully selected so everything was divisible by two. It bears mention that the cooking here was excellent, especially the pan-fried oysters. Almost like they were done in bacon fat or something, they were so good.

Let me back up - we were going to order a starter and main each, but the waitress said that was impossible because the mains were sized for two people. We took her at her word, and as a result I was still hungry when we left.

More germane to our little conversation here, she brought the two starters in sequence, and without any mention that the substance of the dishes was the same outside the named ingredient (white asparagus, couscous). Would have been nice to know, even though it was a pleasant surprise to get more delicious oysters and scallops.

[Here's a good example of the 'no edits' rule. The above is convoluted and overly extensivified. Too late.]

While this picture is dark and messy, the plate was quite good - two whole fillets of snapper cooked with the skin crisp, a pile of roasted vegetables (again precisely two-personned), and the whole thing dripping with a delicious fond de veau-based sauce.

Evidently the wine list is organic and somewhat admired by those what know - we weren't drinking. The food is unlikely to disappoint, and with the serving sizes as big as they are, it can be fairly said that this is good value.

That was supposed to be a compliment, by the way.

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