Thursday, April 28, 2016

l'Asse, Meguro (レストラン・ラッセ)

I approach this review in a quiet residential neighborhood with some trepidation.

What's on tap for lunch today?
A HUMMER? Are you sure? What's it like?
Oh, it's LIKE NOTHING ELSE. Well, I can get behind that.

Wait, what the heck IS this place?
It is indeed, truly, verily, a 'House of Tail'.

Without further preamble,
Let's tap this Asse.
As befits a top-level Italian restaurant, there are gratuitous Italian touches everywhere. Like the plates of Murano glass that grace every place setting. Interestingly, this eschews the more formal 'stars and flowers' patterns for something that I believe translates into English as 'cloaca'.

Squeezing out into this starter plate is a mound of...well, we have this joke in my house about primitive art - "Oh, that's nice. When did your kid make it?" So it looks like a mound of something my 1-year old daughter made. (Hi Mrs. P! If you're old enough to be reading this someday, please tell daddy, ok?)

Of course it's really some middling-quality uni, and a big asparagus stalk, and a cooked mussel, in a sauce based on egg yolk. I don't make this stuff up.
I don't pile this stuff up either, a pile of flowers to cover...something stinky beneath? It's snapper carpaccio, and the only stinky-ish thing is the oddly-strongly tasting seri, a Japanese vegetable here served raw. All of this stuff is way too much for snapper carpaccio, and I didn't even remember the sauce.

Bottarga, which is of course the salted and dried feces of grey mullet, is always a welcome addition to a meal. In this case it's topping pasta, with mushrooms and tiny fish mixed in. Despite the luxury ingredient-ing, this felt throwaway. I can't help but be unimpressed by commercially produced pasta in a lunch at this purported level, although it may be the done thing.
This is the chef's specialty, and the source of much mirth at table. We had a little bet going, an over-under on exactly how many raviolos would be included in the special 4-cheese ravioli dish. I lost heavily, being inclined to 4 but lowering my actual bet to 3.

In fairness it was delicious, with the overriding facet being the cream-cheesiness of the sauce. Maybe you could make this at home with melted cream cheese?

I hear that the chef is famous not only for the flavor of these, but also for the round, supple curves that resemble nothing so much as the body part that gives his restaurant its name. I love how Japanese chefs weave their concept all through the dining experience.
Having a choice of fish or meat we chose meat, which I don't think was a surplus chargeable item. It was also delicious despite being a bit crap looking. The beef was Japanese, and it reminded me how long it's been since I had wagyu. The mushroom sauce, nice, the bamboo shoot, seasonal, and the pickled daikon, there for sour counterpoint.
Mmmmmmm, sour counterpoint. 

With that, we were on to dessert. There was a 'line of bites' board and then one larger item. Let's inspect.
Little creme brulee bites.
Vanilla mousse cones.
Chocolates. Looks like something my son made on a bad day.
Candied orange peel. Scraping the bottom of the barrel here, interesting-content-wise.
By this time it should go without saying that these mini-profiteroles were positively oozing chocolate cream.
This was the main dessert - supreme'd orange with champagne jelly and...prunes. Prunes! Of course! Stay regular!
Finishing strong and on-message, this hole is the last thing you'll see before leaving the restaurant.

You'll remember it later too.

But really, if you want a fancy lunch in this neighborhood, just go to Requinquer.

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