Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Revisiting Esperia

Rewind to August last year - the venue is Esperia (map), the occasion is getting back together with friends after summer, the food is …

So now it’s 2007 and I’m back again, this time with the Child Bride as my partner in grime entertaining the New Yorker and his Japanese bride. Planning to go on to Body & Soul for some jazz, we fix on Esperia as the ideal place to rendezvous. Good choice!

The food - as always - was great…simply great. The wine was copious, and full of flavor. All at a reasonable price, the Chevalier de Fromage who is the chef here works hard to find superb ingredients from all over Japan, ranging far and wide from Kyushu to Hokkaido.

Although I’ve had it before, all my companions were stunned by my main course - Chicken wrapped in Cherry Leaves. This dish is delightfully baked in a salt casing - needless to say the result is stunning, slightly tangy yet soft and succulent. The dish is disassembled at the table for a little more theatre.

I also recommend the Parmesan crepe and the risotto. There is always a sheet of specials, thoughtfully translated into English for the linguistically challenged.

This is an elegant venue - I’ve entertained 20 here, and enjoyed quiet meals with just one person across the table. Quiet enough for a business discussion, yet with loads of energy and plenty of good humor provided by the staff. Almost “Slow Food” in its approach, this restaurant is a great example of how to concentrate on just getting better as you go.

I’d recommend making a booking. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since it moved from Akebono-bashi 3 years ago, and I’ll be going there plenty of times in the future. Let’s meet up there!

Food: 8/10, Wine 7/10, Ambience: 7/10, Service: 8/10, Price 7/10. Overall: 37/50 (Three Forks)
Esperia: 03-5485-1771. Nishi-Azabu 4-11-25.

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