One struggles, Gentle Reader, when asked to choose a casual yet sophisticated restaurant in Tokyo. So much choice, and so little shared knowledge. I suppose that is the point of this blog and others - to battle through the Michelin and Zagat hyperbole, yet provide you with (hopefully) an amusing guide to foodie life here in the Big Mikan.
At this point, let me introduce with considerable chagrin my friend Dominic Carter (http://www.tokyoeater.blogspot.com/) who writes exceedingly well about the topic at hand. His mother advised a hobby, and he has certainly taken to this one with abandon. I like the airline class metaphor he uses, and he has exquisite taste.
Looking at a dinner opportunity with The Expat, I took Dominic's advice on Bistro de la Cite [Map] in Nishi Azabu. We wanted to talk work stuff, yet dine with at least a little casual elegance at a mutually convenient location.
I hadn't ventured here for some 10 years, having a vague recollection of a bland and disconcerting disappointment around a duck confit. Pshaw! Put such thoughts out of your mind, Gentle Reader. From the marinated olives we enjoyed with a 2005 Sancerre through to the cheese and Tarte Tatin finale, this meal was carefully prepared and served with friendliness and considerable care.
I chose a French Onion Gratin Soup which The Expat matched with a Terrine de Campagne. Both of these were excellent, and filled the plate without burdening the eye. Our main meals were the Fish of the Day (flounder) for me during my Lenten fast, and a Duck Confit for His Eminence (gris). He pronounced the confit as "delectable", and the potato gnocchi+dried tomato+shrimp sauce that dressed the fish was outstanding.
The check surprised at less than Y20,000 including the wine. All in all, Bistro de la Cite is well worth a visit with colleagues or lovers, offering a pleasant yet sophisticated environment together with fine food and great service. Vive la Cite!
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Price ($$): 7/10. Total: 37/50
Bistro de la Cite: 4-2-10 Nishi-Azabu, Minato Ward. Tel: (03) 3406-5475. Closed Mondays.