Food without memory is just digestion

Monday, 7 April 2008

Oh, Chez Matsuo!

Twice in the last two months I've been able to sneak off to Chez Matsuo [Japanese only] [map] for lunch. What a blessing this is - a peaceful retreat in Shoto. Far from the madding crowds, Gentle Reader, and as far from the hubbub of Shibuya as Denny's is from food!

The Engineer and I needed to discuss some business matters, so what better refuge than the delightful C. Matsuo. Established in this elegant residence in 1980, one might visit just to take in the wonderful collection of modern art with Chagall and Picasso particularly well represented. But as two long-term foodies from way back, we dived deep into the Dejeuner du Printemps (Luncheon) before we noticed the decoration. I've listed the menu below, but be aware that it changes on a daily basis, and difficult to influence unless you discuss matters with Chef well in advance.

Our food was, in a word, magnificent. Beautifully prepared, and wonderously plated on crockery that was especially designed for the restaurant. Each course was a lovely little journey into Chef's mind, and we both came away eager to travel with him again some time soon.

The service in English, French and Japanese is exemplary and the wine list outstanding (although a little on the steep side). Steeped in ambiance, C. Matsuo also boasts a lovely garden with running water and an exquisite Edwardian/Taisho feel - if you're a good boy or girl, you'll be invited to enjoy your dessert and coffee out here.

I'm surprised that Michelin only deigned to award 1 star here - perhaps the judges were having a collective bad day, or otherwise felt some animus to this long-standing star of the Tokyo dining scene. I will agree that there are aspects that feel quaint - but the food, wine and atmosphere overcome all of that with aplomb.

For your Humble Correspondent, true fine dining in the best foodie city on the planet!

Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 8/10; Ambiance: 8/10; Service: 8/10; Price ($$$$): 7/10. Total: 39/50
Chez Matsuo [Japanese only] : 1-23-15 Shoto, Shibuya Ward, 03-3485-0566 [map]

Dejeuner du Printemps
Hareng marine au verjus a la fleur de raifort vert a la chevre fraiche
Terrine de proc d'iberico et jeune shiitake chaud en tartine, au pissenlit
Soupe de gobo aux crouquettes de calmar
Noix de St-Jacques mi-cuit au Bai Ma-krut, au fenouil, aux oignons noveaux
Trou normand
Supreme de canard roti au miel et thym au Udo caramelise a la reglisse
Balnc-manger au lait de soja au basalic, sirop de cafe express au pralin

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