Food without memory is just digestion

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Blown away by Bon Pinard!

A sterling gentleman of my acquaintance, the sugoi Eric Dahler, mentioned some time ago that I might enjoy Bon Pinard in Moto-Azabu [Map]. A chef from Manoir D'Hastings, and a sommelier from Joel Robuchon ... Eric supplying some of his fine wines ... hmm, a consumation devoutly to be wished methinks!

So it was that I toddled off with my Stern friend to try out Bon Pinard. Be warned that the sign on the door is a trap - that door is actually permanently locked, and one approaches by entering the YS building foyer and careening downstairs to B1.

Be further warned, Gentle Reader, that this is not a restaurant for those less passionate about victuals than Arthur and I. This place is for foodies. And winos. The service and the attention to detail is superb - and one could easily imagine spending far too much money here. Or wearing out a welcome by appearing on the doorstep once too often.

The wine list is a charming journey through the best terroirs of France, and your Humble Correspondent is delighted to advise that it is very, very reasonably priced - to the point of being close to retail! We started with a 2002 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos, which was light and served as a delightful conversation starter. A word on the staff - these people are warm and friendly, with calm professionalism the mark of a well-run ship.

I must admit to more than a little trepidation when dining with Arthur, as he is quite the urban sophisticate and has far more experience at fine dining than I. To the point, Gentle Reader, that he once passed on Troisgros in Roanne because he felt a little full one morning. But to my great relief, he pronounced himself well satisfied with the choice and gracefully allowed me to feel somewhat smug.

The Amuse was a delicate piece of Tasmanian salmon, which as always has a subtle yet impressive flavor, and is a wonderful chaperone to classic French. Well done, brave Bon Pinard, and onto the first course!

Oh my goodness - my Boudin wrapped in a light blanket of heavenly pastry with apple jam served on the side will hereforth serve as the standard by which I judge blood sausages. This is seriously good food, and a worthy guide to the craft that Chef brings to Bon Pinard. Arthur matched me with a demure Iwagaki (rock oyster) a la naturelle all the way from Fukui Prefecture. He has a thing about oysters, yet announced himself properly done by.

On we pressed, moving to a 1998 Chambolle-Musigny Les Sentiers VV designed to complement my duck breast and his Eel and Fois gras en croute. This is an excellent wine, again reasonably priced below Y10,000 and supple (subtle?) enough to hold hands with the main courses we had chosen. Gentle Reader, my duck was sublime and presented skillfully without a cacophony of vegetables or similar nondescript plate fillers. My companion's verdict - without doubt, the best eel he had ever eaten in nearly 60 years of a multi-continental life.

Call me predictable, but we rounded out an excellent meal with some Comte, Camembert, and Roquefort.

Bon Pinard is a restaurant you should visit soon - the food, wine and service are the full 9 yards and I promise you will pronounce the experience memorable. This is a gem, and located convenient to Roppongi, Azabu Juban, and Hiroo. Not to mention a veritable hop, step and jump from my new Hell Hole in Moto-Azabu. But some advice - take a flopsy because this is serious dining, not to be wasted on male friends!

Bon Pinard [Map]: 2-1-21 Moto-Azabu, YS Building B1F. Tel: 03-5856-4151
Rating: Food: 8; Wine: 8; Service: 8; Ambience: 8; Price: 8 ($$). Total 40/50

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have heard repeated good reviews of Bon Pinard from people who's food opinion I respect (not the least of which is Mr. White). However, my dining experience there left much to be desired.

I had a sanma and foi gras dish that was all sanma and NOTHING else from a flavor standpoint.

This I followed up with their conard dish, which I can only describe as average.

I will try the Bon Pinard again, but I hope for marked improvement.

The Expat