Gentle Reader - winter approaches. Winter, with its hoary frosts and stiffening winds. Winter, when darkness rules the land and we walk around like the Michelin Man in several layers of clothing. Winter... the season for game in Tokyo!
Although my fellow gourmand, the inestimable Dominic, saw fit to "spiflicate" at La Bourguignon in October: he was there for luncheon, and the weather was slightly unpredictable. Your Humble Correspondent is delighted to report that La Bourguignon is neither stuffy nor slow at a more reasonable hour of the day when the office ladies have been chased home.
I sallied forth with my Stern Friend on a recent evening to indulge my Neanderthal need for the meat of wild animals, and to see why Chef Kikuchi is getting so much attention from the restaurant guides. Oh my! We were seated at a pleasantly round table to admit my girth, and showered with attention. I feared my secret identity had been betrayed, but we determined to bravely soldier on with our foray into the intracies of gibier [game] and l'abats [offal].
We started with a Carrot Mousse in Consomme gel, garnished with uni. With this simple yet dramatic flourish, Le Bourguignon established itself as a definite candidate for a Michelin star. Delicate and more-ish, yet set off by the salty wild-harvested sea urchin. And then, Gentle Reader, something to amaze and amuse - a warm eel and fois gras terrine served en croute with wild leaf salad. We enjoyed an excellent Georges Burrier 2004 Sancerre, reasonably priced and pleasantly sharp with mineral overtones.
On then to the fish - ainame (Hexagrammos otakii) for which the English name of Fat Greenling seems a little absurd. Typically a game fish, it is commercially farmed in Japan. To my great shame, your Humble Correspondent forgot to ask the efficient and friendly floor staff whether this particular example was wild or weaned. However, on a happier note, it was perfectly paired with komatsuba (a bitter green leaf similar to spinach but more astringent) and pleurote - it vanished quickly from the plates of your intrepid hunters.
For mains, you can guess that my choice was the Andouillette, which was magnificent. My dining partner chose the rarely seen fromage de tête. Rarely, if ever, do I normally regret my choice but I freely admit that my Stern Friend won this round hands down. Our red wine was a 2005 Morey St Denis Georges Lignier et Fils, which was again reasonably priced and an excellent match for our game and offal adventures.
Choose Le Burguignon for a quiet conversation with a friend or lover who knows their food. You won't be disappointed.
La Bourguignon: 3-3-1 Nishi-Azabu, Minato Ward. t: 03-5772-6244. Closed Wednesday. (Sorry, no website!)
Rating: Food: 8; Wine: 8; Service: 8; Ambiance: 8; Price: 8 ($$$). Total 40/50