My faith in my fellow man has been shattered, Gentle Reader. More precisely, my faith in the Michelin Man (Bibendum). We share a certain jollity and silhouette, you see, and your Humble Correspondent felt a deep and abiding belief in his infallibility. The name Bibendum actually comes from the first advertisement which has him offering a toast "Nunc est bibendum" ("It's time to drink" in Latin) to his skinny competitors with a glass full of road trash.
All is now dust, alas. I'm shattered, like Venetian glass crushed underfoot. I had invited a good friend and former colleague to dinner, and having lost the services of the redoubtable Ms Motonaga, flittered unchaperoned through the Michelin Guide and landed on Ristorante La Primula. The Primrose is a pretty enough herb, used for some medicinal purposes, but sadly not native to Japan.
La Primula specializes in the cuisine of north-eastern Italy, principally Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto. An admirable ambition, and one with every chance of being successful in Japan. But given the unending excellence one finds in Italian restaurants in Tokyo, it would require effort and dedication. Both of which failed to evidence at Ristorante La Primula. That said, the food was well-prepared and interesting but not outstanding.
The wine list has both the dangerous "E"s - eccentric and expensive. Too much concentration on the north-east, and the wine from other regions seems to be around 300% marked up over wholesale.
You may wonder why I ramble so - unfortunately, there is little else memorable about the restaurant. It is a little like the plant - pretty enough and potentially medicinal, but not at home in the Guide. Call me a peasant or a pissant, but if La Primula is indicative of those regions give me Tuscany or Milan any time.
And take away the star - Andre Michelin would be turning in his grave!
Ristorante La Primula: 2-8-10 Azabu Juban, Minato Ward, tel: (03) 5439-9470
Rating: Food: 6; Wine: 5; Service: 7; Ambiance: 7; Price: 6 ($$$). Total 31/50