You may have noticed, Gentle Reader, a certain predilection on the part of your Humble Correspondent for French and Italian cuisine. Which is not in itself a bad thing, but which can sometimes lead to monotony. One is always on the search for new venues, with a high likelihood of disappointment.
So imagine my delight when introduced to a "new" establishment within a gentle stroll from the Hellhole - La Cometa [no website, but Tabelog entry here] is in Azabu Juban just below Toriizaka, on the second floor up a gentle set of stairs. "New" is rather an odd choice of words in this case, for La Cometa has been delighting customers for more than 25 years ... and despite the fact that your Humble Correspondent has been disturbing the good burghers of that fine village for the best part of 15 of those years, I had never taken the opportunity to try the fare.
So in the company of the gentle friends of the Tokyo Darkside, I made forth to repair this oversight with the Child Bride. Young Joseph had negotiated a seemly menu with Chef, which more than satisfied for a very reasonable price (Y6,000). He had also been shopping for some wine in the Italian section of Nissen (may their praises be sung for generations!), and had come up with a mouth-watering Gavi de Gavi white wine, and a choice of Chianti Classico or Montepulciano reds.
Make no mistake - the food here is good, wholesome, and thoughtful. While La Cometa is not likely to win a Michelin Star or Silver Spoon any time soon, such a goal is likely the furtherest thing from the proprietors' minds. Full marks to them for focusing on quality and imagination, rather than being all skirt and no knickers like some other "hussies" doing the rounds in Tokyo.
While we welcomed a number of new Darkside participants, this venue is small enough to feel comfortable and large enough to accomodate around 20 punters. I like the clean and uncomplicated atmosphere - far too many restaurants that have been running for some time tend to collect more bric-a-brac than the Antique Roadshow (it seems to me that many of these are Italian restaurants ... maybe it's something in the parmesano?).
Service here is happy and bustling, much like one would expect in a rural osteria, and La Cometa has a patina of friendliness that I for one enjoy above all else. Your Humble Correspondent fully expects to become a regular customer of this fine hostelerie, which fact may convince some to stay well clear!
Visit La Cometa with family and friends, and expect to share a variety of well-prepared Italian classics dusted with the occasional dash of magic. Look out for the portly and vaguely familar figure in the corner - he's sure to raise a glass ... and have it added to your account!
La Cometa [Map]: 2nd Floor, 1-7-2 Azabu Juban, Minato Ward. t: 03-3470-5105
Rating: Food: 7/10; Friendliness: 7/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Value ($$): 7/10. Total: 35/50