People more intelligent than I, Gentle Reader, tell me that "va-tout" means to risk everything in French. A colloquial translation - rather rough I admit - might be "go for broke". Apropos of nothing really, save that your Humble Correspondent recently had the pleasure of a risk-free assignation with the Child Bride at Brasserie Va Tout [Map] which decorates rather festively the front of the Axis Building in Roppongi.
I had also touted this venue - much like a guilty secret, perhaps - to El Presidente, vouchsafing that it was not a "fancy" place and that, yes Virginia, lots of Americans ate there too. Lord Jim had introduced me to said restaurant with the promise that it served the best fries in Tokyo, and being converted, your Humble Correspondent is currently on a Belushi-esque "mission from God" to share the secret with as many people as possible.
Va Tout is the sort of comfortable and friendly restaurant that hotels should offer, and never do. Little fuss, and quiet professionalism mean that the dining public can simply relax and enjoy the fulsome array of options that the menu provides. Some time examining the chalkboard for the daily speciality dishes will almost always be rewarded with the discovery of a little gem - the Child Bride's Croustillade de Langoustine being an excellent example on our last visit. The wine list is also worth a close perusal, and you will most often be presented with a small sample before making your final decision. This too is a habit many other establishments should emulate.
But for your Humble Correspondent, the beauty of Va Tout is that it offers simple yet delicious French "comfort food", often a life line for a palate jaded by so much exploration and experimentation on behalf of the multitude of Gentle Readers looking to enjoy the delights of the world's greatest food city. The fries are indeed the best in Tokyo, and my habitual omelet never fails to delight. Or a Croque Monsieur, expertly turned out yet not requiring a second mortgage like some others (think Grand and Roppongi in the same breath) on offer in the neighbourhood. Simple yet delicious meat dishes, and seasonal vegetables and salads round out the palette of flavours.
Va Tout is also pleasantly inexpensive - certainly well under Y20K for two with wine - and excellent value-for-money, a fact that in itself recommends it to your Penurious Correspondent. Perhaps a little too much bric-a-brac, but not so much that one feels like one's in a tourist center.
So I recommend toddling along with friends and familial visitors rather than one's superiors. Light on the palate, light on the fussiness, and light on the purse. And should you happen to see someone resembling the Michelin Man wolfing down an omelet, do pop over for a little chin wag, won't you?
Va Tout [Map] : AXIS Building, 5-17-1 Roppongi, Minato Ward. t: 03-3568-2080
Rating: Food: 7/10; Wine: 6/10; Service: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Value ($$): 7/10. Total: 34/50
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