Food without memory is just digestion

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Chez Tomo - A Pilgrimage

Continuing a tradition of plagiarism that began with The Mysterious Affair at Provinage, we turn to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales:

When June with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of May has pierced unto the root
And bathed each glass with liquor that has power
To generate therein, so sweet words flower;

... And many little bloggers make prosody
That dine through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to praise and rage)
-Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,

... And specially from every divers end
of Japan they to restaurants wend,
The blessed tasty victuals there to seek
Which sustained them when they sat so lorn and weak

Befell that, in that season, on a day
In Mita, near Roppongi, as I lay
Ready to start upon my pilgrimage
To Shirogane, full of devout homage,

Fortunate indeed I was, Gentle Reader, to join with fellow Eaters-Out-in-Tokyo Dominic and Jon on a visit to Chez Tomo, the Michelin 1-star in Shirokane that has attracted plenty of attention. Both of my fellow correspondents, neither of them Humble, have already posted (here and here) about our experience at the hands of Chef Tomoji Ichikawa. I shan't bore you with mundane details, the telling of which they are far more suited to than your Humble Correspondent.

What both comforts and confuses me is, on the other hand, how our palates get jaded here in the Michelin-City of Tokyo. My two companions on this pilgrimage damned Chez Tomo with faint (feint?) praise - splendid venue, superb service, great attention to detail ... what ho! But just a tad disappointed with the fare were my erudite friends. Pshaw! I say to them. The food is creative and highly focused around the highest quality ingredients. Imagination and presentation are at least the grade of many an establishment garnished with 2 stars. And the fact that the main dish was not to our taste may reflect, I fear, more on the diners than the kitchen.

What your Humble Correspondent begs to submit, milords and gentle ladies, is that our collective expectations around haute cuisine in Tokyo perhaps exceeds the reality that surrounds us. Perhaps, indeed, we are all a tad spoiled. For me, Chez Tomo is an elegant and enjoyable addition to both this fair city and the Guide. Remember, one star means "worth a visit if in the area" - not "expect the stars". Visit Chez Tomo when you visit Shirogane, and when you seek to impress rather than entertain. And your Humble Correspondent? He'll blog on ...

But none the less, whilst I have time and space,
Before yet farther in this life I pace,
It seems to me accordant with good manners true
To inform you of the state of every culinary venue!!!

Chez Tomo: 5-15-5 Shirokane, Minato Ward. t: 03-5789-7731
Rating: Food: 8/10; Wine: 7/10; Service: 8/10; Ambience: 7/10; Value: ($) 8/10. Total: 38/50

1 comment:

Dom said...

i refuse to settle