One seems to be making a habit, Gentle Reader, of navigational odysseys into suburban Tokyo with geographically challenged Texans. Your Humble Correspondent believes, of course, that any time spent with a frontiersman will be amply rewarded - most especially when the frontiers thus confronted are intellectual rather than topographical. And this was certainly the case when we recently visited Tanger [Map] in Takanawa at Jim's suggestion.
Tanger describes itself as a Mediterranean restaurant with a French base and Moroccan influences. It is certainly that, in a remarkably eclectic way, yet manages to present well-fashioned food at reasonable prices with considerable flair and eclat. One notes the review by the lithesome Dominic [here] - a little harsh methinks, and perhaps written with a dash more more bile than guile.
Your Humble Correspondent was still deep into a Lenten observance when we visited, but the menu is robust and pleasingly simple with a single page of selections enhanced by a daily specials chalkboard. Tanger lacks pretentiousness, which fact is reflected in its friendly and knowledgable floor team and the pleasant ambient noise level. The sound of fellow-customers enjoying themselves should be taken as a positive, Gentle Reader, and Tanger succeeds well in having patrons relax and engage without imposing themselves on others.
We worked our way through Grilled Vegetables with anchovy dressing - light and delicious even for this anti-anchovy activist - and very toothsome Italian salad with Strawberries and Parmesan, before moving on to Salmon Quiche and a Lamb Tangine. My Texan companion fulsomely praised this last offering, suggesting that the spices were subtle and tasty without dominating. Chef seems to be comfortable in his metier here at Tanger, and the deft finish he applies to the food provides an interesting counterpoint to more classic French establishments that seems to dominate your Humble Correspondent's appointment book.
A word on the wine list - good, without the facile decorative effect of high-cost / high-maintenance tired wines that put more emphasis on chateau rather than terroir. Pricing is surprisingly good, and we were able to enjoy a Premiere Cru Meursault (?) for Y6,000 and some excellent Alsace Riesling by the glass for Y800. For those looking for a decadent dalliance, pair this wine with the Tree of Life date and chocolate cake or the nougat glace confectionaries.
Taxi drivers and Texans seem to find Tanger difficult to locate, but a quick glance at the map should be enough for more resourceful types. Aim for the Peacock supermarket at the foot of Gyoranzaka, and tootle off down the laneway at the rear to arrive at Tanger on your left. Do have a quick look around for caftan-ed roues, and if you see through my disguise - perhaps you'd be good enough to send over a glass of that lovely Riesling!
Tanger [Map]: 1-5-8 Takanawa, Shinagawa Ward. t: 03-3449-4166
Rating: Food: 7/10; Wine: 7/10 (cheap!!); Service: 8/10; Morocco-isity: 6/10; Price-Performance: 7/10. Total: 35/50.
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