One often imagines, Gentle Reader, that once a chef has started down the slippery slope of trying to reflect food fashions he or she is destined for perdition. Such was my fear for Citabria, located just off Koto-dori in Nishi-Azabu.
The Once and Future Blonde was celebrating another un-birthday, and we determined that French was both suitable and desirable. Off we toddled then to L'Effervesence which name-plate had surreptiously assumed the mantle at the former Citibria. Your Humble Correspondent has been secretly been champing at the bit to get to this establishment since seeing a number of sensational reviews, and this was as good a chance as was going to present itself in the near-term.
Citabria was never on YHC's Love List ... it was more fused than fusion, and seemed to miss the target whenever it took aim. So?
Oh my goodness! What joy redemption brings! A fallen brother has stepped back from the dark side and chosen to return to the path of virtue and light! Luke 15-7!
Chef Shinobu Namae has created a wonderful temple to gastronomy, playful yet professional in absolutely every aspect. Namae-san comes to us via Michel Bras, darling Heston at The Fat Duck, and then Citabria (perhaps a backward step ...). All of that experience is on show at L'Effervesence, and more.
The evening repast is titled "Un souhait et la lumire", a prayer and the light. It seems to YHC that this playfulness reflects the history of the change - Namae-san praying for salvation from Californian fusion, and then bathing in the warm and welcoming light of contemporary French.
Put aside the distraction of a menu, the tedium of choosing a la carte. Namae-san takes care of even the most minute details - obviously having taken care to ask about one's preferences and/or allergies.
Navigate to this link for the current menu. As seasons and offerings in the markets changes, so does the creativity in the kitchen.
Were one to prattle on a little about one dish, it would be the Apple Pie ... on the evening we were so royally treated, it was a foie gras delicacy which arrived at the table in a red cardboard envelope reminiscent of the saccarine item proferred at the Golden Arches. Namae-san explains that this was one of the first foods (really?) that ever impressed him in terms of presentation. It serves to demonstrate the attitude Namae-san brings to this venue - playful yet professional in every aspect.
The service at L'Effervesence is exemplary, and it boasts one of the better wine lists (click the Wine List Icon) in Tokyo. All of this for what seems a very reasonable price at Y15,750 per person.
So do find your way to L'Effervesence, and help welcome back our prodigal son. And drop a Ten-K in the collection plate a stout man will be proferring at the door ... that's the only way one finds the spare change to dine, y'know!
L'Effervesence: 2-26-4 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku Tokyo, 106-0031 t: 03-5766-9501
Rating: Food: 9/10; Wine: 8/10; Service: 8/10; Ambiance: 9/10; Price-Performance: 9/10. Total: 43/50 (4 Forks)