Friday, November 7, 2008

Enough is enough!


Why on earth do perfectly good eateries try to turn themselves into "brasseries" or "trattoria"? There is considerable merit in running a place with plenty of regular customers without trying to reach for a Michelin star. There are over 100,000 places that say they're in the food business in Tokyo - some will be better than others, some will be worse.

I enjoy going to Petit Tonneau in Azabu Juban - it's a sort of little tabac place that makes reasonable food. Even tasty sometimes. But when they start to rattle on as if it is a fine dining establishment, I begin to feel queasy.

The regional dishes are fun, and interesting. So far, so good. But that's where it stops, guys! My recent pissaladiere of caramelized onions, lardons, and anchovies (I think) was almost false advertising - the pastry was undercooked, the onions were not caramelised, the lardons were lean bacon cubes, and the anchovies were conspicuously absent. The Chablis (not Premier Cru or Grand, but just chablis) was over-priced at Y8000.

I'll say it again - I enjoy going there and having my steak frites etc. But it ain't ever going to compete with Joel Rabuchon.

I'd love to know when the last time Chef Phillipe Batton visited this establishment and checked on what the mostly non-French, non-Japanese staff were doing to his reputation. Actually, I think he was there in his business suit on my last visit. At least, someone who looked like him responded to me in French when I thanked the staff in that language.

p.s. Click here for the etymology of the word "restaurant" - short summary is that it comes from a vegetable soup which was restorative (fresh veges, go figure!). Dear old M. Boulanger established his soup kitchen in Paris in 1765 - until that time, most french food was pretty stodgy and dodgy. Lots of preserved stuff, salt etc, mostly meat. Thanks goodness for that Medici girl!

1 comment:

Jon said...

Double plus agree! I didn't have the heart to post a specific complaint entry about this place, but I'm glad you did. I found it lovely to sit at one of the window tables in summer, but that's the only way I'd go back.