Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Although I'm a staunch omnivore, there are many times my body craves vegetables, and only vegetables. In New York, I used to like to cleanse my system every now and then with a raw food meal from LifeThyme in the West Village (I loved their raw "lasagna" and spirulina pie), and in SF there was always a plethora of vegetable/vegetarian options, from the ready-made items at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, to vegetarian restaurants such as Cafe Gratitude and Greens. As it turns out, it's not that easy to find delicious, filling vegetarian meals in Tokyo.

So I was thrilled (THRILLED, I tell you) to discover Vegematto, a tiny 14-person bar/restaurant at the end of a long side street in Roppongi. Vegematto is really a bar that happens to serve some of the best vegetarian food in Tokyo. The food isn't gimmicky or creative, it's just fresh and simply well-cooked.

A la carte is available, but we went with one of the two chef's courses - at 3500 yen per person, I thought it was a deal (although you might not think so if your definition of a meal requires the inclusion of meat).

Ingredients for dinner!

The chefs prepare the entire dinner at this tiny bar

Marinated veggies (third course, after soup and salad) - fried gobo sticks, marinated onion and yellow bell peppers, broccoli rabe, soy-marinated gobo, tomato cream sauce broccoli

Grilled vegetables - perfectly and simply seasoned with salt, grilled to perfection. Sweet potatoes, turnips, white asparagus, broccoli, broccoli rabe and lotus root

Bread and bagna cruda dipping sauce (made of ground anchovy paste, garlic and olive oil) - if you don't eat fish, cheese fondue is also available (but no vegan option)

Steamed vegetables for bagna cruda

Miso soup

Gohan course - steamed rice served with raw egg, which you mix into the hot rice with soy sauce, served with assorted Japanese pickles and miso soup

Food rating: ****
Bang for buck rating: 4

The essentials:
Location: at the end of a side street near Roppongi Crossing
Roppongi 3-9-3, Dai-2 Roppongi Village Bldg 1F
Average price of dinner for two: 7500 yen (~$85)

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