Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tapas Molecular Bar - A perfect meal

On my 30th birthday, I experienced the most amazing meal I've ever had to date.

I use the word "experienced" rather than "ate" because a meal at Tapas Molecular Bar is not just about eating meticulously prepared creative dishes. It's a show. A sensory experience that surprises and delights all of your senses, not just your taste buds. It's Cirque du Soleil meets culinary perfection. Every dish invokes oohs and aahs and mmms, and occasionally a gasp of surprise. One dish caused all the guests to erupt in laughter. During two entertaining hours, the two chefs prepare and serve a parade of twenty courses, explaining each dish (because often it's not what it looks like, or contains elements you wouldn't expect) in English and Japanese.

Located on the 38th floor of the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, Tapas Molecular Bar has just 7 seats with two seatings per night (for the mathematically challenged, that means only 14 people get to experience this gastronomic magic show each night), one at 6 pm and one at 8:30 pm. And dinner starts promptly at the appointed time so it is imperative that you aren't late because part of the experience is watching the chefs prepare the dishes and having them explain each dish to you. It's best to arrive a bit early and relax with an aperitif in the bar/lounge area, which boasts gorgeous views of the Nihonbashi area. At only 14,000 yen (~$150) per person for 20 courses, I absolutely think that dinner at Tapas Molecular Bar is the BEST bang for your buck for a high-end meal you will ever find, anywhere.

Dinner at Tapas Molecular Bar on my 30th birthday with my favorite guy? An unforgettable perfect meal.

Autumn menu

Our chefs and hosts

Aperitif - muscat gelee and muscat grape

Matsutake gohan (mushroom and rice) with jamon iberico - on the left is a cracker that tastes just like matsutake mushroom and a bowl of rice, on the right is a brittle made with jamon iberico

Apple crisp cigar wrapped around Manchego cheese sorbet

Kobujime sea bream with ball of sour plum (umeboshi) tea

The chef using chemistry to create "carrot caviar"

Carrot caviar, served with passionfruit jus

Baked scallop with curried pumpkin sorbet, lime foam, asparagus, pepper cream sauce and pistachio dust

Slow-cooked sanma (Pacific saury) with tonka leaf, gingko nut and parsnip puree (one of my favorite "main" dishes)

"Smoke" - venison tartar with mustard (in egg yolk-like sac) and Asian pear. When the glass was lifted, smoke started lifting from the plate and you could smell the delicious scent of smoked meat

Cepe mushroom soup with stewed chestnut

Wagyu beef seasoned with charcoal oil, slow-cooked in a vacuumed bag at low temperature for 10 hours

Salmon - baked salmon served on top of salmon tartar with pumpkin seeds and lentil salad. The only dish out of the 20 that fell a little flat...there's only so much you can do with salmon to make it creative/special. The dish was good, but it just tasted like salmon, with no special effects or creative subtle flavors

"Xialongbao" - a roast baby lamp chop with juices in the middle that squirt out when you bite or cut into it

Miso soup - a egg yolk like sac which actually has the texture of a slightly poached egg yolk but tastes exactly like miso soup, served with scallion oil, powdered nori and soybean milk caviar

"Peaches and Cream" - a lightly cooked berry peach with yogurt sauce

Yaki imo - a baked sweet potato, hand shaped into a meringue and dipped into liquid nitrogen immediately before it's served to you.

This is what happens after you put the liquid nitrogen-dipped sweet potato meringue into your mouth. The chefs served the men first and the women got a good laugh out of watching steam stream out of their dates' mouths and noses. The meringue itself almost disappears once you put into your mouth - one second it's there, the next second, it's just gone.

I thought I couldn't possibly eat anymore, but when they served this dessert tray, I magically found more room. The desserts included a donut hole filled with foie gras (sounds strange but was an absolutely delicious balance of sweet and savory), Kinako, Cappuccino, Raspberry Soda, Yuzu jelly and chocolate pumice (a slab of chocolate that looks and feels like a pumice - the stone you slough your feet with - and melts in your mouth)

Kinako - a spongy confection covered with soybean cake-like crumbs

"Raspberry soda" - a creamy sweet candy disc that, when you place on your tongue, starts to fizz with carbonation and tastes like...raspberry soda

"Cappuccino" - cotton candy that tastes just like a cappuccino

The seed of the "miracle fruit" - a tiny red fruit that makes sour fruit taste sweet. You eat the miracle fruit and suck on the seed for a minute (the chefs actually use an hourglass timer), cleanse your palate with water and afterward even the most sour lemon tastes like the sweetest fruit you've ever had

After eating the "miracle fruit," lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit tasted like the sweetest fruit I'd ever had in my life. I seriously wished for a bucket of lemons.

Food rating: ***** (ok so a couple dishes fell short - but most were amazing, and there were 20 courses!)
Bang for buck rating: 5 (an amazing dining experience, totally worth it!)

The essentials:
Location: 38th floor of Mandarin Oriental hotel in Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Average price of meal for two: 30,000 yen (~$330)


The term "California cuisine" generally goes hand in hand with Alice Waters, the slow food movement and organic, local ingredients. That's one type of California cuisine, of which I am a big fan.

But San Francisco's greatest gastronomic contribution isn't frou frou cuisine such as macrobiotic greens salad with toasted walnuts and strawberries in aged balsamic vinaigrette. No, its greatest contribution to the culinary world is the burrito. Look up "burrito" on Wikipedia and there is an entire section dedicated to San Francisco burritos. Why? Because San Francisco is home of the best freaking burritos in the world.

Ask 10 San Franciscans where to find the best burrito and you'll get 10 different answers, but I can guarantee that every one of those places will serve up an amazing warm steamed or grilled tortilla stuffed to bursting with juicy, tender meat, perfectly cooked beans, rice and garnishes ranging from salsa fresca to crema to guacamole to melted cheese. My personal favorite is Gordo's (the best is actually the one located in Albany, a small city next to Berkeley, rather than their SF locations), but if you want to fully experience what I mean by the best burrito ever, you MUST order it exactly this way (which I can't take credit for - this is my little brother's regular burrito order and after years of always stealing a bite of his and regretting that I got a "healthier" version with no cheese, sour cream or guac, I now order it exactly the way he does, because if you are going to eat a burrito, eat a burrito): super burrito (which comes with melted cheese steamed onto the tortilla) with rice, pinto beans, pollo (NOT pollo asado but the stewed pollo bursting with its own juices), sour cream, guacamole, extra tomatoes and onions and extra hot sauce.

I'm also a big fan of El Farolito in the Mission - their greasy al pastor burritos bursting with juicy red-colored meat (from the spices) is one of the best counteracting agents to a hangover, tied only with a bowl of hot steaming pho or greasy pad thai noodles at the original Osha Thai on Geary Street.

Taste is subjective, and when you've had the best, you tend to be a harsh critic towards the amateurs. So I feel really bad that I have to give my first truly negative review of a food establishment in Tokyo, and that it has to be of a burrito joint that I so badly wanted to like.

I was ecstatic when I first passed by Frijoles last week, which proudly sells a ripped off version of Chipotle burritos and tacos in Azabujuban. Burritos in Tokyo?? Just what the doctor ordered, because a girl can only eat so much clean-tasting Japanese food before craving a big juicy burrito bursting with all the flavorful greasiness and goodness that a truly great burrito possesses. So when I finally headed over this evening to try it out, I was brimming with anticipation.

The first sign that something was off was when I grabbed my foil-wrapped burrito to add guacamole to it. It was cold. A burrito shouldn't be cold because the tortilla should be steamed till hot enough to melt cheese (which should be melted on, not sprinkled on cold at the end), the meat should be kept warm and juicy, the beans and rice should also be kept warm and the only cold thing going in the burrito should be a dollop of sour cream, salsa and guacamole. When done right, the heat of the cheese, meat, rice and beans melds together with the sour cream, salsa and guacamole into a symphony of gastronomic perfection, just barely held together inside a thin steamed or grilled tortilla ready to burst at the seams but expertly rolled so as not to.

My mouth wanted to eject the first bite of the burrito. Oh no no no, this was all wrong. The word "yuck" popped into my head. A burrito is a only as great as the sum of its parts, so I have to break down all the parts (pretty much every single part was wrong, which can only result in the aggregate of a wrong burrito):

1. The tortilla is too thick, not pliable and was COLD. Also, it doesn't taste the way a tortilla should. Tastes more like the flour concoction that people use to make wraps (which are not burritos).
2. The burrito was not wrapped correctly so it fell apart if you didn't hold it carefully upright.
3. The meat was cold, not juicy and not very flavorful.
4. The rice was not flavored with enough cilantro or salt and was also cold.
5. The pinto beans didn't have the correct velvety soft texture or that authentic Mexican flavor that I can't really describe but am pretty sure has to do with the addition of lard, which I'm pretty sure Frijoles' frijoles don't include.
6. The cheese was not melted on but rather sprinkled (very sparsely) at the end.
7. Because of 1-6 above, the ingredients of the burrito did not meld into a symphony of gastronomic perfection but into a rather cacaphonous...wrap.

In an interview with Timeout Tokyo, one of the owners states "We have the tortillas for the burritos, tacos and chips made exclusively for us every day by a noodle-maker in Saitama." UMMM, there you have problem #1. What the hell does a Japanese NOODLE maker know about TORTILLAS??

I'm sure there are worse burritos in the world, but frankly, this was the worst burrito I've had in MY life (although to be fair, I've generally only had good burritos since I lived in the burrito mecca of the world). Frijoles, please fix...everything about your burrito, because I really truly want to like you. Tokyo needs a good burrito shop, and I think the potential is there at Frijoles...if only they change everything about their burritos. Well, the salsas weren't bad.

I was so excited when I saw this sign!

The setup is an unabashed knockoff of Chipotle

Looks promising...

Verdict: um, NO, this is not how a burrito should taste

Food rating: *
Bang for buck rating: 2

The essentials:
Location: 2 minute walk from Wendy's in Azabujuban, Tokyo
Average price of meal for two: 3000 yen (~$33)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obika Mozzarella Bar

The bf came to visit for my 30th birthday and we spent four delicious days eating, eating and eating some more excellent Japanese food (which I will blog about in the days to come): izakaya, tofu kaiseki, Japanese molecular gastronomy, elaborate traditional kaiseki, bentos, soba, sushi. And after all that Japanese food, I was SO DONE with Japanese cuisine. After awhile, Japanese food all tastes the same: variations of soy sauce, sugar and dashi broth. Pretty much all Japanese food is cooked, flavored, marinated, stewed, fried, reduced, basted or garnished with some variation of soy sauce, sugar and dashi broth. The thought of eating one more meal flavored with sweet-soy-dashi actually made me feel nauseated.

So despite the original plan to eat as much Japanese food (and only Japanese food) as possible during the bf's visit, I declared that I needed a reprieve. I was daydreaming of cheese. Fresh cheese, melted cheese, but loads and loads of cheese. And vegetables. Fresh or roasted. And so help me God, if any of it contained even a hint of sweet-soy-dashi, I was going to pack my bags and leave Tokyo for good.

I recalled a mozzarella bar I used to live by, another of the many places in Tokyo I've been meaning to try but never got around to. We headed to Obika fairly early for dinner, around 6:30 pm on a Monday night and the place was almost completely empty except for a couple sitting in a dark corner (the guy was short, had a bad hair piece and was at least 60 years old, the girl was at least 6 inches taller than him, all leg in a teeny tiny minidress, with long bleached blond hair and could not have been older than 25 but it was clear they were together - these odd couples used to perplex me when I first moved here but it's so not abnormal here (I wouldn't go so far as to say it's normal, but it's not abnormal) that I didn't even notice until the bf noted the age difference; however this is a blog about food so I won't go into this any further) and a middle-aged guy sitting by himself. However, I insisted we stay and try the place when I saw the happy hour sign: 1200 yen (~$13) for unlimited antipasti bar and a drink of your choice. OMG, for Tokyo, during dinner time, they might as well give the food away for free, that's how cheap it is.

The antipasti bar consisted of a chopped salad with various cured Italian meats and mozzarella cubes, another salad with capers, roasted bell peppers and avocado, fried bread, roasted charred butternut squash, roasted vegetables in olive oil, fried potato wedges smothered in tomato sauce and parmesan, cauliflower and broccoli stewed in tomato sauce. The happy hour drink menu includes your choice of house red or white wine, beer or a generous variety of cocktails, although the drink itself is only about a half-serving. In any case, it's still an excellent deal and after all that Japanese food, it was exactly what my body needed. And not a single bite had any hint of sweet-soy-dashi. Obika is a great choice for a true Italian antipasti fix: various types of mozzarella imported from Italy, cured meats, hot antipasti plates to share, a limited choice of entrees and desserts.

Delicious smoky risotto oozing with melted mozzarella, covered with roasted eggplant and served with pesto (not part of happy hour menu)

Plate piled high with true Italian salads and antipasti (no soy, dashi or sugar, thank God)

Martini and glass of rosso

Some of the happy hour antipasti offerings

Food rating: *** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 4 (if you do the happy hour!)

The essentials:
Location: Keyakizaka Street, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
Average price of meal for two (during happy hours): 4000 yen (~$45)

Motoyama Milk Bar

One thing I absolutely adore about Tokyo is that it's a city where a Milk Bar can exist. Imagine a store that sells overpriced milk products trying to survive in a city like SF, where even truly great restaurants rarely survive. It would never happen. (However, Momofuku Milk Bar in NY seems to be doing ok, although clearly they can't get by just selling milk products and sell a wide array of baked goods as well) But Tokyo? It just seems so natural that it would be host to a Milk Bar. Being the lover of all things milk, yogurt, cream and cheese that I am, a Milk Bar sounds like some kind of fairytale locale (such as a house made of gingerbread) that can't really exist in real life. But Motoyama Milk Bar is for real and it really sells (mostly) milk products: a special milk pudding that I can only describe as the creamiest yet light as air flan you can imagine, milk ice cream, milk parfaits, milkshakes, milk cocktails and hot or cold milk in flavors ranging from green tea to caramel to maple.

I've passed by Motoyama Milk Bar at least 100 times and always think "ooh I want to try that" and somehow only got around to it today after a delicious meal at Pinkotona, a conveyer belt sushi joint in the basement of Roppongi Hills (where I completely forgot to take pictures of the delicious chu toro, uni, aburi salmon, botan ebi, anago and other delicacies we scarfed down for lunch).

As much as I like the idea of a Milk Bar, I have to say that I can't wholeheartedly recommend Motoyama Milk Bar because it didn't blow me away. And it's really really expensive...for milk. 680 yen (~$7) for a cup of warm flavored milk?? I can get an entire bento lunch for cheaper than that. We shared their special Motoyama Milk Waffle, a light, crispy waffle (the lightest waffle I have ever had in my life) covered with milk ice cream, a small portion of Motoyama's special milk pudding, whipped cream, fresh fruit and raspberry coulis. It was good - a surprisingly very light dessert despite how indulgent it sounds and looks. But again..1200 yen (~$14) for a waffle??

Food rating: ***
Bang for buck rating: 2

The essentials:
Location: ground floor of Roppongi Hills, on Roppongi-dori
Average price of dessert for two: 2300 yen (~$25)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

OGO Ona-Loa

When anyone mentions "Hawaiian food" the first things that come to my mind are: loco moco, spam musubi, kalua pig and poke. It's not the most refined food but it's quite delicious when done right and in Tokyo, the real deal can be found in the unlikeliest of locations, on the 5th floor of a small building one block from Akasaka Sacas. Walk through the cloth curtain and're in Hawaii. It's a tiny space with just 4 or 5 tables, but the decor, the laid back vibe, the big blown up Spam and the occasional surfer dude or jolly looking Polynesian make you feel like you are in Oahu rather than in the middle of a major business district of Tokyo.

I don't know how they make their Kalua pork taste so authentic - slightly smoky, pulled chewy-tender pieces of pork seasoned with sea salt, it's really delicious. But the real star is their tuna poke - fresh pieces of bright red tuna cubes marinated with a slightly mayonnaise-y soy concoction, mixed with nori and tiny fish roe. For lunch they offer only loco moco, kalua pork, tuna poke and a rotating daily special with rice, but I'm told the dinner menu is much more extensive.

Combination lunch platter with kalua pork and tuna poke - the poke is some of the best I've ever had!

Food rating: ****
Bang for buck rating: 5 (for their lunch deals!)

The essentials:
Location: Akasaka Sacas, Tokyo
Average price of meal for two (lunch): 2000 yen (~$22)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Kangnam Myunok

Naeng myun literally means "cold noodles" and refers to Korean-style thin, chewy noodles, usually made of buckwheat. There are two main ways to eat naeng myun: bibim naeng myun (literally, "mixed cold noodles") or mul naeng myun ("water cold noodles"). Bibim naeng myun consists of noodles topped with a spicy-sweet cho-gochujang (spicy red pepper paste) mixture, marinated beef, half a boiled egg, and spicy-sweet pickled mu (Korean radish). Mul naeng myun is noodles served in a cold beef broth, usually topped with mu, half a boiled egg, slices of beef and slices of Korean pear. Both mul naeng myun and bibim naeng myun are the perfect remedy for a hot, muggy summer day and if you eat a truly great bowl of naeng myun, you will think it is one of the best things you've ever had in your life. IMHO, it's hard to find good naeng myun outside of Korea unless you have a kickass chef of a mother or grandmother.

My favorite place for bibim naengmyun in Seoul is Hamheung Myunok in Myungdong and my favorite place for mul naengmyun is Kangnam Myunok in Insa-dong. The broth is refreshing, crisp, ever so slightly sweet. So delicious that just thinking about it makes me think I need to plan a trip out to Seoul soon so I can have some. My advice: do not go here for the dumplings (and as tempting as they look because they are very big and succulent looking, do not order them because they are not very good) and do not go here for the bibim naengmyun (which is decent, but to try the best, you have to go to Hamheung Myunok). Just order the mul naengmyun. And you might want to order sari (double serving of noodles).

Mul naengmyun - refreshing, delicious perfection

Bibim naengmyun - decent version but really, get the mul naengmyun

Mandu (dumplings) - look delicious, but are a bit disappointing

Food rating: ***** (for the mul naengmyun), *** and a half (for everything else)
Bang for buck rating: 5

The essentials:
No website
Location: On Insa-dong gil in Seoul, Korea
Average price of meal for two: 15,000 won (~$12)


One of my absolute favorite things about living in NY was Sunday Brunch. I loved how in NY, it was like...a thing. I so looked forward to Brunch - from the cozy little nooks such as Tartine in the West Village to the hip places like Balthazar to the underrated places like Zoe (loved their bread basket) to the ridiculously long waits at Good Enough to Eat (but totally worth it for the thick-cut bacon!) to the institutions such as Sarabeth's...I can't recall ever having a bad brunch experience. Because brunch is more than just a meal to obtain sustenance. It's an event. It's what you plan your entire Sunday around: where, when and with whom to have brunch. And you don't just eat. You shoot the shit. While away the hours over mimosas and bloody marys and multiple cups of coffee. Sunday brunch is one of the things I miss most about NY.

But it turns out you can have a New York [style] Sunday Brunch in Tokyo! Down a small street halfway between Omotesando and Shibuya, Beacon offers up a New York-style Sunday brunch. The crowd is so international, the decor is so hip but understated East Coast and the food is so wonderfully authentically American that for a few hours, you can pretend you're back in Manhattan eating, nay doing, Sunday brunch.

BLT + A (Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich on toasted whole wheat with delicious french fries)

Huevos rancheros with green rice and hot link sausage - the brunch dishes are accompanied by your choice of croissant, muffin or toast, a tiny plate of fruit and coffee

Food rating: ****
Bang for buck rating: 3.5

The essentials:
Location: Between Omotesando and Shibuya stations
Average price of meal for two (brunch): 5500 yen (~$60)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hwedupbab - A perfect meal

A perfect meal doesn't have to be at a Michelin-starred or high Zagat-rated restaurant. In fact, it rarely is (for me), if only because a perfect meal generally cannot involve pretentiousness. The elements are simple: excellent fresh delicious food in good company with good conversation. One of the best meals I've had in all of 2009 was my grandmother's hwedupbab, Korea's version of chirashi. Hwedupbab is a bowl of hot rice topped with julienned lettuce, cabbage, perilla or shiso leaves (I prefer perilla, also known as ggetnib), cucumber, slivers of garlic, a couple slices of spicy pepper such as jalapeno and cubes of sashimi (any type of sashimi is fine, but my favorites for hwedupbab are hamachi, maguro (toro is too fatty and the subtle flavor gets lost in the spicy red pepper sauce) and salmon. Drizzle with a bit of toasted sesame oil and prepared cho-gochujang (Korean vinegared red pepper paste), mix together have one of the world's greatest culinary creations. I don't know about hwedupbab anywhere else because I generally only eat my grandma's, so...too bad for everyone else who doesn't have the chance to eat my grandmother's hwedupbab because it is truly one of the BEST FOODS EVER. I ate this meal in the company of my grandmother and my little bro on a warm summer day in California sitting in our kitchen/dining room, adding a little more of this and a little more of that as we ate and it was truly a perfect meal.

Sushi Sasabune

The best sushi I've had to date is surprisingly not in Tokyo, despite the fact that I eat sushi at least 3-4 times a week here. True, some of the best individual pieces of sushi I've had have been in Tokyo (best uni: Sushi Daiwa, best otoro: Sushi Daiwa, best chutoro: Sushi Zanmai), but the best sushi meals I've had in my life have been the two meals I had at Sushi Sasabune in Oahu (I have yet to try Sushi Kyubey in Tokyo though, at the top of my must-eat list!). The ambience is nil, the service is slightly snooty, if you sit at the counter you don't have much say over what you will eat (the chef decides, and is pretty nazi about it) AND the servers have the audacity to tell you how to eat your food (don't dip that one in soy sauce, eat that one quickly, etc.). BUT. Every perfect jewel-like piece of sushi the chef puts on the wooden sushi geta in front of you melts in your mouth like soft butter, with just the right amount of perfectly vinegared sushi rice. You eat a piece of nigiri and think: that was the best thing I've ever had in my life, only to think that about the next nigiri, and the next, and the next.

When your stomach feels like it's going to explode, try to fit in one more piece of their negitoro, which is their house specialty, then ask the chef or your server to stop the parade of courses. The below are just some of the courses in the omakase, I forgot to take pictures of some of the best courses because we put them in our mouths as soon as they were placed on our plates.

Tuna sashimi in ponzu sauce

Squid stuffed with crab

Baked oyster

Negitoro - finely minced toro, reshaped to form nigiri, served slightly cold

Baked baby lobster tail

Unagi, served over tamago instead of rice

Ikura and uni

Food rating: **** and a half
Bang for buck rating: 4.5

The essentials:
No website, but lots of info on yelp:
Location: King Street, Honolulu, Oahu
Average price of dinner for two: $250-300 and worth absolutely every penny

Friday, November 6, 2009

Night milk

Came across something called "night milk" at the grocery store and had to try it. I imagined it would taste different - perhaps enhanced with a little cinnamon and sugar (I used to make warm cinnamon sugar milk as a kid on cold winter nights on the East Coast).

Surprise! Night milk tastes just like day milk. The only difference is that it comes in an individual sized cup at the same price as a quart of regular milk. Smart marketing people, you definitely convinced me to buy it once. But never again.

Bodega Santa Rita

I've been known to wax poetic about Spain. I've called it my soulmate (if a country could be a soulmate). I've called it the most brilliant country in the world. And in the last two or three years have traveled to and throughout Spain four times. So if you don't know by now, I love Spain. And I love Spanish food. Jamon iberico, queso manchego, paella, arroz negro, fideua, gazpacho, tapas, rioja, cava...I love it all.

In my experience, "jamon iberico" served anywhere outside of Spain simply falls short. It's usually too salty or not silky enough. But Bodega Santa Rita's jamon iberico was a perfectly opaque-thin slice of velvety just-right cured saltiness. The tortilla Espanola was cooked perfectly. The gambas al ajillo came sizzling in a clay dish swimming in garlic and olive oil. And the lamb skewers came topped with a thin slice of delicious foie gras. Even though I was in a shopping/restaurant complex in the middle of central Tokyo, the authentic flavors, combined with a couple glasses of tinto (red wine), transported me to Espana.

Jamon Iberico

Tortilla Espanola - the most humble yet delicious (and ubiquitous of Spanish dishes) - a thick wedge of eggs, onions, potatoes, olive oil and salt

Gambas al ajillo

Broiled scallops on the half shell

Grilled pork skewers with roasted red peppers

Grilled lamb topped with foie gras

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

The essentials:
Location: first floor of Garden Terrace in Tokyo Midtown complex, Roppongi, Tokyo
Average price of meal for two: 11,000 yen (~$120)