December 16, 2009

Tokyo Highlight: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Spoiled brat that I am, I actually got to dine at not one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants during my trip to Japan earlier this month. The first, of course, was the zen-vegetarian Daigo, and the second was L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills, a two-starred casual cousin of the three-starred Joel Robuchon in Ebisu.

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The atmosphere is definitely chic, but lively and friendly. Most guests are seated at the long counter in front of the open kitchen, and in fact, all seats are counter-level, including those at the table my parents and I were lucky enough to score. Red is definitely the decor’s theme!

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The bread basket was glorious enough to be a meal on its own. These little croissant rolls were my favorite.

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The amuse bouche was the one course I could have lived without, which is fitting, since I didn’t choose it. I had a taste and pawned the second piece off on Dad. I’m actually not exactly sure what it was made of, but it involved pork atop crostini. Frankly, Joel, you lost me at “pork.”

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Indeed, I really was not up for eating meat on this particular night, so I chose the pescatarian route, and a good choice it was. My appetizer salad was really memorable: king crab, avocado, fresh mozzarella and tomato.

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The crab had the most incredible seasoning! I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but I think it may have contained curry.  There were also a few parmesan shavings here and there.

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My main course was a filet of John Dory (“Just keep swimming!”) in a citron sauce/foam. There were also a few bits of green onion, snap peas, sundried tomatoes and shark teeth artichokes.

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It was very good, but to be honest, my entree was entirely eclipsed by the appetizer and this dessert. Holy chocolate, hubba, hubba!

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The donut-shaped chocolate disc was actually set atop what’s in the bottom of the bowl, with the ball peeking through, but I dug in before I remembered to take a picture deconstructed it slightly so you could catch a glimpse of all the components of this death by chocolate: chocolate mouse, chocolate crispies and chocolate ice cream rolled in oreo crumbs, all crowned by the chocolate donut-disc.

I definitely needed some good, warm tea to wash all this down by the time I’d finished, but of course that involves yet more dessert.

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Our tea and coffee were served with chocolate meringues and what I believe was chocolate-covered lemon peel. Torture that it was, I managed to sample both. ;)

Once we were sure there was indeed no more food coming, we rolled down the Roppongi Hills into our beds and dreamed sweet chocolate dreams beneath the twinkling Michelin stars…

11 comments:

ktbwood said...

what a great night! that dessert looks heavenly.. gah i LOVE anything chocolate at restaurants!

Gena said...

HOLY. CHOCOLATE.

I am so, so, so jealous! I've actually never really had a five star dining experience abroad -- something to look forward to, right?

Erica said...

SO cool! The whole meal looks like art, especially the dessert. Keep the awesome pics from your vaca coming :)

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

Looks like great food and a lot of fun! Good for you!

Elina said...

This dinner looks absolutely fantastic!!! I love love love fine dining.
I hope to go to Tokyo on vacation in 2011. Yes, my husband and I plan vacations that far in advance ;)

biz319 said...

All I can say is WOW on that lobster dish!!

Gina said...

Everything looks fantastic. I've never even seen a croissant roll! And the dessert is staring me in the face, asking me to start drooooling. YUum.

*Naomi* said...

Great nigth! that dessertis out of this world deliciousness!!

beautiful presentation on the food!!

emily said...

Everything looks amazing but that dessert is over the top, it looks like a holiday wreath!!

Shannon said...

wowsa, what an incredible experience!! looks amazing, even at breakfast ;)

Marina said...

That restaurant looks fantastic! I love all the chocolate, and the presentation is beautiful.