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Posts Tagged ‘ restaurant ’
Everything has probably been said about noma. Best restaurant in the world according to the S.Pellegrino ranking, foraging back in vogue, danish tradition reinvention thanks to the use of contemporary cooking techniques… This restaurant that used to excite only a few people writing on cutting-edge culinary blogs or forums is now a socialite conversation topic, with its chef Rene Redzepi appearing in women’s magazine or mainstream TV news! That should have whet my appetite for going there. Nevertheless, I had been craving for a meal there for three years. So it all began one July 2010 morning, with a lot of F5-key smashing. Bingo! I managed to snatch a reservation. Waiting three more months proved hard, but not deadly.
The day of the meal arrived, at last. I had asked for the “nassaaq”, the most comprehensive menu that offers noma classics as well as new creations. We arrived at the doorstep at 11.59PM, only to leave four hours and a half later, enraptured after a meal that suffered from only one mishap.
Pierre Gagnaire was my first three-star experience. I went there with some apprehension: spending that much money for a meal was quite disturbing (still is…), even more so because this restaurant is not particularly known for being perfectly consistent. But in a way, I knew that Gagnaire’s cooking would mean something to me. And it was the case. I ended up being amazed, and still somehow thinks about some dishes that were on our table that night. This meal contributed a lot to my never-ending quest for gastronomic emotion. Yet, in hindsight, and with a bit more experience, I realize everything was far from perfect then.
Afraid of being disappointed when going back, and the number of fantastic of other excellent restaurants to try in Paris prevented me to go back.
Then, in the wake of 2010, life moved forward: new opportunities, new horizons. Just before, I went on a fantastic trip to Japan, which could very well be the most amazing of my life. But I would not have been able to leave Paris with circling the loop. Going back to Gagnaire was just the natural thing to do.
When thinking about Japanese gastronomy, one often thinks about seafood first. Yet, another product that has a fantastic reputation, but seldom found in Europe, is the subject of must discussion: wagyu beef, an name under which several beef species are regrouped. They are used in Japan because of their high propension to yield a very marbled meat, rich in intramuscular fat, a highly sought-after quality. If the most often quoted example is Kobe beef, other regions like Matsusaka or Kagoshima are also reknowned for their bovine output.
However, after nurturing the dream of tasting this legendary product, I resigned myself to do that another time, as I was still troubled at the idea of spending that much money for a “simple” steak. Then, during our stay at the Iwaso ryokan in Miyajima, we were served a sukiyaki with very marbled beef. Just after the first bite of this very profound-tasting beef, I realized my mistake: I did not know when I would come back in Japan, so I had to have a steak there before leaving.
As it was not possible to have a reservation for Kawamura, that I discovered through a fantastic post on Gastroville (which may very well be my favorite food-blog out there), I was wondering whether I should go to the illustrious Aragawa, or the less famous Dons de la Nature. After checking a few websites, I settled with the latter. What a great idea that was!
When making reservation for restaurants during our stay in Japan, I mainly focused on those which could offer products whose quality is no match for what we find in France. This meant mainly seafood, and lots of sushi.
Yet, one of the first reservations I booked was Aronia de Takazawa. It’s a micro-restaurant, with only two tables, seating a maximum a 8 persons every night. The menu is set, one can only chose the number of dishes served. What brought me there? Apparently this restaurant had developed a kind of “cult” in Japan, the pictures of the dishes on their website intrigued me… and reading some praise about it here and there helped a lot, too.