Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We Dine!

"I'd like a pepperoni pizza with no sauce," I asked. "We don't make the pizza. We just heat it up," the man behind the counter replies.  I'm in Japan at an American run military hotel. The prices are right, the location is ideal, but the prefab processed food makes my eye twitch. The kids want the pizza anyway. I order a burger and fries. Afterward, we all feel ill and drink a lot of water. When given a choice, I buy organic with the rationale that I'm encouraging better husbandry of the land. With our food order at the hotel I wondered what we were supporting in an effort to have our cheap slice of Americana. 




Saved by a Reservation

The next evening we had reservations at Bistrot Nobu. The Mule pronounced it, "my favorite restaurant ever!" They had rice and tofu just for her. My husband and I ordered too much of everything and then ate it all plus drank a few too many glasses of wine. 


This time I was prepared for Nobu's cooking so it was Fu's serene service that caught my eye. At first, the "closed" sign up, we had the place to ourselves. Then they put out the menu board and lit the sign for the opening bell. Shortly after, three couples filled in around the bar giving Nobu kitchen fits to get all of the items out in a timely fashion. We didn't mind waiting and neither did the munsters who were half insane with tiredness and with the thrill of being out in the evening. Fu and Nobu had thoughtfully given them each colored pencils (pull the string and reveal the nub), a drawing pad, and stickers. Fu also kindly made the Moose a special order of pasta carbonara. 


The Meal

Champagne welcomed us and so with bubbles on our tongues, we ordered- homard en croûte and bouillabaisse. We started with the mousse de poivron rouge avec consommé en gelée. Then we munched on yuzukoshō saucisson and green salads with an awesome spanking of salty dressing followed by Fu's bread and then the stuff of my dreams, pâté de campagne. We switched to drinking wine by the glass as I went with whites and my husband went with reds. This is where a saner person would have stopped eating. However, we were on a mission to support our friends's new adventure, we were going to eat big and eat everything- as if I could have resisted. The dishes arrived, the lobster, the bouillabaisse- we weren't licking the bowls, but we were eyeing the lasts bites as if we were adolescent boys in a growth spurt.

There was some glimmer in my mind that I had now consumed an excessive amount of food that may have leaked into my "extra compartment." I ordered dessert anyway,
yuzu soufflé, otherwise what is the point of having a dessert stomach? I think I ate two desserts- I grumped that my husband ate all of his dessert, a parfait with ice cream, without giving me one bite- my husband never does this. Fu heard me and brought me my own. What is a dessert eater to do? I ate the whole thing.

Late Night Thrills

Seeing someone achieve their goal, in this case having their own restaurant, after having talked about it over the years is an amazing thing- the smiles that greet you touch a deep place inside. The food has plenty of salt and punch which is frankly so not Japanese it is kind of shocking. 


I forgot there is food like this. It is a small place but quiet, peaceful. On the trek home, my husband and I kept singing  "dreams really do come true" partly because we were so thrilled for our friends, partly because we haven't drank more than two beers in a row in three months, and party because if someone else's dream can come true then maybe other's too, perhaps even one's own.


It is a trek to their restaurant when you live in Kamakura as Tokyo is large and the subway is a tangle. The reward was seeing all of the young Tokyoites headed out in their evening looks, eye candy. Boots and shorts are strong in the evening wear look as well as dolled up and ladylike fashions for women. The men seem to go with the pointy elf shoes, pouffed hair, and hip slung jeans. I was wishing I had my paparazzi lens.


Thanks to the Moose who has subjected me to numerous hearings of  "Old Weird Harold (Ninth Street Bridge)" in which Bill Cosby says, "Ten o'clock is when the monsters come out!" I was prepared for psychological battle with tired little kiddos. It was ten in the evening when we got to our subway stop so I reminded them of this.  They ran all the way back to the hotel with occasional pauses to ask, "Are you kidding?" Tipsy, but calm, I assured them, "Monsters do come out at night! That's why Bill Cosby says little kids are supposed to be home by ten!" Then I sucked in a breath and continued running after them. The next morning they asked me again, "You were just trying to get us home fast, weren't you?" I stood firm, "Small children should be home in bed. Monsters come out at ten."



A satisfied customer at Bistrot Nobu


Bistrot Nobu: 105 Court Lievre 2-9-14 Hatagaya Shibuya Tokyo. Phone/Fax:  03 6300 9373 
Nobu in the kitchen
Homard en croûte at Bistrot Nobu
Bouillabaisse at Bistrot Nobu
Mousse de poivron rouge avec consommé en gelée at Bistrot Nobu
Green Salad at Bistrot Nobu
Yuzukoshō saucisson at Bistrot Nobu
Fu's Bread at Bistrot Nobu

Yuzu soufflé at Bistrot Nobu
Crème caramel at Bistrot Nobu
Parfait at Bistrot Nobu
Platform fashions