Monday, March 1, 2010

Food and Art (food as art?)

The cover of Metropolis Magazine ( this week has a picture of chef Daniel Martin on it - the chef at L'Espadon, a trendy little brasserie in the Kamiyacho section of Tokyo. The magazine article talks about Ta new trend in Tokyo eating establishments: the pairing of food and art. The artists partner with the restaurant owners or chefs and the arrangement is mutually beneficial: the artist's work is showcased and the restaurateur has instant decor. Both people presumably have a following of fans, so they cross-pollinate the markets with their partnership.

The phenomenon fascinates me, but what really intrigues me is that Marc and I ate at L'Espadon a few weeks ago with good friends. And we loved it! We are hoping that now that the chef and restaurant have been showcased by such a widely circulated magazine that the quality and price of the meal stays the same because we have always planned to eat there again soon.

L'Espadon is tucked away off the main road in a basement location. (In Tokyo, for the best restaurants, one must often look either high up or low down - street level can be so mediocre!) The atmosphere on the chilly winter night was warm and inviting, and the decor was in dark woods and red velvets, creating a feeling of coziness.

The food, though,was what really made us stand up and take notice. We ordered a course menu, which consisted of nine small and somewhat light courses:

  • A plate of mini appetizers including: one prune wrapped in ham and grilled, a rectangle of grilled foie gras, a tartlet of clam chowder and a slice of salami.
  • Two fried oysters
  • Fish carpaccio
  • Foie Gras creme brulee in a small ramekin with a side of salad
  • Grilled Suzuki Fish
  • A small cut of venison
  • A bowl of strawberries in a balsamic vinegar and sugar sauce
  • Coffee-Armagnac ice cream with a fig biscuit/wafer
  • Mint tea
This did not include the bottle of wonderful Bordeaux wine that we shared. It was a wonderful experience and we cannot wait to go back. Just now we hope we can get a reservation if the chef is suddenly so popular. But that is what happens: trends start. At least we're in at the cutting edge of this one. Eating in Tokyo is always such a pleasurable adventure.