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Everything posted by kazuo

  1. kazuo

    WTN: Champagne

    Thanks for the beautiful notes. The Ellner and Vilmart Rubis are great wines, but very difficult to find in Tokyo. How do you think Billecart Salmon NV Rose compares with the roses you listed?
  2. Terrific thread and some tremendous info. Another nice entry level burg is Simon Bize's Savigny les Beaune. The 99 Marconnets was the house burg for a while; it's the one I see most often in Tokyo. The Aux Guettes and Vergelesses don't show up as often here but are both worth trying. My guess is that the 01's and 02's will both be nice. The Roumier village Chambolle is also nice but a bit pricey for a village wine. In addition to the Chorey that Brad mentioned, Tollot Beaut also makes a nice Aloxe Corton. Also look for Lafarge's "vendage selectionne" village Volnays.
  3. Robyn: As a general rule, most restaurants don't typically have a full bar and many don't have a bar area (space being at the premium that it is). I can think of a few places that could accommodate a request for a pre-dinner martini, but outside of hotel restaurants, they'd be the exception and not the rule. Almost every high end Western restaurant will have a wine list; don't expect any bargains though. On the plus side, the gin selection at the bars in Tokyo has improved over the past few years. Tanqueray (regular), Beefeater and Sapphire are pretty common, but the bar I frequent has both Tanqueray 10 and Hendricks. Have fun and let us know if you want any recommendations.
  4. How about karashi on buta kakuni?
  5. Nonbei is a terrific little izakaya. When we're in Hawaii, we usually stop for a little taste of home (the tarako chazuke is quite heavenly). I was a little worried that it would be overrun with tourists after it was featured in Gourmet a few years back, but from your review, it sounds like things remain largely the same. Thanks for a great report.
  6. You might also want to consider ducking into the basement level food courts (depachika) in a couple of department stores. There are usually at least a couple of gyoza stands where you can buy for take-out. I tend to like Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya in Nihonbashi, or the FoodShow at Tokyu Shibuya; others to consider include Takashimaya Times Square or Isetan in Shinjuku, Takashimaya in Yokohama, the Ginza big three (Matsuzakaya, Mitsukoshi and Matsuya), etc.
  7. Jim: Returned to L'Osier on last week. The room still seems a bit garish to me, but my spouse and the other couple with whom we dined loved it. Wine list has improved greatly, but as previously noted, no bargains. We drank a 93 Corton Charlemagne that was uninspiring (can't even recall the producer - sommelier suggestion over the 89 Corton Charlemagne from Bonneau Du Martray); I think you can do better in the Puligny section. Second wine was 89 Haut Brion (not the best food wine, but I wanted to see how it was evolving without breaking into my own stash). Food was again quite good; my spouse thought the truffled ravioli to be a bit too rich, my lobster salad was quite nice. Wild boar was very flavorful, but a bit fatty (should have stuck with the sweetbeards). The others had lamb and veal and were uniformly raving about their meals. Desserts were a bit hit with the ladies; I passed in favor of an armagnac. PM me if you want more details.
  8. Orik: What did you think of L'Osier? Love the food, but the room just doesn't appeal to me.
  9. Glad to help. Perhaps you can write-up a review (like your birthday post over in the wine section) afterward?
  10. Jim: You've already been to Bourgignon, which remains one of my faves. Some others to consider: Cote D'Or (Mita, 3455-5145): Simple but superb. Chef Saisu used to be partners with Bernard Pacaud in a Michelin 2 star (L'Ambroise, I think), and his work in Mita reflects that training and experience. His staff is wonderfully professional. Although the wine list is not bad, you can byo. Just let the staff know and bring the bottles in a day or two beforehand. L'Osier (Ginza, 3571-6050): A bit over the top, in my view, but superb food. I heard that Chef Borie was no longer manning the kitchen, but haven't been in a while so I'm not sure. Prices are Paris 2-3 star comparable. Wine list is good, but no bargains. No byo as far as I am aware. Apicius (Yurakucho, 3214-1361): Gibier specialists. The dining room can be a bit stuffy; lots of politicians and captains of industry. Extraordinary cheese cart and one of the best wine lists in town. Few bargains anymore (they once had 90 Rayas at 20,000 yen - we drank at least a case at that price), but occasional "bargains" in the Rhone/Cote Rotie section. No byo. Hotel De Mikuni (Yotsuya, 3351-3810): Chef Mikuni's flagship, probably the closest to "Franco-Japanese" among this list. Nice setting, expensive wine list. For some reason, I don't love the place, but many of my friends do, and I trust their palates. No byo. Chez Inno (Ginza/Kyobashi, 3274-2020): Chef Inoue's home base and a great restaurant. Have not been in many, many years but continue to hear high praise for the place. Not sure of the byo policy. A couple of others to keep on a list, but probably not "special occasion" enough for the oku-sama's birthday. Kitajima-tei (Yotsuya, 3355-6667): Kind of a dive, but food is superb. No recollection of the wine list (which probably isn't the highest praise). Ne Quittez Pas (Higashi Gotanda, 3442-2382): In a small house in a residential area, specializes in seafood. Haven't been in a while, as I always manage to get lost going there. Last time I went, strong collection of white burgs on the list. Pachon (Daikanyama, 3476-5025): The duck spit roasted in the open fireplace is very tasty. When Chef Pachon is in residence, the place steps up a notch in service. Hope this helps.
  11. Kristin: Thanks for the reminder on nankotsu age. Great stuff. Have you tried sunagimo age? If you like nankotsu, you might like sunagimo as well.
  12. kazuo

    TN: Dinner Last Week

    Jim: Le Bourguignon is terrific little restaurant, isn't it? Last time we were there, we had the 1971 Ganoux Corton Renardes. Spectacular older burg, and held up well against a 1972 La Tache that we brought. Glad to hear that another Tokyo-ite likes the place.
  13. Karei kara age Tatami iwashii Must second the recommendations for tempura gobo, agedashi dofu and atsuage.
  14. Misokatsu is a pretty famous Nagoya meibutsu, although I wasn't thrilled with it. Nagoya kochin, on the other hand, is great stuff. While in Nagoya on business, we ate at a terrific yakitori-ya that served only Nagoya kochin. Wonderful stuff.
  15. kazuo

    TN: Birthday Dinner

    Jim: First of all, happy birthday. Does Au Petit Paris have a small-ish cafe on the ground floor and the restaurant on the upper floor? I think we went a few years ago with friends. In any event, the food and wine pairings sound wonderful. Agree with you on the 85 bords. I don't have the PC, but have quite a number of others (Leoville Barton, Ducru, Mouton, Lynch, GP LaCoste, Cheval, La Mission that I can recall). Compared to some of the other more touted vintages from the 80's, good QPR and drinking well now. The Barton is especially nice. Re; the 83 and 88 Rosseaus, I had the Chambertin & Clos de Beze from both vintages about a year ago. Not from my cellar, but good provenance. The 83 Cdb was a surprise; rich with real depth and just enough acidity to give balance. The 83 Chambertin was less impressive. I thought the 88's still had a lot of life, but share your concerns about structure outlasting the fruit.
  16. kazuo

    1975 Bordeaux . . .

    Looked in the cellar and thought of a couple more: Pichon Lalande: probably seen its best days, but if well kept, still lovely Palmer: had not opened one in years, still pretty nice, but the acidity is a little high
  17. Depends a great deal on what one finds "interesting" of course. Barcelona is a fabulous food city, as is New York, as is HK, etc. I'd cast my vote with Kristin, however, since I find Japanese food the most interesting and for that, Tokyo is hard to beat. On a recent trip to the US, we ate at Matsuhisa and Urasawa in LA, then Yasuda and Jewel Bako in NY; all the Tokyo-ites in our group agreed that the food was uniformly excellent (most of us felt that Matsuhisa had slipped a bit and really wasn't Japanese in any event), but we all felt that we'd been to better places in Tokyo.
  18. kazuo

    1975 Bordeaux . . .

    Sage advice from Ms. Melkor. With older wines, provenance is everything, and a reputable retailer might present a better risk profile than auction buying, especially if you're looking at a single bottle. I've lived outside the US for a long time, so my knowledge is dated, but I've had good luck with Premier Cru (No. Cal), K&L (No. Cal), 20/20 (So. Cal - REALLY expensive), Woodland Hills (So. Cal), and Berry Bros. (UK) in the past. Zachy's in Scarsdale has a good reputation; in the DC area, I've heard good things about Calvert & Woodley. In terms of specific wines: Lafite: 6 bottles purchased on release, at its best, very fine, but a lot of variability from bottle to bottle. Petrus: 2 auction bottles, very deep, weighty and sweet, but a bit one-dimensional (all power, no finesse). Trotanoy: 4 bottles purchased at retail in the 80's, really lovely, but I wonder if it has held up (my last bottle consumed in 1998). Leoville Barton: 12 bottles purchased on release, classic claret, structure likely to outlast the fruit. La Mission and Latour Haut Brion: 6 bottle each purchased on release, wow. I have a strong bias toward older Graves; your mileage may vary. Some of the La Missions do show a bit of volatile acidity creeping in. The Latour HB's aren't mature yet but are still delicious. Best of luck with your search.
  19. Lucky you. I'm seeing it here at 11,000 yen (about USD103 at current exchange rates). If the famed Florida Jim says it's worth the plunge, take him at his word.
  20. Brad: I didn't sense that the Bosquet is in any danger of going over the hill, but I also don't see it improving much. Given what it was like in 2001 (when we first drank it) and where it is now, I'd guess it has just about peaked. That said, this is not a wine that I have in multiple vintages, so I don't have any empirical data points; just my guess. Jim: I found a few more bottles of the 99 Jadot CSJ in Tokyo (where I reside) but the pricing was a bit steep; still may have to pull the trigger though.
  21. With a number of new people joining our office, we had an informal get together at the house. To keep the kitchen staff (me) from getting restless during prep: 2000 Pegau Reserve: rich and weighty, black fruit, somewhat muted nose (perhaps lost in the cooking smells), nice but a bit young With assorted nibbles (mushroom crostini, endive with tapenade, gravlax sushi rolls, etc.): NV Billecart Salmon Rose: the house standard, pleasing acidity, hints of berry, just lovely 1998 Bosquet du Papes Cuvee Grenache: Classic grenache, lightening at the rim of the glass, nose is pure strawberry, sweet and lush, won't be a long-lived wine (at least not in our house), but oh so enjoyable now 2001 Janasse Chateauneuf Chaupin: Much more structured than the Bosquet, classic southern Rhone nose, going to be a beauty when it's mature With sauteed scallops and truffled mashed potatoes: 1986 Niellon Batard: lovely mature burg, tropical notes in the nose (coconut?), lush on the palate with baked apples, glad to have saved a few of these, not a great match with the food, however With smoked duck salads dressed with balsamic: 1999 Jadot Gevery Clos. St. Jacques: in honor of Florida Jim's deceased magnum, lovely forward fruit but concentration and structure to last, should have bought much more of this With wagyu fillet roast, potato and parmesan cakes, sauteed green beans: 2000 Solengo: as previously noted, no one will ever accuse this one of having any Italian typicity, but lovely nonetheless 1967 DRC Romanee St Vivant: a curiosity that turned out rather nicely, pale color, a bit short in the finish but classic St Vivant nose 1969 DRC Richebourg: acidity is a bit high but otherwise drinks beautifully, beguiling nose (atypical for a Richebourg, more like La Tache?) with sandalwood, cinnamon, something else exotic and vaguely evocative of Chinese or Indian spices? 2000 Petit Cheval: someone asked for bordeaux and I didn't feel up to decanting (too shaky at that point), so this was popped and poured, actually had a bit of Cheval quality to it, excellent concentration although a bit green (younger Cab Franc influence, I'd guess), still glad to have this in quantity Yes, there was cheese and dessert; no, I don't recall much about it. Vague recollection of loading the dishwasher while nursing a digestif portion of Macallan. While washing the decanters and glasses and scouring the kitchen the next day while the spouse and her pals availed themselves of leftovers: 1995 Poggio Antico Brunello Reserve: kind of new wave Brunello, forward and accessible, sweet, smoky with nice fruit.
  22. We often construct a weekend meal from the depachika counters, especially when we're working and don't feel up to cooking; this practice is known, around our house anyway, as the "picnic" dinner. Our dinners aren't usually as luxe as Sinbad's, but I'd agree that you can construct some incredible meals without much effort. The usual practice is to hit the big three at Ginza station (Matsuya, Mitsukoshi and Matsuzakaya), but if we're feeling like a splurge, we head for Nihonbashi and hit Takashimaya and the Mitsukoshi honten. In Shinjuku, the Isetan/Takashimaya Times Square is a nice combo, although it is a bit of a hike from Isetan to Times Square.
  23. kazuo

    More notes

    Jim: I feel your pain re: the Jadot CSJ. I had the '99 about a week ago (750 ml) and it was just lovely. Sorry to hear about the mag.
  24. Kristin: Superb blog once again and a really welcome view of "home" while I was on the road last week (to your furusato, Cleveland, ironically). Thanks again.
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