Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lunch at Tokyo's 10th best Italian restaurant




It was close to 40 degrees earlier today in Tokyo, living a Travelife, and we decided to go and have a wonderful Italian lunch as a treat because of the heat.

I have to confess that this is my third straight day of a fine dining Italian lunch, so it's not quite a treat now but a pretty regular occurence in my never-endingly eventful Travelife.

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THREE GREAT ITALIAN LUNCHES IN A ROW

The last two Italian lunches were wonderful, and I'll write more about these sometime later.

Today I wanted to tell you about my Italian lunch in Shibuya, a few minutes' walk from the Miu Miu Store and Tokyu Hands.





It's not as fancy as the previous two lunches, but it's good and reasonably-priced.

Plus it's so under the radar for foreigners and visitors to Tokyo.

This place is so unassuming that we almost didn't find it...


GOOD VS. FAMOUS

We wanted very good Italian today, but not famous Italian.

The Japanese are crazy about French food and Italian food, and the chefs who decide to be very good at either of these two types of cuisine usually become much better than most French and Italian chefs themselves.

Cold potato soup to start...


So there's a good French restaurant and a good Italian restaurant in practically every upscale neighborhood in Tokyo.

A medley of cold and hot bit-sized appetizers followed


SO MANY STARS...

Knowing this, you'll understand how a very good Italian restaurant in Tokyo need not be very famous.

There are too many good ones so the field is too huge to get singled out unless the restaurant has been awarded two or three Michelin stars.

And since the Michelin inspectors can't possibly cover all of Tokyo, there are lots of very good restaurants that don't fall under their radar.


A saute of vegetables and sausages followed, home-cooking style,
flavored with freshly chopped sage


THE DOWNSIDE TO A MICHELIN STAR...

But those Michelin stars have a way of instantly jacking prices up.


This was probably my favorite.
Freshly-made lasagna drizzled with balsamic, hazelnuts and crispy parmesan cheese...


And if you're living in Tokyo or staying for a while, you don't really want to be paying that Michelin premium for good food every single time.

Especially when good food is not hard to find otherwise.

ELEGANT, MINIMALIST & UNKNOWN

In any other country, this would be called a hole-in-the-wall...


So this is how we ended up with Biodinamico, a small but elegantly minimalist restaurant in the very commercial part of Shibuya with a rather intriguing name.

It's staffed by a group of nice guys who take lots of pride in what they do.

A lamb joint was wrapped in herbs and grasses and then steamed to perfection. It was then served with home-made prune marmalade.




The final presentation of the lamb,
served with wonderful potato cubes


TOP TEN OF TOKYO

The restaurant is reportedly among the top ten Italian restaurants in Tokyo -- in other words, good enough for a spontaneous Saturday lunch.

It's famous for its pasta.

The second pasta course was a simple pomodoro.
We were all asked how much we wanted in grams.
Most people said 40 grams of pasta, but I said 100 grams.
This is what 100 grams looks like...


For lunch, a six-course meal cost only 3800 yen -- which is pretty reasonable for Tokyo, and especially for a highly-rated restaurant in a city full of highly-rated restaurants.

Dessert was a lime flavored pannacotta
with dark chocolate beads and mojito jelly.
Who would've thought this combination would work?


I'd never heard of it, but I was game to try something new.

It certainly added more spice to just another enjoyable weekend in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.




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