Tokyo Blond Is Not Porn

Tokyo Blond is not a porn blog, about hair or even, as one pithy friend remarked, a micro beer or late 1980s glam metal band ("Dude, I just saw Skid Row and Tokyo Blond opened and played a killer set").

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences in Tokyo - poignantly, visually, irreverently - for fun.

Anybody can tag along...that is if I like you. This blog will endeavor to be entertaining and honest and frequent enough to keep those following interested including me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Joel What Have You Done?

Ever since the first time we came to Tokyo I have wanted to dine at Joel Robuchon in Ebisu Garden Place.  Not only is it one of the best restaurants in Tokyo with three Michelin stars, it's the kind of place where you can get away with wearing an evening gown, diamonds and real fur.  Call me pretentious but ever since I was poor white trash I have fantasized about wearing these things to a fancy restaurant.  I mean go big or go home, right?

Unfortunately, I didn't bring any formalwear to Tokyo.  But that didn't stop me from wearing a black cocktail dress and fancy jewelry to the restaurant for our 18th anniversary.  Our anniversary almost didn't happen.  Russell came home from work that Friday in severe pain.  He was hospitalized that night for a kidney stone.   They told him they wanted to keep him there till Monday.  "But we have reservations at Joel Robuchon's on Sunday. He can't be in the hospital till Monday!"  Thankfully Russell was released on Saturday morning and felt well enough to make our reservation on Sunday evening.  Like me, he was really looking forward to it too.

Who wouldn't want to go here?
It looks like a French chateaux.

The door to heaven?
Hey, nice shoes.

Yeah, I'm gonna need a staircase like this someday.

The dining room was over the top elegant. At least the walls were.  They were covered with ornate boiseries and crystals. Yes, I said crystals.  They must be Swarovski because the walls were protected by heavy plastic panels so you couldn't touch, or rather steal, them.  The table tops were quite another story.  They were surprisingly mundane and cheap looking.  Sure there were cut crystal glasses, decent silverware and an impressively large charger plate on the rather blase black table cloth.  But to my utter horror they used fake, F-A-K-E, candles and not even the expensive kind that flicker like the real thing.   Seriously?  In a beautiful place like this I expected shimmering candelabras emanating a romantic appetite inspiring glow.   It took me a glass of champagne to get over my shock.

I'm thinking of redoing our bedroom this way without the plastic wrap.

The surprisingly mediocre table setting.
I just couldn't stand to take a picture of the Dollar Store fake candle.

The handsome devil.

I overcame my disappointment when the mountain-o-butter came, under glass no less.  Wow.  Just give me a big spoon.  This stuff was so good, so creamy, it was like, um, butter.  Yum.

No thanks on the bread, just give me a bigger spoon.

The menu came and we negotiated over the three different pre fixe choices.  Hmmm should we go big or really really big?  Of course we picked the biggest one.  It was our Anniversary and we wanted to try as much as possible. Our first mistake.

Technically this would be two pages but they 
used bigger paper to accommodate all the courses

We expected the food and wine to be exalted.  We knew it would not be cheap.  We've been to French Laundry.  We get it.  But we didn't expect to be insulted.  I've seen a lot of tragically over-priced wine lists in my day but this one was seriously insulting.  I mean I could see it maybe being somewhat acceptable, even appreciated, during the 80s when conspicuous consumption was in.  But this is the, WTF do we call this decade, the 00s.  And in the 00s value is coveted.  

Of course the wine list should be amazing.  But monied people are generally smart, that's how they got money.  This list was abasing, a personal affront to any intelligent individual who knows anything about wine.  We refuse to pay five times (and I'm not exaggerating) the retail price for a bottle of anything! That's just stupid.  So Russell decided we would buy by the glass.  Mistake number two.

Russell's horror at discovering we have to 
mortgage our house to afford a bottle of wine here.
BTW, the wine list was on an iPad. 
Maybe that's why the wine was so expensive

But then the amuse bouche came and we forgot the wine list for a moment.  OMG!  The amuse bouche was caviar served in a caviar tin, with a layer of cream fraiche underneath.  Now we're talking!  This is what we expect from a restaurant of this caliber.  We couldn't stop smiling between bites.

Hello Kitty!  I mean Caviar.  
Can I keep the tin?

I thought, how are they going to top that?!  The next, first course, was sea urchin prepared three ways.  In America sea urchin is a disgusting slimy, down right inedible, let's face it, yucky, thing.  But in Japan and especially at Robuchon's it is ambrosia.   

Food of the gods, that is Japanese, prepared three ways.
1) with a coffee scented mash potato - heaven
           2) in a "maki" with couscous and cucumber - heaven
     3) with shrimp custard and fennel cream - heaven

After that, several courses came in a parade of exquisite textures and tastes, served imaginatively and ironically timed out so that we had to purchase a new glass of wine with each 1.5 course.  Hmmm. Are they doing that on purpose?

Chilled pumpkin soup

The crustacean platter 
Red Lobster eat your heart out!
That gold globe has crustacean in a spicy herb broth
Can I keep the bowl?

Gorgonzola custard served with mint marinated peeled grapes
and the bowl is pretty too.
Russell may need to start peeling grapes now

Wagyu Beef grilled and served with wasabe 
flavored spinach and seasonal veggies

Organic spelt wheat with Summer truffle finish
I am finished!

But somewhere between the crustacean platter and the Wagyu beef we started to fill very, very wrong.  We took turns excusing ourselves from the table.  Each absence growing longer and more panicked.  It was clear neither one of us were faring well at all.  Was it something we ate?  We had to leave.  

We asked for the check before any of the three, yes three, dessert courses showed up.  Not only were we forfeiting the multiple dessert courses, but the tea service and the petit fours.  But not just any tea and petit fours.  A guy rolls around a tea trolley with live tea plants which he actually snips at your table and brews the aromatic beverage right in front of you.  And the petit fours, the petit fours! Another guy comes around with a different trolley boasting over 100 kinds of petit fours for you to pick from.  We'd been admiring them all night.  Well until we started to feel so retched.  

It took twenty minutes to get the check.  We were dying.   Funny how glass after glass of wine showed up before our lips took the last drag from the previous glass.  But we couldn't get the check to save our lives and at about that time, that's kind of what it felt like.  We were so ill.

You would of thought a classy establishment like this would have taken something off the tab since we missed a significant part of the menu.  But to our astonishment not one gesture was made to acknowledge the fact we were leaving without dessert or that we were sick.  They had to know, we were in the bathroom, more than we were at the table. Sure they gave us a goody bag which consisted of some cookies and a small loaf of bread.  But that did nothing to make us feel good about spending more than we have ever spent on a meal in our lives.  I am too embarrassed to admit how much.

The congratulatory anniversary token they delivered with our check.
Is this what took twenty minutes?
Congratulations suckers!  You just spent more on 
this meal than a down payment on a Mercedes.

Just get us out of here!
We faked those smiles well.

No comments:

Post a Comment