Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pierre Gagnaire in Tokyo Review

Just recently, I've went to Japan on a vacation of gluttony. I've had amazing sushi, takoyaki, and even their convenient store food was amazing. However, I post to you my review of the restaurant that I was the most excited to visit in Tokyo: Pierre Gagnaire. I'm currently based in SoCal meaning that there's a whole lot of amazing international cuisines such as Japanese, Mexican and so forth but not alot of great New American/ French restaurants unlike where I'm from in the SF Bay area which is its culinary inverse. Therefore, it does seem ironic that I'd be going to Japan to settle my French/ Western cravings although it has the largest concentration of French restaurants outside of Paris.

If you haven't already heard from the other food blogs, Pierre Gagnaire used to have a trendy location in the fashionable Omote-Sando district but closed due to financial issues. Now it's on the 36th floor of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel in Tameike-Sanno district next to Roppongi (the foreigner district). Here is their website link: http://www.anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp/pierre_gagnaire/eng/index.html

I arrived a tad bit late to the restaurant but the waiter was very forgiving and insisted that it would be fine to wait for my friend that would be joining for dinner. After my friend had arrived, we were seated facing the amazing view of Tokyo Tower and the rest of the city. After we were seated, we ordered from one of the set menus, Apinac (12,000 ¥ -> $150), and also opted for the substitution of the main course with the seasonal premium one of a Grilled Japanese Wagyu Tenderloin from Saga, Kyushu topped with Uni (4,500 ¥ surcharge -> $60). We were then offered the amuse bouches for the evening. Sorry, I've ate one of them as I had remembered then to pull out the iPhone for a snapshot. The missing one was a cheese puff (Rank 5/5). The rest were going up along the plate ikura on a blini which was my most favorite one  (Rank 1/5), chorizo (Rank 2/5), Tuna with cucumber (Rank 3/5), and ended with a hazelnut (can't exactly remember) with a whiskey gelee on top (Rank 4/5).

We each ordered a drink that was made from the bar next door. I ordered a Gin and Tonic (didn't ask for the name of the gin used) and it was the best I've ever had. My friend ordered a Suntory Premium Malts beer.

We've then received the bread assuming that it was made from the Pierre Gagnaire bakery down on the first floor. It was some of the most amazing bread I've ever tasted that was served with both clarified and lemon butter.

After the bread, we've received "Le Cocktail de Poche" which was the set of five appetizers meant to be eaten in order with the first dish in front of you and then progressing clockwise. The first dish is a Royale of Foie Gras with Green Melon Sorbet. The green melon sorbet really wowed us whereas the taste of the foie gras was very subtle (Rank 2/5).

The next dish was a marinated Sawara Fish in honey on top of beets. Although very pretty to look at, this dish out of the five happened to be my least favorite as it seemed a tad bit too fishy (Rank 5/5).

The next dish started to pick up from the previous one: Taraba crab meat with a bouillon of coconut milk, lime and other Thai ingredients (Rank 3/5)

This was the dish that really stood out of the five:  Pan Fried Scallops "a la diable" style with quinoa and bulgur topped with mustard leaves (Rank 1/5). It had the right amount of savory along with a tad bit of sweetness.

The last dish was more of a palate cleansing salad (forgot the exact name, Rank 4/5):

After our plates were cleared, our knife was replaced with this really sharp one used for beef in high end places.

Our main course had then arrived: Grilled Japanese Beef Tenderloin served rare from Saga on the island of Kyushu with a watercress and seaweed puree topped with plenty of Hokkaido Uni (assuming from its small size and creamy flavor) and a Chinese flower vegetable, sitting on an onion soubise. This, hands down, was the best dish of the night. Even more so, this was the best steak and the most over the top dishes combining the luxurious ingredients of Japanese Wagyu beef and Hokkaido Uni I've ever had. We were glad to have opted for the Apinac menu with the premium main dish substitution (4,500 ¥ surcharge + 12,000 ¥ for the base Apinac menu -> $210 total) instead of the Esquise menu with more courses for the same price. One should know that the true Wagyu beef from Japan is the superior, real deal.

Along side came a beef consomme in Jelly with a salad of French green beans and shallots mixed in yogurt. It was topped off with some more luxurious Hokkaido uni (Hokkaido uni tends to be smaller in size but has a creamier texture and flavor vs. the Santa Barbara uni which happens to be larger and has a bolder flavor). This side was alright in my opinion.

Following the best steak I've ever had in my life, we were given the first round of desserts. Starting from the bottom and then progressing clockwise (remembering to the best of my ability): A cinnamon ice cream, a lemon cake made with cream cheese, candied apricot, green tea puff, and a hazelnut tart. All of the five desserts from the first round were amazing.

The next round of desserts came each in their own plates. The first one was a chocolate cake with coffee ice cream. My friend who can't have chocolate had a cake with tropical fruit and assuming was a lime sherbert. The waitstaff was very accommodating to my friends needs as he had addressed them at the beginning of the meal.

Next was the Hibiscus dessert with a green tea crepe, tropical fruits such as lychee and a biscuit. I really enjoyed this dish as I tend to prefer fruit based sweets rather than the cake/ cream based ones.

The last dessert was a passion fruit dessert topped with green tea along with a berry and cream geleƩ.

We then ordered some after dinner cocktails. I had the Laphroaig 10 year single malt cask strength scotch on a rock whereas my friend ordered Umeshu (Japanese plum wine) and ginger ale garnished with a slice of lemon.

After our cocktails, I had the double espresso with a chocolate cake along with a brown sugar cookie whereas my friend had some chamomile tea along side with a tropical cake and cookie.

The damage came roughly including with tax and a 10% service charge around 43,000 ¥ ($540) for the both of us. Here are some views from where we were sitting at (I apologize for the glare).

We then were escorted by the waitstaff and met the Chef Patissier in which my friend and I conversed with them. In addition, we were given a digestif of pineapple and lemon juice with ginger and tapioca (sorry, forgot to take the pic). The complementary digestif was quite delicious and refreshing which was a great end to our fantastic meal at Pierre Gagnaire in Tokyo.

After our meal, we tried to head towards one of the maid cafes as we're tourists that get excited over these things. Unfortunately, the Maidreamin maid cafe was closed for the night. Here's the post of my experience and advice when going to Maidreamin: The Metropolitan Lounge - Maidreamin Maid Cafe


  1. awesome reviewww! try to make sure you get the maid cafe as well hahahahahha


    1. Thanks for your appreciation Shervin! Yeah, I'll come up with it soon along with other blog posts about my trip