Michelin Starred – Chez Olivier – Tokyo

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Chez Olivier

Chez Olivier was the fourth Michelin starred restaurant I visited in as many days. Located in Chiyoda, in a quiet neighborhood of small shops, restaurants, small businesses and residential buildings it seems to not really fit with the neighborhood, but any neighborhood in Tokyo is a very eclectic mix.

The chef, Olivier Oddos, was born in France and originally came to Japan as a cooking instructor at Le Cordon Bleu. He previously worked at La Tour d’Argent, a two star Michelin restaurant, so had his culinary chops before going abroad.

The restaurant is very small, but large windows exposing two sides of the dining room makes the space appear larger. There are 10 tables and 3 counter seats.

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Decorative Plate

Upon being seated, the server put on some white gloves when setting the table. There was a nice decorative plate.

The menu is somewhat limited at lunch, with several set “tasting” menus, as well as a degustation menu.

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Bread

The meal started off with some crusty, crunchy bread that was soft and chewy on the interior.

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Butter

It was served with an herb butter, which was rich and decadent.

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Saddle of Rabbit

The Warm Saddle of Rabbit was stuffed with chorizo and squid, and came with a mussel and hazelnut sauce. The rabbit was tender and not gamey. The squid added a bit of texture and chewiness. The herb salad added a bit of freshness and peppery spunk, which the squid ink “chips” added a nice crunch.

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Half-Cooked Egg

The Half-Cooked Egg was a soup course with regular and shiitake mushrooms, and herbs with Vermouth. The dish was topped with an herb foam. The soup was rich and creamy, offset by the bitterness of the herbs. The egg was perfectly cooked with a runny yolk to help thicken the soup.

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Steamed Kinmedai

Steamed Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper) was perfectly cooked. The fish was meaty, firm and moist with a very delicate flavor. The squid ink risotto was very cheesy and buttery. The amount of ginger in the dish may have been a little too overpowering however.

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Hokkaido Beef Filet

The Hokkaido Beef Filet was poached to a perfect medium rare. The beef was topped with whole grain mustard with bordelaise on the side. The beef had a nice flavor and was very juicy. The vegetable “package” include asparagus, haricot vert, baby corn, carrots and turnips.

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Cheese Course

I was offered a cheese course, and just asked for a little bit. The blue cheese paired well with the fig and balsamic vinegar. The thing I did not appreciate about this course was that it was never disclosed that this course would cost extra. I didn’t mind paying for it, but I felt like I was being secretly upsold.

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Creme Brûlée

The meal ended with the most extravagant presentation of crème brulee that I have ever seen. The chef personally delivered this course to the table. In the base of the bowl was the crème brulee which was a little on the firm side. On top of the crème brulee were cherries with hibiscus, pistachios, and a red berry sorbet. There also appeared to be pieces of shortbread in the dessert. The acidity of the different fruits helped to offset the sweetness and richness of the crème brulee.

Service was excellent, very attentive but not over bearing. The quality of ingredients is top notch with expert cooking. I can see how Chez Olivier has garnered one Michelin star.

Michelin Starred – Benoit – Tokyo

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Menu

Benoit Tokyo is an outpost of the Paris restaurant, with another location is New York. I heard the restaurant was just barely making it, until Alain Ducasse took over the restaurant. It is now a one star Michelin restaurant.

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Building

The restaurant sits in the La Porte Aoyama high rise building with no real obvious sign. It is easy to walk right past the building, which I did. The immediate surrounding area has a distinct European feel. In fact, there is a Pierre Herme location on the first floor so if you see the famous macaron/patisserie shop you are in the right spot.

The interior of the restaurant is reminiscent of a French country home. It is warmly decorated but nothing over the top bling.

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Cheese Puffs

The meal started out with some light as air cheese puffs. The puffs had a surprisingly strong cheese flavor. Things were off to a great start.

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Bread

Next, some sturdy wheat bread was brought out. The crust was very crunchy, while the interior had a nice chew to it.

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Salade Benoit

The Salade Benoit was a nice mix of greens with perfectly cooked foie gras, pork belly and a terrine. The mushrooms added another layer of earthiness. The salad was not overdressed. Is it heresy to say there may have been too much meat to pair with such a tiny salad?

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Coquillettes

Next the Coquillettes was like a very upscale version of mac and cheese. Cavatappi, or corkscrew, pasta was mixed with a rich cream sauce. Bits of ham, flecks of black truffle and tiny cubes of cheese joined the party. The pasta was light, yet super rich at the same time. The pasta was a perfect al dente with a nice chew to it.

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Scallops

The Pan Seared Scallops were nicely seared giving the already sweet mollusk, a candy coating. The scallops were only seared on one side however, and was served medium rare. The asparagus added a nice crunch and slight bitterness to the dish.

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Benoit Chocolat/Caramel

The Benoit Chocolat/Caramel finished off the dish. The rich, dark chocolate “cigar” was paired with salted caramel, and milk ice cream. The Benoit was like a very soft “Rolo” on a cookie base. The ice cream had a bold milk flavor.

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Cappuccino

The cappuccino was served with a couple of madeleines which was a perfect way to end the meal.

For a Michelin starred restaurant, Benoit is rather budget friendly. If going at lunch, you have the option of ordering from a prix fixe menu of sorts, or you can order a la carte.

The service was very professional and friendly. The quality of food is top notch with excellent cooking.