Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bella, Suzuki!

It's been some time I admit, Gentle Reader, since I've intruded on your presence with a post on Eating Out. While my regimental background forbids an excuse, I can say I've been spending a lot of time on a social media blog. And searching for relevance in a world that is rapidly melting down around me. Time to polish up the CV silver, methinks!

But I can report that a recent visit to Piatto Suzuki rekindled the passion, with a passion. This delightful little Michelin 1-Star is a little difficult to find, but well worth the effort for the patient diner. My dinner companion, the effervescent NHK-7, was late for our 7:00 pm reservation so your Humble Correspondent took the opportunity to savour the atmosphere and learn more about this gem of a restaurant. With only 5 tables, and a counter that sits about four chubby foreigners, I recommend a reservation.

What stands out here is Chef's passion - passion for ingredients, passion for presentation, passion for an elegant dining experience. All of the produce is of the highest possible quality - Agu pork from Okinawa stands out - and vegetables come direct from the finest growers. With this sort of starting point, even your Humble Correspondent could turn out a reasonable plate. However, our Chef brings a touch of brilliance and genius to each dish so that the menu stands out as a unique collection of great Italian cooking with scintillating flairs of inspiration.

My more dedicated readers will know that I am a sucker for a good Cottoletto Milanese - this is the best I have eaten in Tokyo. The asparagus risotto was heavenly, and the gorgonzola gnocchi was motive for murder.

A complete wine list invites exploration, although some bottles seemed a little on the expensive side.The Rondinaia Castello del Terriccio 2006 we enjoyed was good, not great and the Venica jesera Pinot Grigio of unknown age vanished in the blink of an observant eye.

Visit Piatto Suzuki with friends and lovers, in small groups. Keep your work acquaintances away from this little pot of pleasure!

Piatto Suzuki: 1-7-7 Azabu Juban, 4th Floor, Hasebeya Bldg, Minato Ward. t: 03-5414-2116. Closed Sundays.
Rating: Food: 8; Wine: 7; Service: 7; Ambiance: 7; Price: 8 ($$$). Total 37/50

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Blog Action Day

You may find it surprising, Gentle Reader, that I should be posting on the issue of poverty in support of Blog Action Day. After all, Eating Out is about the enjoyment of fine food and wine - a topic far removed from the concept of poverty.

At the same time, those of us fortunate to be here in the world's culinary capital get reminded every day that poverty is all around. Even in Japan, many people struggle to make ends meet and homelessness is a chronic problem. Consumer finance is often used as a solution to want, and indebtedness rises in a sickening spiral. Single mothers often go without food to have enough for the children. The attitude of government and passers-by to these issues constantly surprises me.

Poverty is not a disease, nor is it a terminal affliction of humanity. It requires action - action by people like you and me. Buying an extra "bento" at the conbini is a simple yet effective first step. Give it to someone. Don't present it; quietly give it and walk humbly away. There but by the grace of God goes each one of us. Just do something... anything other than ignore or bemoan.

Because poverty won't go away until it's driven.

Time for full disclosure: I used to organize, and still participate in, a rice-cake delivery program in Shibuya. And I can assure you that the targets of this food program relish every bite and flavour just as much as we diners at our posh restaurants.