For our anniversary dinner, we decided we wanted something meaty, non-Asian, and special. We found a review of the “French-Belgian” A Ta Gueule at the Tokyo Food Page: “This tiny (12-seat) hideaway restaurant is a serious gourmet destination, serving high-level cuisine at down-to-earth prices.” We knew it was the place.

The inside of the restaurant indeed seats exactly 12 people, with an extra table for four on the front porch area. A single waiter, dressed Parisian bistro style—white shirt, long apron—attends to everyone. The chef, George Somura, prepares all the dishes unassisted in a tiny kitchen, where everything is at arm’s reach, in view of the dining room (behind a wall with a large pass through). The atmosphere at once deeply intimate and relaxed, like a friend preparing you dinner while you wait in the dining room.

A photo of the seasonal produce display outside the restaurant. The menu posted on the website is constantly changing.

We had a drink (a sherry and a Belgian Kriek beer) while eating the small dish of pickles the waiter offered.

We both had the 6,500 yen set menu which included a truffle soup, an appetizer, granite, main, and dessert. Every time the waiter brought fresh bread, it was a different small roll or slice of in-house bread. With dinner, we drank 2003 Domaine du Banneret Chateauneuf du Pape.

J’ai mangé:
–Potage de truffe (it came to the table with the fragrance of truffle oil, on top of which the waiter shaved a generous amount of black truffle)
–Creamy wild mushrooms with Alsatian spatzle (this was so good it made me get a little weepy with happiness)
–Star anise granite
–Pork with mustard sauce (photo below), both filet and loin. The bone end was flash fried as a finish so one could pick off the meat bits off.
–Homemade pistachio ice cream

Lui:
–Beef consommé (bok choy in the broth, garnished at the table with shaved truffle)
–Moules mariniere
–Star anise granite
–Marcassin (wild boar) with turnips and baby sato imo, red wine reduction sauce
–Cheese plate (with surprisingly flavorful and assertive cheeses)

The dinner was one of those memorable meals that passes dreamily in pure pleasure: the perfect mix of atmosphere, delicious food, and excellent service. My only warning: there are no vegetable sides, no salads. The menu is hardcore meaty and oh so good. The wine list is all French and is tailored to the food (i.e., short and to the point). I’m definately going back for his winter creations…

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