Christmas is fun. While not as festive as in other countries (the Philippines for one), Christmas in Japan has recently become a commercial event, and thus festive on its own. While here, Christmas is about Christmas cakes, Santa Claus, and KFC fried chicken (or chicken dinners in general), it is still about spending time with important people particularly that special someone.
I and my partner are into French cuisine. There is that facination and sort of luxury that comes with having a french sounding menu despite the food at times prepared with plain ingredients or cooking method. LOL. Last year, we tried a French restaurant that fits our budget and is easily accessible (Say the downtown area of Sanjo) based on reviews on the restaurant guide Tabelog. This post will be about last year and this year’s Christmas lunch at the 5 year consecutive Michelin Restaurant Guide Bib Gourmand recipient Chez Comme Michel.
As a summary of what we had, everything was delicious, well-executed with the flavors standing out yet blending in perfectly, and memorable. Last year’s photos were only food served to me while this year’s have my partner’s food as well. We usually share so each item were well evaluated (criticized, I promise. lol). A short description of the food is presented after each picture.
The first set of pictures are from 2016’s lunch.
The amuse bouche arrived first. Pork rillette (something like pork floss in pork lard) is spread on crusty bread and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper. The flavor of pork fat is highlighted with a tint of sweetness. The sharp aroma of black pepper blended harmoniously with the pork. Very delicious.
The second of the course was seafood terrine. Big pieces of octopus were scattered across with some fish, scallop, etc. The tartness of the sun-dried tomato in oil provided a refreshing contrast to the umami-rich slab. Winter is stock turnip season. This potage was made with a local variety, Shogoin turnip. I assume that heavy cream was present as this potage was very hearty and leaning on the milky side. The croutons and olive oil were welcome distractions to the smooth and silky texture of the potage. Among the choices for the main, I decided on the beef cheek stewed in consomme. Super tender meat with linings of cartilage topped sweet vegetables. I had to ask for extra bread to clean the plate of the last drops of the very beefy, savory and mildly sweet (probably from vegetables or onion?) soup. Lol.Finally, apple tart with caramel ice cream. Apples and caramel are a destined couple. The sweetness of the caramel ice cream was just right to not overpower the tart. And as with good caramel, pleasant bitterness and buttery aroma lingered in the palate. Very homey atmosphere. There were only 8 seats (4 tables) on the second floor.
The succeeding set are from this year’s (2017) lunch.
The restaurant sits at a very ideal corner spot which is very easy to locate.
Crisp white linen and white napkins to start the 2 hour lunch. We didn’t even notice the time until we went out of the restaurant. This year’s amuse bouche was the same last year. Judging from the pictures, the restaurant was pretty consistent…and this was delicious! I tried to eat this slowly like 3 bites. Lol.This year’s entree, seafood terrine, was quite different in composition and consistency from last year. While this one had less octopus, it had crab! Crab is a prized ingredient in Japan and I was very glad to see it there. However, this had more fish too which made the texture flakier than last year’s. It was partnered with a puree (I got too excited I forgot what the puree was). I do prefer to have something tart like dried tomato from last year though.
My partner’s entree was a terrine of turkey, figs and foie gras. This totally won me over. Figs and foie gras went well together. Interestingly though, the figs were sweet yet savory enough that they didnt feel dessert-like at all. I dont like figs but this was very delicious! The sharp yet not distracting mustard provided a sort of palate cleanser for every bite. lol
Bread. We asked for 2 more servings. Crusty outside, pillowy inside. Because we had experienced being served very rubbery bread (as if microwaved) at a different restaurant (Renard Bleu also along the same street), bread became our gauging item. lol. It goes to say that bread here was very very good. One thing though, was butter was not provided unlike Fukujuen that provided very good butter (Maybe Echrire?), we ate butter on its own (I know, we are pigs. Lol).
As with last year’s lunch, the same potage was served. I guess winter = turnip potage. Lol
My partner’s main was poele (I still have to learn how to type french alphabet. lol) of sea bass on ratatouille and white wine cream sauce. I’m not a fan of fish so I wouldnt comment on it except that the ratatouille could be a dish on its own.
My main was Kyoto pork roast on fried potatoes, beans and port wine reduction. Very very tender pork that did not resist cutting. No trace of gaminess was present in the pork. Potatoes were seasoned perfectly and provided a good sponge to the sauce. Lol. Paired with Dijon mustard (we ate the mustard as is because it was very good), perfect!
Finally, I had my dessert which was mocha parfait on a compote of berries. The mildly sweetened parfait’s coffee aroma was strong with hints of chocolate and it paired perfectly with the tartness and sweetness of the compote.
My partner’s dessert was a compote of French figs (Lol. I meant imported from France) and topped with caramel ice cream. The figs were dessert-like. Lol. I’m amazed at how the terrine and this had very unique figs.
And lastly coffee. I make good aeropress coffee so no comment here. Lol
And of course, my surprise. I got my partner a body balm and I had him choose the geranium one because I wanted the black pepper one for myself. Lol
Price: In both years, we had the Menu A of the lunch menu which costs 3024 yen (tax and service charge included). The menu for lunch and dinner are available here. Still have to try the dinner menu because lunches are more affordable and I dont drink alcohol. Very very recommended!
Location: a few blocks walk from Teramachi St. and Oike St. Check the map below.