What a fabulous culinary journey I had with Chef Daisuke Kaneko at L’AS!
Chef Daisuke Kaneko, a young chef full of talent and ambition, opened this restaurant in 2012. He uses Japanese ingredients to explore French cuisine.
In 2014, he won the “GOLD EGG” award for RED-U-35, a top culinary competition in Japan.
L’As is located in a very calm, narrow street of Tokyo just behind The Cork, also owned by Chef Daisuke Kaneko. The entrance is very contemporary, as is the design of the restaurant. I was very impressed by the modern, open kitchen at the entrance where a team buzzes around under the watchful eye of Chef Daisuke.
The restaurant serves only Omakase (leave-it-up-to-the-chef), an eight to nine course meal for ¥5.000 ($45 or €40): this surprise menu changes every three weeks at the whim of the chef. Wine-pairing is offered for ¥5.000 extra and includes one glass of champagne and four glasses of wine carefully chosen by the sommelier Kouichi Tanabe.
Sommelier Kouichi Tanabe won in 2007 the 6th Cuvée Louise sommelier competition.
The wonderful dinner starts with an amuse-bouche. It looks like a big pearl on the spoon: delicious home-made mozzarella with olive oil.
L’AS’ special comes wrapped in a paper bag, like a Häagen-dazs ice cream. It’s actually a crispy foie gras ice-cream sandwich with caramel flavor. It is heavenly good!
Followed by a spoon of black olive tapenade and a spoon of mixed vegetables. It sounds common but the taste is very elaborate.
Arugula and snap pea, potato salad served with stewed octopus. Octopus is very popular in Japan but we are seeing it more and more in western recipes, especially in trendy restaurants in New York City.
Sautéed salmon and white asparagus with yogurt and Karasumi (dried mullet roe) sauce served with dip made from grated lemon.
Roasted “Fuji” chicken from Shizuoka. Sautéed button mushrooms served with cashew nuts.
For vegetarians: scallops with shiitake mushrooms.
Another L’AS special: verrine with tomato compote and basil jelly with Pianogrillo (organic olive oil).
For dessert, a freshly-baked mixed berry mille-feuille. As it was our friend’s birthday, L’AS presented it on a large plate with “Bon Anniversaire” (Happy Birthday) written in chocolate. It is kind of a tradition in Japan.
Our party ordered the wine by the bottle: a Pouilly-fuissé to start for the white wine and Côte Rôtie for the red.
L’AS is an unexpected restaurant in the quiet neighborhood of Aoyama, The foie gras ice cream by itself is worth the trip all the way to Tokyo!
1F Minamiaoyama Kotori Bld.
4-16-3 Minamiaoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062, Japan