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Craftale

Review excerpt: Perched on the second floor of a sleek new building overlooking the cherry trees lining the banks of the Meguro River, Craftale has a view to kill for, especially when the blossoms are at their peak. But the main reason for making the 10-minute walk from Nakameguro Station is Otsuchihashi’s confident, creative contemporary French cuisine.

He was barely past the age of 31 when he opened Craftale last September, but he has experience aplenty to go with his youthful enthusiasm. At 19 he made his first trip to France, to study in the gastronomic center of Lyon. Since then he has worked both in haute cuisine — notably at Joel Robuchon’s three-Michelin-starred chateau restaurant in Ebisu — and in smaller, less rarefied locations, such as Saturne in Paris and Restaurant Anis in Tokyo’s Hatsudai neighborhood.

Book yourself in for the simplest of Otsuchihashi’s lunches (weekends and holidays only), and you’ll find the influences from both ends of the culinary spectrum. A recent ¥3,000 three-course meal opened with one of his intricate, artistic platings. Juicy morsels of duck were served with slivers of carrot and white beet, freeze-dried foie gras powder and a dab of concentrated mikan(mandarin orange). Think duck a l’orange, but allowed to take wing to a whole new level.