With so much great French cuisine in Japan, what can a hot new restaurant do if it wants to stand out from the crowd? Having a catchy name certainly helps, and so does a good location. Le Sputnik qualifies on both counts. More importantly, it also boasts a very talented chef.

Yujiro Takahashi is a bright new star in Tokyo's gastronomic sky. He first rose above the horizon as head chef of the excellent Le Jeu de l'Assiette in Tokyo's Ebisu-Nishi neighborhood, where he retained the restaurant's Michelin star for the five years of his tenure. Having earlier spent three years in Paris at the renowned Ledoyen and then the iconic bistro Chez l'Ami Jean — as well as gaining patisserie experience at Maison Kayser — he has paid the necessary dues, and more.

Still in his 30s, Takahashi has finally made his move and opened his own place. He's got a great location too: just five minutes from the Roppongi Crossing, but tucked away down a secluded side street that few people bother with, save for the locals. That hasn't been a deterrent. Although Le Sputnik opened in late July, the word is out already and the buzz is growing.