Recently Tokyo has developed a big appetite for gyōza dumplings. These little pan-fried packages of meaty, garlicky goodness are no longer just a lowly dim-sum starter or a ramen shop side-order to help the beer down while you wait for your noodles. They now have a pulling power all their own. They’re also catching on in France, it seems (at least in certain milieus), where they’re paired with wine and hearty bistro staples. And that is the inspiration behind Gyoza Bar Comme a Paris.
This cheerful no-frills space just opposite Aoyama Gakuin University is geared toward a young clientele and proudly announces that its gyōza contain no garlic. Instead they’re served — five at a time — nicely crisped underneath, with a choice of healthy, vegetable toppings and with sauces on the side (white miso and herbs; tomato, ginger and garlic; or spicy black sesame).
There are salads and various meaty main dishes, such as sausages or even sirloin steak, to match the substantial (and mostly “natural”) range of wines. With 25 people wedged in at counters along the two walls or at the communal table in the middle, the Gyoza Bar is hardly intimate. But it’s certainly tasty, affordable and fun.
Robbie Swinnerton blogs at www.tokyofoodfile.com.