With its gleaming glass frontage and punchy name in purple neon beaming into the Shibuya night, you can tell straight away Out is going to be a bit special. But it’s only when you’re inside and ensconced at the elegant little horseshoe-shaped counter that you realize how out there it is.
First, there’s no menu, because you have no choice. Out serves one thing and one thing only, year-round and without exception. But what a great dish it is.
Tagliolini al tartufo: rich, eggy strands prepared fresh by hand each day from premium ingredients. Cooked to order and ready within minutes, they are then covered with a generous amount of truffle shaved in front of your eyes. Pasta has never looked or smelled so alluring.
The provenance of the truffles will vary with the season — currently they’re beautiful black tubers from Australia — and so will the wine. Needless to say, there’s only one bottle to choose from. Right now it’s a lovely red from a small-batch artisan winery in Queensland.
The all-in price for this is ¥4,000 (separately, it’s ¥2,900 for the pasta and ¥1,300 per glass for the wine), which is much the same as you’d pay at a decent Italian restaurant here. But it’s better to think of Out as a beautifully designed, slightly decadent, Westernized version of a ramen counter — complete with a ticket machine and first-come-first-served policy.
There’s one other idiosyncrasy. Out only plays one kind of music: Led Zeppelin. On vinyl. Why? Because that’s the way owner/curator Sarah Crago wants it. Want to know more? Ask her yourself when you get there.
Open 6 p.m.-late; closed Mon.; pasta from ¥2,900; set menu with wine ¥4,000; English menu; English spoken
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