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One of the most intriguing restaurant openings at the end of last year passed under the radar of many Tokyo gastronomes. That was due in part to timing: In November, the pandemic still had many people leery about eating out. But the other reason for the low-key start is that Sota Atsumi, the chef in charge, is much better known in Paris than in Tokyo.

That’s hardly surprising. Atsumi has lived in France almost 20 years now and has never run a restaurant in his homeland. Although he still has no plans to move back — he has his Michelin-starred restaurant, Maison, to take care of in Paris — in November, Atsumi unveiled his first venture in Japan.

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