All tagged mandarin oriental
The 7-seat Tapas Molecular Bar in the sky lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo is the home of chef Jeff Ramsey, formerly of Minibar in Washington D.C. My first meal in 2008, while delicious, featured many of the same dishes featured at Minibar. I think a lot of this was due to the newness of the restaurant and the difficulty in finding its place. It's no easy task to integrate new molecular techniques with traditional Japanese cuisine. However now, two years later, this restaurant has really found its niche in its surroundings and thoroughly impressed me with innovative, delicious, and really fun cuisine.
One aspect of the Molecular Bar that makes the experience so fun is its chefs. Instead of creating an environment in which interactivity is passive-aggressively shunned, chef Ramsey and his team explained the back story of each dish and how it related to Japanese culture. This was particularly crucial for the nostaligic dishes as many of the diners did not grow up in Japan. Questions were encouraged, and frankly, this in-depth understanding of the food I was eating really added another dimension to the meal's enjoyment. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about the food and its preparation, but I felt like I was eating a story with each course.
Signature is the home of chef Olivier Rodriguez who formerly worked at the Tokyo location of Enoteca Pinchiorri. His menu read straightforward with two tasting menus and an à la carte section. The tasting menu seemed like a little much since my body still thought it was seven in the morning. So we ordered a few of dishes from the à la carte section and decided to split them. Well, maybe we ordered a lot of dishes.
The exorbitant prices are justified (somewhat) by the exquisite view. We were lucky enough to have a window table, and maybe it was the jetlag but I felt like I was eating on the edge of a cliff. My eyes were in awe of the view: thousands of red lights flickering atop the Tokyo skyline.
With molecular gastronomy taking the world by storm it was only a matter of time before it crossed the pacific. Located in the sky lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, the Tapas Molecular Bar is Japan’s introduction to this innovative and creative cuisine.
The interactivity that makes molecular gastronomy so much fun is heightened by the restaurant’s sushi counter seating which holds at most seven guests at a time. The entire evening is filled with conversation between not only dining companions, but with the chefs as well. It is interactive in every respect.
Japan is known for its mix of tradition and technology. I can't tell you how many pictures I've seen of a bullet train passing Mount Fuji with cherry blossoms blooming in the background. This mix of new and old is, what I believe, made the molecular bar so appealing.