Beige Tokyo, Alain Ducasse's Tokyo outpost, is located at the top of the Chanel flagship store in Ginza. The floor to ceiling windows are framed with thick black borders, much like a pair of Chanel thick-rimmed glasses. The space is decorated in beige tones bringing an element of warmth to the otherwise stark atmosphere. Waiters and waitresses quietly whisk about in custom-fitted black suits. The sleek and stylish restaurant, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is a must-visit for fashion-conscious diners. Beige is essentially a restaurant by a high-end designer in collaboration with Alain Ducasse. The food is also pretty good. The menu highlights traditional French ingredients, most of which are flown in from Europe. The dishes read in Alain Ducasse style with a simple ingredient made bold by a bombardment of luxurious accoutrements. The restaurant's dishes are consistent and familiar.
Dining room of Beige, Tokyo - Floor-to-ceiling windows let in the glowing lights of Tokyo's "Fifth Avenue," the Ginza fashion district.
Cocktail room - Grab a drink before the meal begins
Gougères - Warm and airy cheese puffs, straight from the oven.
Preserved foie gras, sour apple, quince marmalade - A stick of foie gras pâté with sour apple and quince for acidity. This went great with the warm bread rolls.
Foie gras and chestnut-filled ravioli, sauteed vegetables, duck bouillon - Thin pockets of ravioli filled with creamy foie gras. The duck bouillon was a bit salty which was fine when eaten in combination with the chestnuts which needed the additional salting, but made the sweetness of the liver tough to taste.
Sea scallops, quickly seared, lettuce cream flavored with hazelnut butter, shaved white truffle - A giant sea scallop atop a bed of creamy lettuce puree and rich hazelnut butter. The combination of the hazelnut butter with the strong scent of the white truffle was intoxicating. The scallop was almost an afterthought, a small baguette with hazelnut butter and white truffle is all this dish really needed.
Farm-raised egg cooked "en cocotte," butternut squash trompettes, mushrooms and white truffle - This was a dish that sounded better on the menu. There was too much "noise" distracting from the thick and runny egg yolks -- they were barely detectable amongst the sea of crouton bits and cream sauce.
Langoustines roasted with black pepper, celery/pineapple flavoured in a coco/curry sauce - A firm tail of Brittany lobster over a coconut and curry-infused lobster reduction. This was delicious. The intensity of the sauce was much like a strong lobster bisque, only with a hint of sweet curry -- almost like a nutty nutmeg flavor. The lobster was quite firm though not overcooked, a property of the Breton lobster.
Bresse chicken, seasonal vegetables, black truffle sauce with grated truffles - A thick chunk of Bresse chicken breast with turnip, carrot, and black truffle. The chicken was really dry which made it tough to enjoy this course. The truffles also lacked fragrance. This was my least favorite course of the night.
Cheese plate: - Beaufort with dried grape, apricot, jujube palm, and fig. - Roves des Garrigues, tappenade of black olives - Bleau d'auvergne, endives, salad with walnut marmelade - Munster, flavored with cumin, gewurztraminer jelly
Raspberry sablé with almond - A thin raspberry-flavored wafer with a weightless almond cake, topped with fresh raspberries, caramel, and a raspberry sauce. This was light and its hint of acidity welcome after a string of heavy main dishes.
Roasted apple with chestnut ice cream - This dish just tasted like the fall. Warm apples with cinnamon, caramel, nutmeg, and a generous scoop of chestnut ice cream.
Pot de crème - laced with a fine layer of raspberry
Chanel chocolates - Dark chocolate embossed with the Chanel logo.
Take-home macarons - Green "matcha" tea, passion fruit, and raspberry.
The meal was a lot of fun and I left absolutely stuffed, but I can't say the dishes were exciting or revelatory. The restaurant seemed a bit more about style than substance with most of the dishes being familiar flavors with expensive ingredients used for the sole purpose of making the dish seem more "luxurious" without adding much to the taste.
I think it's worth stopping by to see the space because the design really is something special. Maybe for an appetizer or small snack from the à la carte menu. But it's hard to justify a full meal here when there are so many more exciting and original places in Tokyo.