French Cuisine: Dinner at Gentil

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sake, shochu and sushi



At long last, I found the right occasion to enjoy a full dinner at Gentil in Shzuoka City!
This is the oldest and best (with consequent prices) French Restaurant in town and most probably in the whole Prefecture.
Both the Maitre d’Hote, Ms. Keiko Kubota and her assistant, Ms. Keiko Nakagwa are Wine and Cheese Sommeliers of renown in Japan.
As I mentioned before, Ms. Keiko Kubota is the only the sole Japanese holding the title of Compagnon d’Honneur de Taste Fromage in Japan, but she was asked to choose, prepare and serve the cheeses offered to all these vey important people at the G8 Summit held last July in Hokkaido.

I did not bother looking at the menu and left all the choices of food and wines to Ms. Kubota.
As we were only two of us, I requested wine to be served by the glass from fine bottles, a very rare possibility in this country (it is not much of a problem as customers in Gentil drink a lot of wine!)
The first offering was white Bourgogne, Chablis 2006, Louis Latour, La Chanfleure.
I wil spare you the details about wine as I was busy enough jotting down explanations about food. Just that all the wines were chosen to a perfection!

The amuse bouche consisted of a sakura ebi/sakura shrimp (found only in Shizuoka. Expect a hefty bill if you are served them in Tokyo!) Quiche and a gobo/Japanese burdock soup served as a capuccino.
I will spare you from reading lengthy prose on the taste and so on. I just hope you will understand that sometimes savouring is far more important than erring into tart comments!

The first hors d’oeuvre was a marriage of:
Ishidai/snapper sashimi with fried renkon/lotus roots
Seared (tataki) venison carpaccio topped with fresh and fried Autumn onions.
When land and sea end up in the same fashion on a plate!

The next glass was a white Bourgogne, Macon-Villages, 2007, Les Tilles, Domaine Sainte-Barbe.

The second hors d’oeuvre was Matoya Oyster (considered as the best variety in Japan) slightly sauteed on a bed of spinach.

It was time for our first glass of red wine: Bourgogne again, Saint-Romain, 2005, Sous le Chateau by Pascal Brunion-Bonheur.

Pasta is not the prerogrative of Italians, (as Rowena will agree?) as demonstrated with this cold Kobashira/Round Clam Round Twin Muscles Capellini!

Great fish is plentiful along our coasts as vindicated by this Madai/Madai snapper first sauteed on its skin and then served en nage on top of a succulent vegetables soup.

The next wine saw the apparition of the “enemy” (don’t believe it, I always point out I hail from Bourgogne! I love Bordeaux, too, but don’t tell my family!): Bordeaux Haut-Medoc 2004, Chatau Real.

Time for the Cremant de Bourgogne Granite!
This granite was of a special meaning for me as it was a Cote Chalonnaise wine, my very home: Cremant de bourgogne, Domaine de la Tour Lajole. I do not have to tell you that for once I ate very slowly!

Now, the “main” dish was a rare treat:
Ris de Veau/Sweetbreads and Foie gras both sauteed with a Madeira wine sauce and mushrooms including chanterelles, eringe, and gobo/Japanese burdock. Some people would kill for that single dish!

Before we attacked the Cheese tray featured at the top of this posting (we had a chunk of each!) we were served a (in my case two) glass of Saint-Emilion 1998 (extravagant!) Dassault Grand Cru!

And now the cheese:

Follow the “N”!
Bottom left: Sakura (Swiss Brown Cow’s milk/Hokkaido)
Centre left: Selles sur Cher(Goat’s milk/France)
Top left: Bon de Sologne (Goat’s milk/France)
Top centre: Chevre/Goat Cheddar(Canada!)
Bottom centre: Bleu d’Auvergne (Cow’s milk/France)
Bottom right: Mont d’Or (Cow’s milk/France)
Centre right: Comte Extra (Cow’s milk/France)
Top right: Red Stilton (Cow’s milk/England)

Yes, we had dessert!: Mont Blanc and Cassis Sorbet/Sherbet.

I did have a couple of Banyuls with my coffee, but I gave as far as pics were concerned!
Best dinner of the year!

Restaurant Gentil
Address:420-0031 Shizuoka Shi, Gofuku-cho, 2-9-1, Gennan Kairaku building, 2F
Tel.: 054-2547655 (Reservations advisable)
Fax: 054-2210509
Opening hours: 12:00~14:00, 18:00~last orders for meals at 21:30. Bar time 18:00~23:30. Closed on Mondays.
Credit cards OK
Homepage (Japanese)

Sakura Ebi: Autumn Catch

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(Shizuoka Shinbun)

November 5th saw the first haul of Sakura ebi/Cherry blossom Shrimp of the Autumn being auctioned at Yui Harbour and Oikawa Fish Market.
12 tonnes were sold, that is about three times as much as last year.
Stocks have been plentiful thanks to very strict enforcement of catch limits self-imposed by the Sakura Ebi Fishermen Association, the first-ever such association in the whole of Japan to impose such voluntary limits of their catches!
Sakura Ebi are exclusively caught in the middle of Suruga Bay.
They are sucked into the boats directly from the nets, ensuring a later release of all unwanted catch live and unharmed into the sea.
Who said the Japanese were depopulating the sea?