Restaurant Crescent クレッセント
The two-Michelin-starred Crescent is one of my favorite French restaurants in Tokyo so far. The restaurant located in a vintage house built in 1947 near Shiba Park, where Tokyo Tower locates. It was an antique shop at that time until Restaurant Crescent was opened after the extension of the building in 1957.
Master Chef Isogai Takashi was born in Niigata Prefecture. After he graduated from Tsuji Culinary School, he started to work at Shinkaida of Ookura Hotel and Hana No Ki in Fukuoka until he left for Europe in 1986. In the later ten years, he further strengthened his skills at the top resestaurants in Europe includes L'Aubergade (Pyumirol), Le crocodile (Strasbourg), Michel Guerard (Eugenie-les-Bains), Michel Troisgros (Roanne) and Girardet (Lausanne). He was pointed as the head chef at Crescent in 1997.
The current restaurant has 5 floors above ground as well as 2 basement floors. Before the table was ready, i was invited to have a glass of welcome tea at the waiting room on the ground floor. Few minutes later, the manager took me to the main dining room on the second floor by lift.
To be honest, since i stepped into the restaurant, i felt the atmosphere was a bit bizarre to me. More importantly, i was dining alone that night! Good thing was that, the entire main dining room was occupied, although i was seating alone at the corner at another side, the only table :(
Crescent opens for lunch only on Saturdays, and dinner from Mondays to Saturdays serving three dinner courses. MENU DE MARCHE with 5 dishes at 19400 JPY, MENU DE CRESCENT with 7 dishes at 27000 JPY, and a chef's special 7-course MENU DE CONFIANCE at 32400 JPY. The special menu was black truffle course when i visited in February which didn't really interest me, thus i had the 27000 JPY course.
After serving the amuse bouche, the first dish was the signature mousse and jelly of tomato with plum oil sauce. Outside the tomato cube was tomato jelly, inside was tomato mousse, the entire bite has a deep tomato flavor with a lovely hint of the plum oil. The texture was very silky. Absoutely love it!
Three kinds of breads was served throughout the meal, one different roll followed by another, and i'm sure they have few more if i still have room for more. All the breads were pretty good quality especially the baguette and chia seed roll.
Next course was sautéed lobster on a bed of buttery lobster broth puree, the lobster itself was juicy and delicious. On the side were a seasonal salad with black truffle, and deep-fried crepes stuffed with cheese. The combination of this dish was as good as it looks, even the salad was well-seasoned and great on the flavor side with the help of black truffle.
The meal continued with the consomme soup of Japanese turtle. It smells incredible when it was arrived at the table. The soup was clear but so deep in tastes.
My favorite dish of the meal was the boiled Ezo-abalone with bearnais sauce on the bottom. The abalone was really bouncy and lip-smacking good with the sauce, white truffle on the top added gives it more aromas. On the side was boiled new-harvest onions, it was incredibly sweet and smooth without any fiber.
For the main (meat) course, i was asked to choose from wagyu, lamb and the French veal. I picked the French veal although i am not a big fan of veal, but i don't eat lamb, and i'm quiet bored of Japanese Wagyu. The dish was finished with assorted mushroom sauce and a side of frilled vegetables. I never had too much expectations about veal dishes, same for this one. It was well grilled but the texture of veal was never to my liking (at least wherever i've been to). But the tastes was not bad at all.
A selection of fine cheeses was also included in the menu after the main course. After that was the classical earl grey creme brûlée which really impressed me. Dessert was a beautiful combination of sandwiched marinated strawberry, fresh cream, lemon custard, meringue and yogurt orange sorbet on the side. The flavors and textures were fabulous.
It was past 10pm after i finished the dessert, and i didn't expected to see a wide spreads of petit fours arrived at my table with a choice of tea or coffee: a plate of assorted macarons and candies, the signature pudding with chocolated orange peel, and a doze of freshly baked madelaines. I couldn't stop myself from such appealing sweets - especially the pudding, the pastry was really buttery and marvellous. Madelaines also showcase the great skills of the pastry chef, however i couldn't finished them and packed the rest back to hotel.
It was an enjoyable experience at Cresent. Usually i prefer modern/Japanese French cuisines over more traditional French cuisines such as Crescent, but this changed my mind in some ways. The dishes looks oldie (as well as the decor) but i was quite impressive with the tastes. The service was also impeccable, the manager took me upstairs after the meal and showed me the private rooms. All the private rooms can see the beautiful Tokyo Tower in the evening. I would definitely love to come back again.
Address: 1-8-20 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Lunch Saturday 12:00-15:30, Dinner 17:30-22:30 L.O.20:30