Autentico Italiano© by John Axelrod Contact

where to find the best italian food outside Italy

A Meal To Last A Lifetime-

What better way to sample the best Italian outside Italy in Japan than to start with the best: the Enoteca Pinchiorri exported from Florence to the heart of the Ginza district in Tokyo. Next to Gucci and Armani on the 7th floor of an unsuspecting department store lies a hidden palace of gastronomic luxury.

Despite deafening crowds and talking neon displays outside, the interior is calm and sophisticated. As is the award winning wine list. Only in an enoteca of this caliber can one order by the glass a wine degustazione menu: a Sammarco '01 from Castello di Rampolla, a '95 Brunello di Montalcino from Banfi and a perfect '97 Solaia from Antinori. Even the amouse bouche is in itself a meal: chilled melon soup, mortadella brioche, mousse of cucumber with honey, and a chocolate layered foie gras. Next came a mousse of foie gras with chestnuts to keep the delicate taste on the palate and was a harbinger of fine things to come.

The meal came in 4 servings. Rather than take the fixed course menu I created my own, careful to choose authenticity over Japanese innovation. What surprises I found! A raw chopped beef with garlic and olive oil with a parmesan crust and black truffles. Lighter than the lightest of tartar. A ricotta, marjoram and walnut sauce ravioli, that melts in the mouth, with a slight lemon zing, to allow the cheese to open to a full dairy flavor. And tuscan wild board, smothered with coffee and honey, saddled with artichokes. A bit heavy on the bite, but a great combination of sweet honey and apples and sour swine and carciofi. No fear of virus here, this pig was a winner. Finally, a dessert menu of variations of chocolate, from mousse to thick fudge. Overall, this was an orgy for the senses, an adventure in Michelin guide madness, a retreat from simple Italian to the level of exaggerated luxury. But I must say it was worth it. Even down to the last Yen, this was a meal sure to last a lifetime.

5-8-20 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo 104-0061