When I visited: May 2016 and February 2018
Location: Tokyo (within the Park Hyatt hotel)
Team: Bryce Shuman (Executive Chef)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated in the Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress
Ambience: Atmospheric, bustling
Course of the meal: ‘Pan-queque’
If I could change one thing: Bring the bill more quickly
The Park Hyatt hotel in Tokyo was the setting for many of the famous Lost in Translation scenes, but does its best to dispel any feelings of alienation with a comforting and hearty menu of wagyu beef in the extremely high-up New York Grill. The restaurant provides amazing views over Tokyo at sunset and after dark, including in our case a red moon (bringing to mind more memories of Star Wars and Coruscant – as opposed to Hakone’s Naboo (see my review of Boutique de qualité et salon de the rosage). There is dark décor with massive art pieces at either end of the roof, a partially open kitchen, and friendly staff. The unique selling point, however, is the live band (singer, pianist, double bassist, and drummer) who really elevate the atmosphere.
The menu changes every few weeks due to an emphasis on seasonal ingredients; on my visit with my partner Owl in May, we enjoyed the ‘nose to tail’ wagyu beef-themed set menu. We started off with a glass each of Louis Roderet champagne (nice and dry) and then moved on to share a bottle of red Californian Syrah wine (Hyde de Villaine 2010) with a very soft, ‘long’ taste. The olive bread was soft, just-baked, and served with butter.
The first course was beef tongue with salad, followed by beef carpaccio served in a ginger heart with peanut sauce and a consommé of beef. Next came brisket beef with dips of chocolate and other sauces and macerated carrot, which complemented the meat perfectly. A standout course was the Wagyu ribeye cut of beef with truffle sauce, but the best course of the meal was undoubtedly the desert – a puntastic ‘Pan-queque’: crème brûlée topping on a Japanese-style rectangular pancake, with cacao ice cream with cream inside and cacao nibs.
We also enjoyed green teas with dessert, after which we tried in vain to get someone’s attention to ask for the bill – this is an annoying trend in many restaurants, Japanese and otherwise, where for some reason the staff ignore you just when you want the bill – maybe to let you enjoy the end of the meal, but I would normally prefer them to give you the bill promptly.
This time, we went for wines by the glass – a white Californian Chardonnay, which was OK, and a red Big Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (which was soft and gorgeous).
Our starters were Hokkaido burrata with toasted pine nuts and miyagi tomatoes and basil pesto salad, and yellowtail crudo with celery, yuzu kosho and kelp oil, which were both suitably light to leave room for the steaks.
We went for the Kagoshima satsuma sirloin and Kobe and duck fat fries and spinach (the sides are big enough to share),. They brought me the wrong sauce but I didn’t really care as I never think good steaks need a sauce anyway and it was included. wrong sauce for me but didn’t care.
The chocolate fondant was an excellent example of a simple dessert executed brilliantly, and was served with vanilla ice cream. The apple pie with thick double cream and ice cream looked OK but obviously not as good as the fondant.
This restaurant is a great choice if you want to enjoy good music, spectacular views and a fun atmosphere in which to celebrate Tokyo and some good-quality American-style food.