An Elegant Evening at Le Bar á Vin 52, Azabu Juban
Looking for a new place for that special date night rendezvous? Le Bar á Vin 52 on the main street of the Azabu Juban is just the place. Upstairs from the Seijo Ishii supermarket, this upmarket bar and bistro is a sophisticated meeting place for friends and lovers alike. With an open kitchen at one end and a casual dining area at the other, Le Bar á Vin 52 is a very relaxing but elegant place to meet.
One of the first things that you may notice is that the wine on offer is significantly upmarket and has prices that reflect it. But most unusually, these wines (think left bank Bourdeaux, St. Emilion, Burgundy and the like) are also offered by the glass. The great houses such as Margaux, Rothschild, Petrus, Canon and many more all vie for your attention. This is a great opportunity to try something really special and not have to worry about breaking the bank if you don’t like it.
The food at Le Bar Vin á 52 is served “assiette” or by the plate. This is a French service style not unlike tapas servings, although here they are larger and more generous than most tapas plates would be. There are several shared plates that can be ordered either as starters to a meal or to be shared with friends over the course of the evening.
The night we visited we started with a glass of champagne and a classic companion dish of black caviar and smoked salmon. This sensational duo will really make you feel like you are out for a night of luxury! Both the caviar and the smoked salmon work well with the champagne.
Our next choice of wine was a perfect white Burgandy, which we paired with a plate of apple, camembert and walnuts, drizzled with some light extra virgin olive oil. The super creamy camembert was offset by the crunch in the apple and nuts.
The printed wine list is only available in Japanese, although the chalkboards around the restaurant adequately show in English what’s available. Whether or not you can read the menu, each wine is identified by its country’s flag and by a simple scale which indicates the body, fruit and acid in each wine. The waiters are happy to help with an explanation of this scale, and armed with this knowledge you can move through the list to find a wine that meets with your personal tastes.
The mood in the bar is relaxed and subdued. Seated at tables for two or more were young women and couples enjoying a very lovely evening. The staff will not rush you off, and if you want to stay to eat dinner here, there is a full menu to choose from. With other plans later in the evening, we stayed for about an hour and a half and thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Address: 2F, 2-2-10 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. (until 5 a.m. Fri and Sat; last order one hour prior to closing)