Tomorrow Never Dies at Tableaux, Daikanyama
A Dining Experience To Remember
The sound of crystal glasses clinking, the voices of couples softly chatting, the ladies laughing on the patio... I sit here at Tableaux on a late Friday night having probably the most delicious dinner in my life in a setting that makes me anticipate James Bond's glorious appearance. Welcome to Tableaux, Tokyo's most stylish European-style restaurant.
The building that houses this restaurant in the very heart of Daikanyama, at a glance, isn’t likely to take you thousands of miles away on an imaginary trip. But once you’ve finished walking the red carpet at its entrance and have descended the circular stairs, you find yourself in Europe:
here it’s France, it’s Italy and it’s Spain, and every vibe of it tells you that it’s going to be a night to remember.
Long admired by the foreign community as one of Tokyo’s best high-end restaurants, one feature that never fails to impress about this 24-year-old diner is that it just never stops to improve. From menus revamping every two months and special seasonal dinners (Thanksgiving menu and a whole turkey on the way!), to new wine imports and décor changes, here every tomorrow is different from yesterday. Yet, it still manages to maintain its core values— the class, the exquisite food, the expert staff and stylish ambient, reminiscent of a high-end casino.
Upon my recent visit, I was guided to my seat by the restaurant’s newly appointed Italian General Manager Simone Macri, who — despite having that 007 look (!) — has an impressive career stretching from Armani to Aman and everything in between. So I trusted him to lead me on my dining adventure, which began with his recommendation for a casual drink on Tableaux’s newly built patio.
This open-air coach lounge offering a splendid view of the restaurant’s fountain, is where (and at the bar area) you get to experience one of the newest additions to the restaurant: the Happy Hour, or in the words of a devoted after-work drink appreciator — two joyful hours of champagne, wine, beer and original cocktails, all for ¥500 a glass.
The restaurant’s main dining lounge boasts a spacious gold, white and wine red ambience with wide mirrors and chandeliers, a major change from the previous red walls interior.
“We strive to be classy, though not pretentious,” Simone explained, inviting me to stop staring at the décor and focus on the dinner.
The meals at Tableaux are French-inspired at their core, but with an Italian manager and a restlessly creative executive chef whose culinary passion stretches from California to Denmark and all the way around, the menu changes regularly and it’s filled with exquisite bits and bites from around the globe (of course, beautifully presented and arranged à la France style) that will make you crave for more — regardless of how full you are.
As I was on a mission to try the best on this month’s menu, I asked for the chef’s recommendation for a full-course exhilarating dining experience, and he was ready for the challenge. The first items served on my table were Smorrebrod, or a Danish open sandwich topped with salmon, gorgonzola, beets, fig and walnuts (¥800) and a “small plate” (they’re just being modest) of burrata, served with seasonal persimmons, prosciutto and arugula (¥1,600). Both dishes were enough to make any woman dream of marrying the chef: beautifully presented, meticulously cooked for a burst-in-the mouth exquisite taste, scoring a strike in every culinary ranking one could think of. They were also gone in two minutes.
But that was only a teaser. I knew that I couldn’t visit Tableaux without tasting its signature beef steak, a 250-gram, 55-days dry-aging beef Sirloin steak (¥8,800), which I savored on with the company of house wine (¥900-), recommended by the head bartender from a selection of 200 wine stocks.
The meat is pricey, I get it. But the quality of that steak has the power to turn any vegetarian into a carnivore and inspire a save-up fund for anyone who wants to taste Tokyo’s best steak.
This perfectly charred crust with a blush of pinkness in its center and an optimum quantity of fat nearly melts in your mouth and needs no dressing or garnish (it still has it on the side if you prefer).
It was simply the best I’ve tried in my long meat-on-meat years of touring Tokyo’s best restaurants.
My night at Tableaux ended with a gateau chocolat (¥1,200), a rich heavenly dessert topped with raspberries, golden petals and, quite unexpectedly, Chinese pepper. This dangerous spicy addition helps you absorb the rich sweetness in a double-edge sword result that makes you satisfied and full, yet craving for more.
As I was sipping my last drops of wine (wishing there was more), I looked around at the rest of the guests at the restaurant. There were couples, quietly having dinner, perhaps celebrating a special occasion. There were businessmen having an after-work dinner with colleagues, chatting over wine and cheese. There were men heading to the restaurant’s bar lounge for a cigar and a glass of whiskey. There were women, dressed to impress, perhaps waiting for their dates. Wherever they came from and wherever they were heading to from the next day, they were all sharing a dining experience they would surely not forget. And that includes me.
They know what they’re doing here. And what they’re doing makes you look forward to another day.
SAVVY-EXCLUSIVE DEAL: All Savvy readers can have the chance to taste a full-course dinner at Tableaux for only for ¥5,000 (+tax). Mention Savvy Tokyo when you make a reservation and show this article on your phone when visiting to get this deal.
Address: Sunroser Daikanyama B1, 11-6 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5489-2201 (English-speaking staff available)
Business Hours: 6 p.m. – 12 p.m. (Last order: 10 p.m. for food, 11:30 p.m. for drinks). Open 7 days a week.
Happy Hour: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Average dinner price: ¥7,000/person
Private parties and special anniversary plans available.
The annex cigar and lounge bar “Tableaux Lounge” operates until 2 a.m.
SPECIAL PROMOTION — An elegant high-end European-style diner in the heart of Daikanyama, Tokyo where you can also enjoy Happy Hour drinks for the stylish one-coin price of ¥500.