L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon: Roppongi Hills
!L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Roppongi Hills / French
Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-10-2, Roppongi Hills Hillside 220.
Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-10pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays
decor: Notable decor
no smoking: No smoking

The concept at this restaurant from renowned French chef Joel Robuchon is to offer simple dishes prepared from top-quality ingredients and served in a casual setting. Seating is at a long, wide counter running the length of the restaurant, and this setup encourages more interaction with the chefs than one typically has at a high-level Tokyo French restaurant.

The dining space is beautifully furnished, with a black, red and chrome color scheme that's complemented by the all-black uniforms of the kitchen staff. The dramatic spot lighting - focused on prep stations and on stacks and jars of colorful ingredients - gives the feeling of being on a stage set.

The structure of the food menu allows for flexibility in one's dining experience - there are small-plate dishes that you can assemble into a varied meal, or you can just drop in for a dish or two along with a glass of wine. There's a good selection of wines by the glass, and both bottle and glass prices are fairly reasonable. The small-plate menu includes dishes like crab ravioli, sea urchin and fennel cream, tuna-belly tapenade, and assorted Italian and Spanish hams.

If you want a more traditionally configured dinner, you can also order from a page of serious main dishes - foie gras brochettes, carmelized quail with pureed potatoes, fried lobster with jasmine and rosemary sauce. (Prices for most mains run Y2500-5000.) If you've got a hearty appetite there's a four-course prix-fixe menu (Y6000) and an ambitious tasting menu (Y12,000).

by Robb Satterwhite
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