If you're looking for the best reindeer steak in Tokyo, your search is over. Allt Gott in Kichijoji serves up high-level Swedish cuisine, made from traditional ingredients but prepared with a light, modern cooking style. And thanks to its off-the-beaten-track location, the prices here are much lower than you might expect for food of this quality.
The talented young chef here, Yaguchi-san, manned the kitchen in the popular Gamlastan restaurant on the south side of Kichijoji station, and when Gamlastan's owner picked up and moved to Nagano-ken in 2003 Chef Yaguchi opened his own place here in the back streets behind Tokyu department store. The second-floor dining room is pleasantly spacious and airy, with unpretentious decor. Sixties easy-listening music and light jazz play in the background. Service is prompt and efficient.
The food menu covers a range of Scandinavian standards, with a special emphasis on seafood. The cold appetizers start with boiled ama-ebi (Northern shrimp), seasoned very simply with dill and lemon to better bring out the fresh flavors of the shrimp itself. The cold avocado salad is much more elaborate - basically a Scandinavian guacamole w/ diced shrimp and plenty of herbs, served in a hollowed-out avocado shell.
It's hard to resist good Swedish meatballs (from the warm appetizers section), and the ones here are very tasty. Again, they're nicely herb-infused and served with a thicky gravy full of mushrooms, plus a small dish of tangy lingonberry jam for contrast. They're a good buildup to the reindeer steaks - two fillet steaks (just large enough to share between two people) served with a rich dark-cherry sauce and intensely creamy mashed potatoes, with just a sliver of toasted lotus root topping things off. The meat was very tender and pleasantly gamey, beautifully grilled with lightly charred edges and a juicy center.
Other a la carte choices include venison, chicken, lots of fish (including smoked salmon), and Scandinavian cheeses. If you hate making choices, prix-fixe dinners start at Y3500, with lunches running from Y1500-3500. There's a big dessert tray, and the Allt Gott-style chocolate cake is highly recommended. It's moist but not overly rich, enlivened with a splash of vodka and topped by a layer of good solid chocolate, and served with whipped cream and cherries on the side.
The wine list is small but serviceable and attractively priced (Y3000-6000); we found a nice solid Rioja (Y3600) that went well with just about everything on the menu. For a real Scandinavian end to the meal, there's vodka and a choice of three different aquavits (the Aalborg is our favorite), all served nice and frosty, straight from the freezer.
by Robb Satterwhite
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From Bento.com.