Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Salade Nicoise at Aux Bacchanales

It can sometimes be hard to find a good salad in Tokyo. Having grown up in the land of the 2000-calorie salad, I'm used to a huge bowl of greens topped with an equal volume of cheese, tomatoes, hearts-of-palm, and other interesting ingredients. In Tokyo, a salad often means a few mouthfuls of shredded cabbage with a few kernels of corn and maybe some grated radish. Even if it's of decent size for the the inevitably inflated price, it usually comes smothered in dressing. I'm not a big fan of dressing, and would always order it on the side back home - not usually an option here.

So discovering the Salade Nicoise at Aux Bacchanales was a happy surprise. The plate holds a satisfying mound of various types of lettuce leaves, including the pleasantly bitter red radicchio and the gently fuzzy round lamb's leaf lettuce as well as the ordinary curly-edged red and green variety. There are three chunks of tomatoes, three olives, three slices each of boiled egg, potato and cucumber, and a pile of (canned?) tuna topped with a single anchovy (just so you know you're not in America anymore). The dressing comes on the side in a stylish silver pitcher! And at 850 yen, it may not be the best deal in town, but it is cheaper than the surrounding restaurants' salads, and you get a basket of baguette and a long-stemmed glass of water as well, for free - which seems like a steal considering how much it otherwise feels like eating in Europe, with the open courtyard before you and Westerners occupying a good number of the seats around.

Aux Bacchanales
Ark Mori Bdg., 2nd Floor
Minato-ku, Akasaka 1-12-32

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