If you’re a foodie, you’re without a doubt familiar with the reputed Troisgros restaurant. At the forefront of this legend is a family whose secrets are passed down from father to son. In 1967, Pierre Troisgros decided to embark on an international adventure, and set off for a country that I particularly adore: Japan. During my most recent visit to Tokyo in March, I had the pleasure of dining at the Michelin two-starred restaurant, Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros. I’ll tell you all about my exceptional experience!
2018 is a special year for La Maison Troisgros: it’s the 50th year that the restaurant has held three stars, a record for this restaurant located near Roanne, France. The story of the Troisgros family goes back to the 1930s: 4 generations of chefs have taken over, one after the other, to create this model of French cuisine as we know it today. Their 50-year achievement honors the incredible talent of the family’s cooks, but also their exceptional continuity. No hiccups, no flaws – they haven’t lost a star for even a second.
In terms of their cuisine, they advertise a certain purity: “the taste of legibility and simplicity” has been this family of chefs’ motto for decades. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find originality and creativity in their dishes. Their priority is finding the essence, a certain minimalism, which never fails to attract clients to this restaurant known throughout France.
The Japanese adventure began in 1967, when Pierre Troisgros sought international renown. He was a trailblazer for opening a foreign restaurant in the Land of the Rising Sun; at the end of the 60s, very few chefs made that leap. In Japan, he discovered a new approach to cuisine, particularly in terms of preparing fish and seasoning his dishes. In 1984, he opened two boutiques in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo’s most dynamic districts.
2006 saw the opening of the restaurant Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros in the very luxurious Hyatt Regency hotel. Chef Lionel Beccat took the reins when the restaurant was launched, and in 2012 Guillaume Bracaval took over. This French chef gained his practical experience in the most prestigious Parisian establishments, working with (among others) Alain Passard at “L’Arpège,” Christian Le Squer at “Ledoyen,” and Bernard Pacaud at “L’Ambroisie.” He then joined the Troisgros family in Roanne until, in 2012, he flew off to Japan to become head chef at Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros. In this restaurant with its contemporary French cuisine, he places an emphasis on citrus fruits, herbs, and spices, with a subtle Japanese flair.
When I enter the restaurant room, I’m delighted by the atmosphere: it’s warm and welcoming, thanks in large part to the presence of wood accents, soft lighting, and bookshelves filled with old French cookbooks. We begin the evening with glasses of champagne, sipping on them while reviewing the Pas à Pas (“Step by step”) set menu: we’re going to explore the Troisgros spirit in 11 courses, all of them accompanied by wines recommended by the sommelier.
We wait in the starting blocks for the parade of dishes to begin. We’re offered a few hors d’oeuvres before the arrival of the appetizer: the “Leche de tigre” sea bream, named for the marinade used to season the pieces of raw fish. It’s cool, refreshing, and subtle! Next, we try white asparagus flavored with benimadoka (a Japanese citrus fruit) and shungiku (edible Japanese chrysanthemum), followed by sawara (a fish similar to mackerel) marinated in a miso sauce, another sign of the Japanese influence. With each dish, we find the simplicity espoused by the Troisgros name, as well as a very elegant presentation.
Next comes my favorite course: l’agneau de lait (“milk lamb”) in all its forms! My husband I both adore it! It’s delicious, delicate, and in short a delight for the taste buds. After that, it’s time for cheese, a moment that we’ve been looking forward to; don’t forget, we’ve been away from France since November, and we’re experiencing severe cheese withdrawal! A cheese platter arrives with French and Italian selections, as well as some uncommon and highly interesting Japanese cheeses.
For dessert, pastry chef Michele Abbatemarco enchants us with his creations. We begin with a maple syrup panna cotta with pears, apples, dates, and honey, before digging into a second treat well-suited to its name: Envie de fraicheur (“Longing for freshness”), made with meringue and lime ice cream. We can taste the multinational inspirations for this chef, who has worked in France, Monaco, and his native Italy.
I was of course curious to discover the work of the Troisgros family, which has been a true pillar of French cuisine for many decades. Exploring this legend of French gastronomy, combined with influences from Japan, was pure happiness! I particularly adored the lamb, of which I still have many delicious memories (even as I write these words)! I also greatly appreciated the chance to discover 100% Japanese products, such as certain wines and cheeses. What’s more, the restaurant décor was truly very elegant and welcoming, a guarantee that we would spend an exceptional gourmet evening there.
- More information available on their website
- “Pas à Pas” menu at 25000 yens (190€)
- Open everyday except on Tuesday and Wednesday
Thank you to the restaurant Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros for the invitation to explore their establishment. Of course, the content of this blogpost was left entirely up to me!