The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


JULY 2014
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Feast your eyes and all your senses at FLATiRON

By Simon Farrell

As a new member, Tokyo American Club (TAC) kindly offered me a voucher for two people at the slick FLATiRON, where it’s reservations, adults, and kids over 8 only (children allowed on Saturdays).

Warmly welcomed, my companion and I sat facing one of the two large, high-tech teppanyaki-like grills.

Both grills have their own chef, four seats, two sittings, and the same seasonal tasting menu showcasing remarkable variety and creative techniques.

TAC’s two-hour, 10-course treat of molecular gastronomy, open to members and non-members alike, is a fast, interactive performance featuring chemical experiments and tasty morsels from weird and wonderful creations.

Western cutting-edge techniques embrace fresh Japanese ingredients.

I had heard eye-popping tales of fish consommé served in glass-fiber vacuum packs, sous-vide-cooked foie gras (a method of cooking food in plastic bags in a water bath), and juicy duck seasoned with sakura smoke. I couldn’t wait to taste.

In the name of sober journalism, I skipped the ¥5,000–¥8,000 wine pairing, despite TAC’s mighty and tempting vaults of fine Napa and other new world vintages.

The culinary spectacle starts on the dot. But so much happened so quickly and strangely, I couldn’t quite get it all down.

Like a silent Niagara Falls, cold white smoke drifted down as we mixed whimsical cocktails from colorful test tubes. I was often unsure what was going on—the chef’s hands moved deftly like a croupier’s and there was little time to draw breath between courses of snap, crackle, and pop with clever names.

From Japan came fresh wasabi leaves and Hokkaido snow crab, among slimy gels, wobbly mousses, bright powders, and yucky membranes, some armed with tubes and syringes with which to squirt them. My head was soon spinning, and not from alcohol.

The smoke and mirrors, however, are not there to hide the real magic behind the elaborate ice and liquid nitrogen displays—top-quality ingredients and expert kitchen work are obvious too.

We got home feeling wholly satisfied and very entertained—then filled up on toast and noodles.

Days later I was invited by TAC to answer some survey questions, which was rewarded with a fresh FLATiRON voucher that I will use before the spring menu ends on July 21. •

Excerpt from spring menu

stay puft

    chive marshmallow | beluga caviar | C.A.B. tenderloin | pie

007 presents, “the Gai who loved me”

    seasonal shellfish | rose hip | bottarga

Willy Wonka wishes

    caramel | bonbon | bavarois

Cheech & Chongs Cheddar

    mozzarella bocconcini | cauliflower | Jack Daniel’s | grape must

the breakfast club

    N2O | bacon | egg | porcini pancake | fennel


6pm, 8:30pm
Spring menu:
¥10,480 (members)
¥13,300 (non-members)
Plus 8% tax


Simon Farrell is publisher at Custom Media.