In a lot of ways, French and Japanese cuisine share certain traits that resonate for both nationalities. They have long been at the pinnacle of fine dining from the respective world in the Eastern and Western divide, known for sophisticated techniques and dedication of chefs to their crafts. It isn’t surprising, then, that a lot of leading restaurants in Tokyo are French while a number of Japanese chefs have made their names in Paris. Abysse is a relative newcomer to the French dining scene in Tokyo that has quickly gained critical acclaim. Located at a discrete residential neighborhood of Aoyama (the space formerly had another renowned French restaurant Florilege before it made a move to Harajuku), it showcases sophisticated seafood-centric French cuisine. I initially set my eyes on Florilege for my French dining in Tokyo, but unfortunately couldn’t get out of the waiting list so I “settled” for Abysse. Well, I would say Abysse was not bad at all. I was very impressed with the food coming out of the kitchen, along with exquisite wine pairings.
The dinner tasting menu at Abysse (9,000 yen per person) seems like a bargain compared to other high-end French restaurants in the city. Seafood is really the focus of the kitchen here, as I barely saw any meat dishes. There were some truly sensational dishes throughout the night. I immediately took notice when the colorful honey yuzu cream with white asparagus, sea urchin and shrimp arrived. It looked like a contemporary painting, and tasted marvelously, with different ingredients working so well together to create unique, complex flavor and texture.
The restaurant’s signature dish of fish and lobster soup didn’t disappoint here. The server told me seven different fish went into the soup, and I was a huge fan of the deeply aromatic flavor of the broth that could melt your heart in a minute. Other dishes were a bit more predictable yet still very well-thought out and executed, from the eel dish that came along with foie gras and Brussels sprouts, to fried octopus accompanied by bamboo shoot, to snapper and tile fish that came with pea and crab sauce. Among the desserts, vacherin with flavor of sakura was absolutely sensational, and I still can’t forget the elegant yet clean flavor of the dish that was so delightful.
If you have a little bit more room to splurge, definitely get the wine pairing options. I’ve some of the best wines by the glass to go along with my food, and the server was quite knowledgeable about each bottle that they brought to the table before pouring on the glass. Unless you speak fluent Japanese, if you would like to make a reservation at a fine-dining establishment in Tokyo, the best approach is always to use the concierge service of a hotel you’re staying at. Abysse has a classy yet not stuffy décor and vibe that will make your dinner a pleasant and comfortable affair, and the services of the staff were attentive without overly formal. If you’re looking for a very good French dining experience in Tokyo, Abysse would be a viable option I would strongly recommend.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: 4-9-9, Minami-Aoyama, Minato Ku, Tokyo