洋食:Tsubame Grill, Kobe Doria & Wolfgang Puck's Pizza

Many restaurants that sell Western food here mostly adopt a fusion concept rather than purely sticking to the origins( that is purely French or Italian or British, etc). Of course those that feature purely Italian or French cuisine can be found in such a cosmopolitan city like Tokyo but be prepared to pay for the cost of a luxurious fine-dining experience.

Well, this post is a snapshot of the fusion food here that mostly cater to the local working adults, students or family. 3 restaurants will be covered here. They have franchises all over Japan but I must say that they tasted better than Sazeriya.

神戸元町ドリア あみプレミアムアウトレット店は、茨城県にあるドリア専門のお店です。

First up, its the Kobe Doria and their tasty claypot rice.  The creamy baked rice here is actually the western style rather than the Singapore style. However, unlike the italian baked rice, the amount of cheese used in the sauce base is much reduced. Therefore, it is unlikely to get sick of the cheesy sauce, but rather the more you eat, the tastier the rice gets.

They offer affordable set lunches. For 1180 Yen (excluding taxes), there is the main rice, drink (not in diagram), salad and choice of dessert and/or a side  potato) 

The potatoes here are very special because they are not fried like chips or as a whole topped with sour cream. Rather, they are either baked or steamed and that might result in its very soft texture. Probably a healthy alternative to deep fried wedges. However, the dessert of the day, white yuzu panna cotta, was disappointing. Rubbery and had an artificial taste. It left a deep impression because it is difficult to find a below average dessert in Tokyo.

焼きなすと熟成ベーコンのトマトクリームドリア (set lunch)
Grilled Eggplant with Bacon in Tomato Cream Doria

ぷりぷり海老の伊勢海老風味クリームドリア 1180円(ala carte)
Ebi Prawn Seafood Cream Doria

若鶏と新鮮きのこの和風クリームドリア 880円 (ala carte)
Chicken and Fresh Mushrooms Japanese style Cream Doria

Each doria is specially baked and served with an empty bowl so that it is more convenient for the customers to dig the rice and place it in the bowl. The restaurant was crowded with people even though it was past lunchtime. However, though the food was piping hot and delicious, be prepared to wait very long before digging in.

Next up, it is the world celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's restaurant. He has opened CUT, a very very expensive fine dining restaurant serving grill and steaks at Marina Bay Sands. However, the concept he has adopted for his restaurants here is a much more family oriented. The slogan is "Live" "Love" and "Eat".

The place that we've visited was Wolfgang Restaurant at LUMINE, Shinjuku. The place sells California Cuisine like pizzas, burgers, meats, pastas and risottos. In fact, there are also Wolfgang Cafe, Wolfgang Express styled for our customers that want to experience some of the most popular dishes made famous by Wolfgang and enjoy them in a contemporary with friendly service.) and also Wolfgang American Kitchen.

And why did we enter the restaurant? Because we saw this poster at the door! It had been recommended on a Japanese Variety Show. Strange as it sounds, the smoked salmon pizza had been awarded the US Academy Award! 

US Academy Smoked Salmon Pizza (the real full name of this pizza)
9 inch-1500 Yen 
Good for sharing between 2 people.

So how did it fare?
The salmon slices were generously layered on top of the dill cream. The pizza base is very different from the pizza at Osteria Mozza MBS. It is considered a thin layer pizza but certainly not as thin as the Skinny pizza. It is less chewy but crunchier. There were no pores or baked lumps around the pizza crust and so it really depends on what kind of pizza you prefer. The combination of salmon and dill cream is hard to go wrong and so i would not say that this is the best tastiest pizza. Nonetheless, one can go ahead and figure out what makes it win the academy award (I still do not know the answer myself)

Mud Chocolate Cake 400Yen
Very rich  and sinful chocolate cake that tasted like a brownie. 
However, I would suggest that one should avoid desserts in restaurants here as there are really many good patisseries shop located at the basement of department stores. They serve better value-for-money cakes=)

In short, if only Wolfgang Puck could open such a more affordable restaurant in Singapore and not only opening the CUT at MBS......

Last but not least, it is the western grill restaurant,Tsubame Grill, that has another long history that can be traced till pre-World War 2. 

つばめ( Tsu-ba-me) was actually named after a train "特急つばめ”which first departed from Tokyo Station on 1st Oct 1930. The shop was opened at the Shimbashi stop, which that train service would pass by. To commemorate the train, the shop was thus named Tsubame Grill.

The signature dish of the restaurant is the Hamburger Steak, which already existed since 1974. At the point of time, it was not served in such posh hot grill plates, but rather, each hamburger steak was wrapped in aluminium foil. Another popular item is the Beef Stew. No additional chemical preservatives or flavouring is added to every single dish on its menu. Even up till now, they are continued with cooking the hamburger steak in aluminium foil as they believed this would bring out the best flavour of the meat. 

和風ハンブルグステーキセット 1480円
Japanese Hamburger Steak with Mustard and Shoyu and Baked Potato (Dinner Set with soup and rice/bread)
This time, no one ordered the Tsubame Steak but the Japanese style Hamburger Steak instead. This comes as part of the dinner set that includes soup and rice. The hamburger steak is made of minced beef and vegetables and thus the texture is very soft. The seasoning was just right and paired well with the Japanese Shoyu. They are quite generous with the rice as they serve one whole plate of it.
The pumpkin soup that comes along with the dinner set
Pumpkin is featured nowadays since it is the seasonal vegetable and Halloween is approaching.

Scallop Croquette (ala carte)
This is actually one of the 6 main signature dishes featured on their regular menu. The croquette is freshly made and was extremely creamy. It was thoughtful to pair the fried croquettes with tartar sauce, pumpkin mash and generous warm vegetables (instead of cold salad)

Aomori Scallops
For most croquettes, the meat is very little or literally invisible. But here, one can get chunks of fresh scallops! They actually put in effort to describe in detail how each one was made. For more details, click : http://www.tsubame-grill.co.jp/menu/menu03.html

In short, Grill Tsubame is a place where the freshness of the food will not be compromised and a place with cosy ambience for family, groups or couples.