We love to compartmentalize. Compartmentalize other people as well as restaurant styles and cuisines of a certain chef. With Atsushi Tanaka that's not possible, so it's a struggle to define which category to put him in and how to approach his cooking. Is it Japanese? Not really. Modern French? Nope. Nordic? All of the above? None of the above?A.T and Atsushi has had a very distinct, recognizable style for years. The immaculate aesthetics, from the delicate, almost feminine plating to the color scheme of each course. Soft colors that so often just blend with the beautiful crockery. The soft pinks of lobster and fig, the signature grey of peach and marigold flower dessert set, the deep, spruce forest greens of the spectacular squid and elderflower dish and an artist palette of all of the above combined in his iconic camouflage dish, in the latest incarnation with banka trout, juniper and parsley.But if the "Pantone" is all about gentleness, the flavors are exactly the opposite. Bold, deep, strong flavors building on herbs and sorrel and juniper and smokiness. At times you feel like you are taking a walk in the wild untamed Nordic landscape, moving from the deep pine forests to dramatic sea shores. Beautiful, delicate smoked mussels and pine tartelette. A giant meaty oyster hidden under a layer of sorrel and lovage frozen bits. It's a well thought through and very evocative cuisine, the kind Atsushi, if he was a different chef, would sell as his childhood memories of Japan. Or impressions of his (many many) travels. He never tries to, because he prefers to stay in the kitchen, leaving diners to embark on this trip solo. With the help of some amazing bottles of almost strictly natural wines. Chapeau also to AT's longtime sommelier who is serving up some top notch pairings.
French cuisine with a Japanese aesthetics by chef Atsushi Tanaka