Tokyo Food Page
Ajirutei/
Akasaka: Wine bar
₯3505-2399
€Data
Somewhere between
bistro and beer hall
lies the ambiguous
territory of the
wine izakaya. Ajiru-
tei occupies a space
that looks as though
it was once a sports
bar. Despite the
cheerful red walls
and various pieces
of wine paraphernal-
ia - wine crates,
bottles, and posters
from the movie
"Sideways" - scat-
tered throughout,
the interior retains
some of the charac-
ter of its previous
incarnation. The
ghost of a dartboard
lingers behind the
decorative platter
bearing a map of
France on one wall,
and one can easily
imagine team-logo
mugs in the nooks
where wine bottles
now stand.

Significantly more
impressive than the
decor is the selec-
tion of wines from
around the world.
Around ten are
available by the
glass (Y500-, with
bottles starting at
Y2500), and selec-
tions change daily.
There's no list, but
the peppy waitstaff,
clad in burgundy
polo shirts and
green aprons, are
happy to make recom-
mendations based on
your preferences. On
a recent visit, we
were presented with
several interesting
choices: a Gruner
Veltliner from Aus-
tria, a Silvaner
from Germany, and a
Pinot Noir from
Oregon. All were a
refreshing departure
from the standard
offerings of Caber-
net Sauvignon and
Chardonnay.

The food menu re-
veals more Gallic
tendencies, featur-
ing rustic dishes
such as homemade
pork rillets and
pate de campagne in
hefty portions. The
bean cassoulet is
generously laden
with a chicken thigh
and sausage, while
the Caesar salad
comes draped in thin
slices of salt-cured
ham. The mushrooms
in garlic beg for a
second basket of
warm focaccia
brushed with olive
oil, to sop up the
juices. Everything
is consistently well
prepared, if not
exactly gourmet
fare.

Popular among the
after-work crowd,
the restaurant fills
up quickly on week-
days, so it's best
to call ahead. Bud-
get Y4000-5000 for
food and drinks.
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Minato-ku, Akasaka
3-10-4, Gessekai
Bldg 2F.  Open 5-
11:30pm (LO). Closed
Sundays.
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