Smart, cutting-edge California-influenced cuisine is the driving force behind Cardenas (Hiroo), Cardenas Chinois (Nishi-Azabu), and now Cardenas Charcoal Grill, the beautiful Ebisu restaurant that opened in early September 2000. The extensive grill menu here includes Hida Takayama beef steaks, lamb, chicken, fish and seafood - all deftly grilled and imbued with a charcoal flavoring that's bold but not overpowering. The grilled smoked salmon with parmesan risotto was simply magnificent, with perfectly balanced flavors, and the barbecue lamb shish-kebab was prepared with a hefty dose of garlic and spices to keep things interesting. Cardenas' starters and side dishes hold their own too - the tagliatelle in wild mushroom cream sauce (Y1200) was especially noteworthy.
The mostly California wine list was carefully assembled, starting with a pleasant Y3000 house wine, although prices start to climb quickly from there. Tables are well separated, and the large two-story space is unusually luxurious for Tokyo - there's an upstairs bar area, plus cozy balcony tables that look out over the entrance moat and down onto the main dining room. There are also two private rooms downstairs for small groups.
Dinner with drinks will probably start at around Y6000 per person, although you can also splash out on some high-end wines and wagyuu steaks and spend several times that, if you're so inclined.