Casual, stand-up bars in French bistros have a long tradition, so when the popular Shibuya stand-bar Buchi decided to open a branch featuring wines rather than sake, it kind of made sense. But rather than just serving a handful of snacks to go with their wines, the kitchen here offers nearly 100 different items, with consistently high quality. You can also choose from more than sixty wines, with some twenty by the glass. And the fun keeps going every night till 3am, perfect for late-night clubgoers and other neighborhood nightowls.
The wine list at Bongout Noh is refreshingly diverse, primarily French but supplemented by a good selection from Italy, Spain and various parts of the New World. Nearly all the wines run between Y2500 and Y4500, with equally reasonable prices by the glass, making this one of the better bargains in Tokyo wine bars.
Once your wine is poured, the food menu may take awhile to read through, but a good place to start if you're ravenously hungry is the "toriazu" section of the menu, featuring quick-service cold starters. Among these is a very tasty, nicely textured duck terrine that's highly recommended. Another good starter is the zucchini fritters - not too greasy, and seasoned with good amounts of garlic and black pepper.
If you're up for more substantial nibbles, the charcoal-grill menu is worth a read. A few of the simpler items, like the grilled game bird served with yuzu-kosho and spicy miso, seem to be more French-inspired than purely French, but they stand out thanks to the high quality of the ingredients. Then there are dishes like the grilled white asparagus - elegantly presented with fluffy scrambled eggs, parmesan shavings and prosciutto slices (great for a late-night breakfast). And the garlicky frog's legs meuniere are about as French as you can get.
The decor at Bongout Noh is simple and modern, with a roomy counter bar and a few tables facing floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the street. A couple of corner tables include railings that you can perch on, and if you get tired of standing around there's a full-service dining room in back, with slightly higher (but still very reasonable) prices and an even bigger wine list of over 100 bottles.
Service is attentive, but the pay-as-you-go policy can be a bit awkward - you have to pony up every time a dish arrives. However, it is nice to be able to just walk out when you're ready to leave. Dishes at the bar average Y700 or so, and mains in the dining room average Y1500. Food menus are in Japanese.
by Robb Satterwhite
This book will introduce you to more than twenty of Japan's favorite specialty foods that are less well known abroad, along with a guide to the best places in Tokyo to try them and expert tips on what to order. From Bento.com.