"Cheese makes you happy!" declares the sign at the entrance to Racler, and we certainly can't argue with that sentiment. This popular cheese-focused restaurant specializes in fondues, raclette plates, cheesy pastas and side dishes like frozen blue-cheese salad. The drinks list features gourmet lemonades, organic herb teas and reasonably priced wines by the glass or bottle.
The signature dish - gooey melted raclette cheese from Switzerland, layered on top of grilled meats and/or vegetables - is the main draw here, and is highly recommended. The fondue is another attractive option, served with photogenic seasonal vegetables like red daikon radish, brussels sprouts and endives. Both the raclette and fondue are more filling than they look, so we'd advise choosing one or the other but not both.
The frozen blue cheese salad is also surprisingly dense, with substantial amounts of chopped vegetables in addition to the greens. The fresh mozzarella-strawberry caprese with orange sauce is much lighter, although the sauce makes it sweeter than the usual starter. Alsatian four-cheese tarte flambee is a nice balance of sweet and savory, with a drizzling of honey complementing the savory cheese topping.
We were impressed by the non-stop table service here - waiters dab honey onto your tarte flambee, dispense copious amounts of melted raclette cheese over your vegetables, and launch cascading waterfalls of grated blue cheese over your salad. All this personal tableside attention adds a slightly luxurious, indulgent touch to a meal here.
On the other hand this isn't a place to while away the hours - on busy evenings there's a two-hour time limit, so don't be surprised if your dishes arrive in rapid succession, and you're asked for your last order an hour into your meal. Fortunately there are plenty of spots close by where you can retreat for an after-dinner drink. Budget around Y2500-3500 at dinnertime, and Y1200-2000 for lunch.
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.