Crescent is situated in an attractive Victorian style building in Minato-ku that was built in 1947, with the restaurant itself operating since 1968. The dining room is a flight of steps up from street level, with a lounge to wait in and have a drink before eating. The dining room has an attractive view over the trees of nearby Shiba park.
Head chef Isogai Takashi is from Niigata Prefecture and graduated from the Tsuji Culinary School before working at restaurants in Tokyo and Fukuoka before stints in Europe from 1986 for eleven years at prestigious restaurants such as Au Crocodile in Brussels, Auberge de L'Aubergade in Puymirol, Troisgros in Roanne and Pres des Eugenie in Eugenie Les Bains, and even a spell under Fredy Girardet when he was cooking at Hotel de Ville in Crissier. He has been head chef of Crescent since 1997. It has held two stars in the Michelin guide since 2009.
The wine list was mostly but not entirely French, with predictably prestigious growers and somewhat chunky mark-ups in places. Sample labels were the pleasant Marc Kreydenweiss Riesling Weibelsberg 2009 at ¥12,000 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for about ¥3,000, the lovely Guigal Chateau d'Ampuis 1999 at ¥35,000 compared to a retail price of around ¥17,000, and Vega Sicilia Unco 2000 at ¥64,000 for a wine that will set you back roughly ¥43,000 in a shop at the time of writing.
The meal began with an attractively presented tomato mousse and jelly encased in a cube of tomato, with plum oil foam. The mousse had silky texture and the tomato had lovely, deep flavour (easily 17/20). Bread rolls on the side had very good texture (16/20). This was followed by marinated pieces of scallop with bamboo shoots and summer truffle in a saffron sauce. The bamboo was fine but the scallops were a touch on the chewy end of the spectrum and lacked sweetness (14/20).
The meal got back in track with lightly cooked salmon trout with extra virgin olive oil sauce, crisp fish skin and spring vegetables. The vegetables in particular were of very high quality, the salmon having good flavour (16/20). Beef from Hokkaido came with an assortment of spring vegetables including purple carrot, white and green asparagus, turnips, onion, radish and morels stuffed with onion mousse. The beef was spectacularly good, with glorious flavour, distinctly beefy in contrast to some of the over-marbled Japanese beef that can taste more like butter than beef. The vegetables were equally impressive, the asparagus fabulous and the morels particularly lovely. I have had many worse dishes in three star restaurants than this (19/20). A pescatarian alternative was tender lobster with the same superb vegetables.
Dessert was blood orange in assorted ways: mousse, sorbet, crisp tulle and with crepes. The oranges themselves had great flavour and the various textures worked very well together, showing off the considerable skills of the pastry chef (18/20). Petit fours were top class too: a trio of macarons involved yuzu, green tea and one with hazelnut and brown sugar. These came with a strawberry jelly, orange peel with chocolate, cherry and tomato with milk chocolate coating, Chinese gooseberry with white chocolate and a nice pastry. These were top of the range mignardise (18/20). Coffee was rich and entirely devoid of bitterness.
The bill came to ¥48,470 for two, which works out at £156 including good wine and pre-dinner drinks. Service was extremely attentive, with flawless topping up, though little English was spoken. Crescent was a very enjoyable experience, with a smart room and particularly impressive ingredients. Other than one dish, this was solid two star level cooking overall.
Crescent is myself and my wife's top resturant not only in TOKYO, but other places like Hong Kong (where I live), Singapore and Europe. Always a pleasant experience even after so many times. Highly recommended ..
Fabulous review. I really like your system and the way you explain the dishes.