I here is not much you can’t p do at the new Roppongi Hills complex, and if you want to “Love, Live, Eat,” then head to the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill where that is the philosophy.
Austrian-born Puck was the founder of Californian fusion cuisine, combining European and Asian influences in innovative recipes at his Spago restaurant in Hollywood. He is a culinary icon in the U.S., with a chain of restaurants and his own TV show on the Food Network. He is also the official caterer for the Academy Awards.
With Wolfgang Puck Cafes, he embraced the casual dining some and brought his brand to Japan with a restaurant in Ark Hills, Akasaka.
The Bar & Grill in Roppongi Hills is a more up-market dining experience, with an innovative design, elegant atmosphere and, of course, many of Wolfgangs trademark original recipes. I asked him about his latest venture in Japan:
John Domokos: What is the best part of your work?
Wolfgang Puck: The opportunity to work in the kitchen every day.
JD: What draws you to Japan?
WP: I love the culture, the food, the politeness of the people and the fact that I’ll always find new ideas for my profession.
JD: What food must you eat when you are here?
WP: I love traditional kaiseki dinners and, naturally, fresh sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market.
JD: What do you recommend to your typical Tokyo diners?
WP: I always try to convince them to eat a variety of our classic dishes such as pizza with smoked salmon, risotto with shrimp, and, of course our wonderful Szechwan beef. And don’t forget to leave room for dessert because Sherry Yard is our pastry chef, and she was recently voted number one in the United States.
JD: How do you use the seasons in Japan?
WP: I have not experienced the seasons in Japan completely, but growing up in Austria and then in France, it was certainly interesting to experience the flow of the seasons, which reflects totally on the menu.
JD: What will be special about the new restaurant in Roppongi Hills?
WP: I believe having Naoki Uchiyama as chef de cuisine at the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will make this restaurant one of the best in Japan. Naoki has a great sensitivity to the right balance of East and West in the kitchen, so I really feel our new restaurant will reflect the best of what Japan and the U.S. have to offer.
JD: Tell us about the design of the new place.
WP: The design is really the backdrop to great food and great service. It is the happy customer who makes the ambiance of the restaurant inviting and exciting. So I always believe great food, great service and wonderful customers put into the right space, will make a successful restaurant.
JD: What’s the future of dining in Tokyo and what are your plans?
WP: I believe that Tokyo is ready for a restaurant such as ours which combines my style of cooking and Naoki’s style of cooking, using the best ingredients you can find in Japan. We hope to be very successful in Roppongi Hills and to use this restaurant as the springboard for expansion in Japan and other countries in Asia.
JD: What will you do in your free time here?
WP: I will educate myself about new ingredients we can find at the vegetable market, or the fish market. Also, to go to exciting Japanese restaurants, visit some shrines and temples and hopefully still see a few cherry blossoms.
WOLFGANG PUCK BAR & GRILL Roppongi Hills
Hollywood Plaza 2F, 6-4-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-4786-9630, www.wp-japan.jp
WOLFGANG PUCK CAFE
Ark Mori, Bldg 1F 1-12-32 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
WOLFGANG PUCK CAFE, Jr
Prudential Plaza 1F, 2-13-10 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo