excerpt from the short non-fiction

"Herold without Maud"

©Diana Mae Kimoto 2002

 

I led my friend down a not too respectable looking street in the area known as Pigalle - or Pig Alley as the G I's called it when they liberated Paris - opened a door and stepped into the Ginza. It is incredible how the Japanese can do so much with so little space. In this tiny restaurant was not only Japan but half of my childhood memories. And to top it off the cooking is really good even for those who have never tasted Japanese food! Herold announced that he need to eat meat of the cattle variety. The nearest thing to Texas steaks on the menu was thin slices of beef, Japanese style, but that was OK by him. I ordered a "bento" meal because I wanted to be surprised. I was not disappointed. I was served small portions of various flavors and textures ranging from thin raw fish, burning mustard, to what seem to be crispy crunchy fried air. Even the familiar "gohan" - white rice took on an unusual air because it was accompanied by so many pieces of tasty "jewelry". And the dessert was a artistic masterpiece. It broke more than one traditional rule but tasted too good to dismiss. Yokan - sweet red bean paste - traditionally tastes like it sounds. That is to say you probably have to be born Japanese to appreciate it's subtle strangeness. My mother liked it a lot but I only eat it - and not often - because it reminds me of my mother. The desert was a successful marriage of what my mother liked and what I expected from a sweet. It contained just the right dose of chocolate and the texture was brought up to French taste standards. Cultural pollution? No, artistic license. Abstract painting at it's best. References are no longer obvious, only the culinary emotion remained. I went home happy as a stuffed American pig living in a Ginza alley.

 

TAKA

1 rue Veron

75018 Paris

reservation needed • tel: 01 42 23 74 16

evenings only : 19h30 - 22h30

(closed Sunday,Monday and Holidays)

 

 

Japan | west-east