by Ai Uchida
Maimon Wine & Grill
Oysters aren't the only thing providing pearls
at this luxurious Ebisu eatery
Maimon Wine & Grill looks more like a posh hotel lobby
than it does a grill. Sleek servers dressed in black pantsuits,
gentle spotlights glowing on polished tables and off high
ceilings, even the handwritten name card on our reserved table
made us feel like guests, not just diners. We sat down with
high expectations of a lavish evening of oysters, meat and
As with the other Maimons within the Food Scope enterprise
(most recently noted for the opening of Megu in New York),
the drink menu offered close to two dozen mineral waters from
around the world, page after page of red and white bottled
wines, and a reasonably priced soft drink selection. We toasted
with black Ebisu draft (¥900) and cranberry juice (¥530)
before settling into the medium-bodied red, of Faiveley Macon
Rouge 2002 (¥880), one of only three available wines
by the glass, Fresh sea urchins served in their shell were
our otoshi (¥840).
We decided to splurge on the oysters, because, after all,
that's what we had set out to do and we couldn't
refuse their extensive fresh and cooked selections. We picked
a few promising catch-of-the-days, two from Chiba and two
from Toyama (each ¥1,050). The half shells arrived on
a glowing bed of crushed ice, plump and large as our fists.
The five original condiments were nice accents to their briny
flavor and meaty textures.
Oysters Rockefeller (¥2,120/four) and fried oysters
(¥2,120/four) used smaller domestic oysters. The famous
white cream sauce on the Rockefellers was browned like a rich
gratin and the mollusk had the delicate texture of foie gras.
Vinegary tartar sauce complemented the fried versions, juicy
and hot from the fryer.
Like a good hotel, Maimon obviously sees the benefits of
a well-trained service staff. Our server, probably in her
late 20s, was knowledgeable, friendly and quick-witted. We
learned that the rest of the staff followed in her footsteps,
as a request here or there never disrupted the fluid motion
of the restaurant performing their nightly culinary entertainment.
Having satiated our oyster craving, we dabbled in the restaurant's
other offerings. Skewered wagyu beef (¥1,680) was tender
and flavored with sweet miso. Grilled chicken thigh with balsamic
vinegar (¥2,100), not elaborately dressed, allowed us
to enjoy the tender goodness of the free-range birds from
Hinai. Unfortunately the California rolls (¥1,580) fell
apart in our hands and the rice was too intense in flavor,
but the Caesar salad (¥1,050) was perfectly garlicky
and cheesy. We wrapped our evening up with the refreshingly
bitter iced coffee (¥530) balancing out the overly sweet
tofu-sesame mousse (¥740). As we bid farewell, our waitress
handed us our name card, which invites us to complimentary
wine on our next visit. No doubt we'll be making reservations
the next time we have an appetite for oysters as well.
7F CONZE Ebisu, 2-3-14 Ebisu-Minami,
Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5773-2244. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-3am, Sun and
hols 5-11pm. Nearest stn: Ebisu.
Photos courtesy of Maimon
Wine & Grill