Snow-aged delicacies, unforgettable views

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Stepping into the main restaurant of Andaz Tokyo on the 51st floor of Toranomon Hills, you’ll know you’re in a memorable place well before you sit down. Wide windows offer unobstructed views of the metropolis to rival the nearby Tokyo Tower, while the high ceiling with natural skylights afford an airy spaciousness.

As it enters its fifth year, the 108-seat restaurant that was previously known as Andaz Tavern is now beginning a new chapter. In conjunction with the introduction of a new executive chef, it will welcome guests starting mid-April with its new grill theme reflected in its new name, The Tavern — Grill & Lounge.

Executive chef Shaun Keenan brings a wealth of culinary knowledge to the diner’s table. Australian-born Keenan began his culinary training in Sydney with a focus on French cuisine, later immersing himself in Japanese and Korean fare. Consequently, guests will not only find grilled meat and seafood featured prominently on the menu, a testament to his Aussie upbringing, but Japanese ingredients and accents of French as well.

In line with the Andaz philosophy of highlighting indigenous aspects of each hotel’s location, The Tavern — Grill & Lounge has revamped its menu to focus on Japanese ingredients. Alistair Minty, director of food and beverage at Andaz Tokyo, shared that Keenan and his team are “using local produce wherever they can” and offering “recognizable dishes with modern presentation.” That means grilling only Japanese meat for authentic flavors. The restaurant has even set itself apart from the grill house crowd by snow-aging meat and vegetables.

Snow-aging is a traditional Japanese method of preparing meat by storing it in a yukimuro (snow cellar). The technique was developed in regions that experience heavy snowfall, as the snow allows the storehouse to function as a natural refrigerator. The snow also results in natural humidity and a constant temperature that increases the meat’s tenderness and flavor, according to Keenan.

The restaurant offers snow-aged sirloin, as well as grilled chateaubriand steak, a unique cut of the tenderloin. The snow-aged chateaubriand is marinated in olive oil and finished with a herb crust. Uniform, high temperatures cook the meat in a newly installed lava stone broiler grill that seals in each cut’s heavenly juices. The snow-aged beef is also served with sweet snow-aged potatoes.

The new name and grill menu are not the only changes to come. Minty, who is also a sommelier, will display the wine list on an iPad so patrons will have an easier time selecting wines by region or price point. He’s also introducing a new system to offer premium wine by the glass, so guests need not order an entire bottle.

With a straightforward menu, options at various price points, and live jazz music making for a vibrant atmosphere, The Tavern — Grill & Lounge is an ideal spot for any dining occasion.

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