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Friday, Nov. 18, 2011

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TOKYO FOOD FILE

Fresh-baked bread to suit every dish on the menu


Bread and wine: what a great combination. We cannot live on either alone, but put the two together — along with an easygoing attitude and a tasty side menu of home-cooked snacks — and that's the recipe that makes Ahiru Store one of our favorite little wine bars in the city.

It's a modest place, just a single counter with eight bar stools, plus standing room for the same number again at a squeeze. Owner/sommelier Teruhiko Saito has put together a fine little cellar of lesser-known wines, all organic or biodynamic, almost all French and priced to please (with few over ¥6,000) and eight by the glass (from ¥800).

Saito runs Ahiru Store along with his sister Wakako, and together they share the kitchen duties. Every day they turn out a great selection of fresh-baked breads that go perfectly with the wine and bar food. We love nibbling on the baton-crisp grissini, which come draped with a few slices of prosciutto. We're also partial to the hearty seafood potage and the large, peppery sausages (pictured right), which are ground, stuffed and cooked in-house.

Over the past four years, we have watched Ahiru Store change from a quiet neighborhood hangout to a place that attracts citywide mass-media exposure. Despite the 10-minute walk from the subway, some days lines start to form outside well before opening time. Kudos to the Saito siblings for remaining just as friendly and welcoming as ever.

Ahiru Store, 1-19-4 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5454-2146. Open Mon.-Sat. 6 p.m.-midnight; closed Sun. Nearest station: Yoyogi-Koen (Chiyoda Line).


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