Once in a Lifetime (at least) Experience
Posted on 07 / 21 / 2008
For atmosphere, presentation, service, freshness of ingredients and taste, I give Bon an enthusiastic Five Happy Cows! I didn't think any restaurant could beat the experience at Millennium in San Francisco, but Bon did. It exceeded my expectations.
Bon is located in the Asakusa area of old Tokyo, in a small shrine marked by a single character that represents its name. It serves Fucha Shojin Cuisine, vegetarian dishes in the tradition of the Zen Buddhist monks of China and Japan. It is located at the Otori Shrine, which is a ten minute walk from Exit No. 3 of the Iriya Station, but we took a taxi and were thankful, as there is no sign in English on the building.
We chose the 8,000 Yen option, and were served about 15 courses of small dishes, all delicious as well as amazing works of art, in a private, simple but beautifully furnished room. The menu used many seasonal ingredients, as well as many we did not recognize. The dinner started with a tea ceremony, followed by appetizers, soups, cooked vegetables, chilled/seasoned tofu, tempura, pickles, white rice garnished with green tea, and ended with fresh fruit. The total bill for two people, including the service fee, was about $180, but it was well worth the experience. The dinner was served over a period of about two hours.
All of the servers knew at least a few words of English, and as I only know simple words and phrases in Japanese I was grateful for the effort they took to explain what parts of the dishes should not be eaten (e.g., garnishes), how some of the items were to be eaten, and to accommodate simple English requests for water and tea.
The restaurant is open for lunch from noon until 3PM and dinner between 5 and 7PM, every day except Tuesday.
As noted on the menu "Bon means 'Buddhist Believer' and was chosen as a sign of respect for the origins of Fucha as a way of Buddhist practice". If you visit Tokyo, this restaurant is a must! For us, it was a truly enjoyable, delightful and memorable experience.
Excellent food, Beautiful atmosphere, Artful presentation