By Peter Harris
Tucked away off a Nishi-Shimbashi side street, Davis Too is a restaurant of many pleasant surprises. Davis Too opened in 2005 and is the owner’s second eatery having started with her first restaurant, Davis, over in Takanawa. Both restaurants follow a “relaxed dining” concept but Davis Too, being in more of a business than residential area, is busier at lunchtimes and during the week. Snug and subtle, the simple décor of yellow walls and bare wooden tables is inviting, homely and intimate.
The Japanese owner, Shoko Davis, has an international background; having worked as a cabin attendant, she speaks English and German, and has basically been studying food and wine for years—and this is evident in the restaurant’s highly original and creative menu backed up by an interesting, international wine list, particularly strong on Italian wines.
A chalkboard displays the dishes and recommended wines on offer and the range of ingredients and styles is impressive—it would be wrong to force a particular genre of cuisine onto the menu but perhaps it is best described as ‘naked fusion,’ fusion without pretentiousness. Dishes available that might illustrate this inadequate neologism are homemade cold pasta with scallops, ooba (a kind of shiso) chicken and tomato, or snow crab and avocado tartar.
After a good deal of deliberation, we initially ordered a couple of oysters— a Frenchman once told me that oysters and mussels should only be enjoyed in months containing the letter ‘r’ but in the heat of this July moment, we were happy to let go this dubious logic and take the plunge. It turned out to be an extremely well rewarded whim. We were swiftly presented with what I can honestly describe as the largest oysters I have ever seen, coming fresh from Miyagi prefecture. These beautiful pearls (or at least pearl makers) of the sea were nicely presented, in their shells with olive oil, shallots, finely chopped chives and a lemon. They were so big that they had actually been cut in two, presumably because slurping them down in one go could be difficult. The taste did not disappoint and was nicely complimented by a glass of Green Point sparkling rosé.
For the main course we shared a roasted wild duck with eggplant spring rolls and roasted whole quail with soybeans and carrot. The duck was stunningly pink and oozing with juices while the texture and flavor of the tender flesh was nicely balanced by the crispy spring roll skin encasing the pan-fried eggplant. As for the quail, it was beautifully presented having been cut in two, stuffed with the rice and beans then served on a bed of sprouts and garnished with leaves. These treats were accompanied by a bottle of 2006 Colterenzio Schreckbichl Pinot Grigio, an excellent, unusual wine with herby and pineapple aromas.
While there are some popular flans and pies available on the menu for dessert, neither of us having a sweet tooth we opted for the cheese plate which was a very happy ending to the feast, washed down with a glass of hearty Australian red, Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot. In all, dining at Davis Too was an experience marked by a gastronomic blend of curiosity and satisfaction. JI
Davis Too Nishi-Shimbashi 3-13-4, Tokyo.
Open daily 11:30am-10pm (last order).