I'd been wanting to go to this place for months, after reading a review printed in Metropolis magazine. Vegetable Sushi Potager's concept is one inherently appealing to vegetarians: to celebrate seasonal vegetables, making them the heart of the meal, rather than simply side dishes to meat or fish. This restaurant is entirely vegetarian, and they can also prepare a vegan selection if you let them know in advance.
Their dinners are a bit pricy, at 5,250¥ and up, so we opted for a lunch visit, where meals start at 1,575¥. We arrived at 2:00 on the dot, exactly the time for their last lunch order. Their closed sign was already up, but when I squawked to the staff member showing 2 customers out, we were let in. They had already sold out of the chirashi-zushi (1,575¥), so we ordered two nigiri-zushi (2,100¥) sets.
While the restaurant does have some tables for larger groups, smaller parties are seated at the counter around their gorgeous open kitchen, where you can watch your meal being carefully assembled on a stretch of ample counter space that (as fellow Tokyoites will understand why) we looked upon with great envy. While we waited, we took in the carefully constructed decor. This place oozes an oshare (stylish)-natural, modern vibe, with green and neutral colouring, and seasonal displays decorating the shelves forming the backdrop behind the kitchen.
Our first plate of nigiri arrived, and we were given a brief explanation of each of the 5 spectacular looking morsels laid out before us. Each piece was unique, and sauces and seasonings used sparingly to play up but not overwhelm the natural flavor and texture of the vegetables. Many of the nigiri looked an awful lot like regular sushi: the uni, for example, was rather convincingly played by a lovely carrot mousse. Despite the visual resemblance, many of these little bites proved to be rather un-sushi like in flavor, delving into rather un-Japanese kinds of delicious.
Along with the 10 pieces of nigiri we were also served a little bowl of (combu, not katsuo-based) miso soup and a lovely cup of tea at the end of the meal.
Vegetable Sushi Potager is not the kind of place that I'd become a regular. The places I frequent tend to be a bit noisier and a bit less polished, so I can feel at ease being my noisy, not so daintily eating self. We were, however, thoroughly impressed with our meal, and I'd love to return from time to time to sample another season of vegetables or celebrate a special occasion. If you are a vegetarian living in or visiting Tokyo you have my recommendation to give this place a try, as they offer a unique dining experience you will not soon forget.
おすすめ / recommendation: Though we sampled no other dish to compare, the nigiri-zushi was delish and reasonably priced
good points: unique, delicious, healthy, seasonal, all vegetarian, beautiful food
bad points: dinners are a bit pricy
hours: Lunch 11am-3pm (Last order 2pm), dinner 5-11pm (last order 10pm). To keep everything at its freshest, they have a limited quantity of dishes available so making a reservation or arriving early may be wise!
address: Roppongi Keyakizaki Dori, Roppongi Hills, 6-9-1-1F, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
From Roppongi Station (on the Hibiya Line) take exit 1C
From Azabu Juban Station (on the Oedo Line) take exit 7
Head to the green arrow!
Their website has a lot of English content! Check them out here for more information.