It reads like a palate-pleasing menu.
Here’s the twist — this all comes with a generous helping of dirt. Not normal, backyard variety dirt, special nutrient-rich soil.
The unique tasting menu is the creation of Toshio Tanabe, a former gymnast and boxer turned culinary inventor. Tanabe says the dirt menu was a logical addition for his quaint restaurant, Ne Quittez Pas, which is located in Tokyo‘s Gotanda neighborhood.
“This is a seafood restaurant, so we have the flavors from the ocean,” he says. “I was also looking for flavors from the earth.”
But this is not the typical dirt you’d find it your backyard. It comes from a garden wholesaler, which provides the high quality soil, taken deep beneath the earth’s surface — 10 meters down, in fact.
Germaphobes can take some comfort, perhaps. Tanabe tells us the soil is first lab tested, and then heated to extreme temperatures, to kill off any bacteria. After that process is complete Tanabe will work it into his menu.
This special fare is certainly not dirt cheap. The set course is about US$110 per person.
And how does it taste? According to one adventurous eater, who wished to remain anonymous the night of our visit, “I didn’t think it would be real dirt. I was a bit nervous. But it was a subtle taste.”
When we ask Tanabe, about his next key ingredient, he shrugs and says he’s not sure.
“This idea came about naturally.”
Whether diners dig into the dirt or not, it does take the idea of organic to a whole new level.