If your boss is in town and wants to see some of the nocturnal sights, Natsugi-an would be an excellent place to start the evening. If you’re looking to impress a certain young lady, or you happen to be a wine connoisseur who doesn’t mind paying for a good vintage, you’ve found the right address. If, however, you’re on a limited budget and can’t tell a Bourgogne from a Riesling—and, frankly, would prefer a beer anyway—walk on by.
Natsugi-an is run by and aimed at people who take their wines very seriously. There are close to 300 different bottles to choose from, including 42 types of champagne alone, starting at a mere ¥10,000 for a Cuvee 20 Brut but rising very quickly to ¥220,000 for the impressive 1985 Krug Collection bubbly.
The extensive wine list—several times thicker than the food menu—reveals some bottled beauties. A 2004 Montrachet Burgogne blanc goes for ¥320,000, while a 2004 La Tache red from the same region comes in at ¥200,000. The most reasonable bottles start at ¥8,000, but if it’s your birthday, wedding day and you’ve just won the lottery, why not splash out on a ¥340,000 Chateau Le Pin 1994?
We stuck to wines by the glass, beginning with the 2006 Planeta Chardonnay (¥2,300), which was crisp and refreshing but looked a little lost in a glass almost as large as a fishbowl. The 2006 Cotes de Provence was a snip at ¥1,600, while the Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale (¥2,000) was arguably the best of the lot—at least to this untrained tongue.
The food menu is equally mouthwatering, if rather limited. Light meals, such as a cheese board, selection of desserts or fruit, range from ¥1,000 to ¥2,000. A warm salad with mozzarella and parmesan, served on a golden square plate, was an excellent starter; the pasta of the day was piping hot and served with chicken and a sauce of tomatoes and mushrooms.
Just as impressive as the wine selection is the view from the private nook that overlooks the narrow streets of Ginza and, in the distance, the illuminated Tokyo Tower. If you sit at just the right angle on the leather corner sofa, you hardly even notice the guys in suits practicing their golf swings in the nets on top of the building across the way.
Natsugi-an has a selection of private rooms, hidden behind frosted glass and wood paneling, the best of which is a comfortable fit for four and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows. The counter also seats about eight, but will be the last spot to fill up. This is the sort of place where people are willing to pay for privacy while they drink, eat and talk. It’s also the sort of place to come when you are dining out on an expense account. Preferably when it’s someone else’s.