Never ones to let classy Italian dining go unnoticed, we made good on a rare Roppongi outing with a visit to Sala Ferrari, named after Ferrari Brut, the quality bubbly hailing from Italy's alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige. Needless to say, the sparkling wine wasn't all that was on offer, although oversized bottles of the brand sat on all four corners of the lavish underground nook decorated with brass candelabra on walls painted gold and violet. As we sat down on a velvet couch facing diminutive tables covered by starched white spreads, the black-suited steward took our drink orders-a mimosa (¥1,400) and a glass of Ferrari Brut (¥1,200), naturally-after which we returned to admire our Medieval castle-style surroundings.
Amid a medley of soft jazz and pop tunes, we kicked our evening off with carpaccio di pesce (¥1,600), an oily Sicilian-style appetizer made of finely cut slivers of raw snapper and field greens. Being the only guests there with the exception of a trio of suited businessmen engrossed in conversation in the opposite corner of the oblong room, we were served surprisingly quickly and soon found ourselves faced with an imposing dish of insalata di lobster e gamberetti (¥1,600). A sizable, juicy lobster rose out of the plate like a statue, with spinach leaves tossed with lime, onions, salt, spices and olive oil laid out neatly underneath. While the seafood was exquisite and the salad tangy-we learned that the chef made daily trips to Tsukiji market to haul in the best catch-we were amazed by the cook's craftsmanship and the piece of edible art sitting on our table.
In between servings, the waiter explained that the man in the kitchen was indeed an authority on Mediterranean cuisine. Trained at the renowned Taillevent Jo‘l Robuchon, he then spent eight years at Ginza's Bambino, followed by a stint at Chateaux Le Pin in Yokohama before bringing his talents to Sala Ferrari. Farus di manzo al vino rosso (¥3,000), slivers of US Prime beef wrapped in bacon in a demiglace red wine sauce, was the next creation we sampled. The entrée was a tasty blend of soft, medium-rare meat and crispy, overdone pork, with juicy broccoli and garden greens providing a refreshing aftertaste.
Once our table was cleared and we had enjoyed a few more glasses of Sala Ferrari's trademark spumante, we agreed to treat ourselves to one last morsel and ordered a tiramisu (¥1,000) with espresso (¥700). Our desserts arrived not in immense portions, but the dainty layers of mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder melting on the tips of our tongues completed our dining experience in style and we emerged back onto the chilly streets with another card up our sleeves.