We called Hiramatsu our Expense Account Meal, which might be tacky to say, but in every way the restaurant and our meal exuded elegance. It exuded it so much that Kevin wished he had worn a tie. It exuded it so much that he ate the frog appetizer, even though he ordered it by accident.
Hiramatsu recently moved to a new location, and I can't speak to the old space, but the new room is quiet, not especially large, and decorated with a sleek, neutral Asian aesthetic - the splashes of color came from the jewel-toned Baccarat tumblers on the tables, and the architectural floral arrangements in heavy Baccarat vases. There was heavy, thick carpeting and an opaque automatic sliding glass door that led to the wait station and kitchen which was like something from Star Trek (it made that satisfying sswwsh sound when opening and closing).
The wait staff was accommodating but not as stiff or formal as I'd feared - I felt comfortable asking them questions about the menu and chatting about the wine. The menu featured two tasting menus (5 and 7 courses) and a la carte selections, which we chose.
The amuse-bouche was maybe my favorite thing of the entire meal -- vivid spring pea soup into which the waiter scooped a dollop of lavender ice cream. It was so intensely flavored and so creamy and bright with herbal flavor that I wished my heavy Cristofle soup spoon was smaller, so that I could get every last drop out of the elegant soup bowl.
Kevin trusted me with the wine list, and I chose a Sancerre -- from which the maitre d' removed the label and pressed it into a brilliant label-keeper page. It was Cuvee Edmond, 1996, Domaine La Moussiere, and it was one of the most unusual wines I've ever had...it was really exotic and floral and rich, and it changed every time I tried it. I picked it hoping for a white that would be good with food, and I got lucky, because it was sensational, especially with our entrees (to come!).
I started with a light (well, as light as anything dressed with butter can be) salad of spring vegetables and raised an eyebrow when Kevin ordered the frog appetizer. It turned out that he just pointed, and I failed to mention to him that grenouille = frog, but no matter, he liked the fried frog's legs a lot, and I can vouch for the second part of the appetizer - a martini glass with morel mushrooms in cream with what I can only describe as "frog Jello" on top (gelee is probably a better word) - and tell you that it was incredibly rich and that despite the somewhat slimy texture, it was good. I probably won't order frog on my own, but I don't ever want to be accused of any food-phobia. The gelee/cream/frog/mushroom dish reminded me a little of eating bone marrow - the flavor is so strong that you get why people like it, but the texture ultimately turns me off.
Our entrees were safer territory; Kevin had (I think, as my French is not that great) snapper with vegetables - lots of bright green asparagus and peas, and I had DELICIOUS sea bass served in a saffron broth with ample thread of saffron floating in it, along with little fingerling potato medallions. It was divine, and the exotic Sancerre really complimented the saffron broth; I'm not sure many other wines could have paired as nicely.
We had a cheese course; I picked for both of us and selected a chevre, a hard cheese (compte?) and my favorite, a brin d'amour. We couldn't finish them. They were lovely, but we were so, so, so (SO) full.
We were so full that when the dainty tray of petit fours and truffles and pistachio mousse and whatnot arrived, we could barely eat them. We did eat, however, the first thing handed to us, which was a long, thin spoon holding a tiny square of tomato aspic with basil sorbet. It was unbelievable.
I won't even tell you the final bill except to say it was one of the top 3 most expensive dinners I've ever had (maybe #1, when the exchange rate comes into play) but there are some experiences that you can't put a price to, and I am going with the story that this was one!