Dinner at the Count's

Last Friday for Rie's birthday, we had dinner at Ogasawara-tei, a fancy restaurant in an old, Spanish-style mansion. The house, built in 1927, was the private villa of Count Ogasawara Nagayoshi. It's really rare for a building like this to be preserved and restored in Tokyo. After the war, the U.S. military used it as a headquarters temporarily, and then when the city government took it over, the house was used as a social services center. But eventually, it was closed and abandoned. In 2000, the city offered the house to a private company, under the conditions that the house was to be restored. They did a pretty good job, but unfortunately, the grounds leading up tp the house from the street are covered in asphalt. There are these cute duck-shaped bushes, however, that flank the front door. Speaking of duck, one of the many dishes was smoked foie gras. I hate liver, but this was actually not bad. In fact, it tasted nothing like the innards of a bird. My vote for favorite dish of the night, though, was the octopus gnocchi.