Iron Chef Sakai’s La Rochelle Sanno – Tokyo, Japan

Breaded John Dory with lavor ginger flavored clam sauce
Breaded John Dory with lavor ginger flavored clam sauce at La Rochelle Sanno in Tokyo. (photo by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine)

Before the oodles of Iron Chef reality television series emerged in various countries, there was just one lone inimitable original on Fuji TV. That Japanese original was one that its spinoffs couldn’t quite capture the zany magic of, featuring a venerable cast of master chefs who specialized in various cuisines. The French specialist, following a few bouts by his predecessor Yutaka Ishinabe, was Hiroyuki Sakai (坂井 宏行), the mustached veteran who compiled a staggering 70-15-1 record on the show. The wackier the theme ingredient (which was announced to the Iron Chef and his competitor right at the start of the battle), the more innovative Sakai and his colleagues became.

Still, for the Iron Chefs, the first love remains the food and not reality TV. Sakai runs all three of his La Rochelle restaurants: two in Tokyo (Minami Aoyama and Sanno) and one in Fukuoka. He also runs an online shop at and catering services for weddings. The dishes pictured here are from the La Rochelle Sanno <<Frappe de Temps>> prix fixe lunch menu in June 2016, priced at 5000 JPY. That menu included:

Seasonal vegetable potage

Squid escabeche and Taboule of Cauliflower flavored with Bergamot mint

Breaded John Dory with lavor ginger flavored clam sauce

Grilled pork with crepine (pork caul)
Niikura fam’s herb flavored sauce

Refreshment soup

Dessert wagon (a cart full of all-you-can-eat desserts)


To make a reservation at any of the three La Rochelle restaurants, go to

Photos: <<Frappe de Temps>> prix fixe lunch menu – La Rochelle Sanno, Tokyo
all photos by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine