Enjoy authentic French cuisine near Misawa Air Base
If you are stationed at Misawa Air Base or plan on visiting, there’s a neat restaurant in the area that serves up authentic French cuisine that will make your mouth water and leave your stomach full. Using the freshest seasonal ingredients, North 40-40 serves up tasty meals no matter what the season.
Although head chef Kazu Hirabayashi calls the restaurant’s approach “casual French-style,” his full-bodied dishes have drawn the attention of gourmets since the eatery opened four yours ago. And to Hirabayashi’s delight, the military community in Misawa has also flocked to the restaurant.
Hirabayashi is an accomplished French chef who honed his culinary skills at high-end French restaurants in Tokyo and France before bringing his expertise to Aomori Prefecture.
Roasted duck and lamb are some of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. Enjoy a roasted duck breast with raspberry vinegar sauce for 2,000 yen ($18). The tender yet crispy texture of the duck breast works well with the framboise sauce made by combining caramel-like scorched honey and sugar, sweet and sour raspberry sauce and veal stock, according to Hirabayashi.
The chef said North 40-40 uses Hungarian ducks for their dishes because while they are as tasty as those from France, they are more reasonable in price.
Although he will take requests from customers when it comes to beef and pork dishes, Hirabayashi does his own thing when roasting duck or lamb.
“Since they have less fat than beef and pork, we must cook them medium-rare to allow the flavor and texture to stand out,” he said. “A certain skill is required to find the best timing and correct heat when roasting them. So, I cook them my way.”
Hirabayashi stressed that the restaurant, which accommodates 40 customers, uses as many local seasonal foods as possible.
“As you know, Aomori Prefecture is home for tasty foods, such as various vegetables, pork, chicken, beef, scallops, rockfish, snapper, yellowtail, trout salmon and apples,” he said. “They are all really superb and tasty. I just wonder why locals seem rather unaware of great value of these local products.”
Hirabayashi’s dishes can be enjoyed for very reasonable prices during lunch time (11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.). A lunch set for 1,500 yen will get you an appetizer, main dish (beef, chicken or fish), soup, salad, rice or bread and coffee. As the main dish selections change depending on the season, there’s always a variety to choose from. Chicken sauté devil style, Garlic pork hamburger steak and fish with white wine sauce are available throughout the year.
Besides the full-flavored French dishes, North 40-40 boasts homemade desserts that are a great way to finish of a tasty French meal. Along with baked chocolate cake, sweet potato tarts with black pepper flavor and Marjoleine, the shop’s original “kueh lapis” cake is really a must-sample sweet.
“It is a moist and rich cake built with thin layers of puff pastry and filled with cream and jam,” said Hirabayashi, adding that if you get a dessert after ordering a lunch set, you’ll save 200 yen on the tasty treat.
The restaurant offers dinner sets starting 3,200 yen, still very reasonable for full-bodied French dishes. So, you may want to visit North 40-40 for a gorgeous dinner with a bottle of vintage wine when you want to splurge with your family and friends.