Visitors to Shibuya often tend to gravitate to the west side of the tracks. The lure of famous shops, the adorable Hachiko, and the ever-busy Scramble Crossing draw many to the west side without another thought. But there are also many delightful things on the east side for dedicated cheapos, especially the delectable 1,000-yen lunch plate served at the small French café Concombre.
Concombre serves a wide menu of classic French cuisine in a tiny shop located just a few minutes walk from Shibuya Station. The restaurant is a cozy room with only about ten tables, cheery red tablecloths, and French posters on the wall. The waiters bustle around bringing dishes and drinks, making for a quaint and homey atmosphere.
Lunch plate special
Concombre is one of my favorite cheapo finds. Every day from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the restaurant offers an utterly delicious lunch plate special for 1,000 yen. The daily special is written in Japanese on a board outside the front door, but if you don’t read Japanese one of the waiters will tell you the day’s main dish, or you can just wing it. Everything I have eaten at Concombre was wonderful, so winging it would almost certainly be fine. The 1,000-yen lunch set includes a main dish, a bowl of thick and creamy soup, a salad, a hunk of hearty bread, a small dessert, and your choice of coffee or tea. The entire meal is presented grandly on a silver tray with heavy silver utensils, and the soup bowl has little lion heads for handles! It all feels very refined.
Last time I visited, the main dish was salmon, my favorite, and the soup was winter squash, also delicious. Many people around me were drinking wine and it seems like Concombre has a great wine list, though I don’t know enough about wine to say. The salmon and broccoli were doused in a butter/crème sauce that was amazing and I sopped it up with the dense bread so as not to waste any. The dessert was very pleasantly touched with a little bit of alcohol, prefect with the thick whipped cream on top. For the quality and care that goes into these dishes, 1,000 yen is an unbelievably great price.
Nearby cheapo fun
Once you are done eating (or if there is a wait) it is worthwhile to walk by Mitake Shrine just around the corner. The shrine building is quite ordinary, but the guardian statues are a pair of exceptionally sculpted wolves, and it is worth the brief side trip just to see this pair. The shrine is on top of a building, and the entrance is up a long ramp south of the shrine itself. If you are leaving Concombre, make a sharp left up the small side street, go right at the dead end, and then watch for the torii (shrine entrance gate) on your left.