Not too long ago, Yokohama’s Motomachi shopping street was considered one of the trendiest spots in Japan. With its quaint boutiques and European-themed restaurants, the cobblestoned boulevard gave locals a taste of Western-style leisure culture. Nowadays, when you can find a Gap outlet on every street corner, Motomachi seems increasingly fusty. As do its restaurants—inauthentic trattorias, precious French dining rooms, down-in-the-mouth yoshoku eateries and boring kissaten. So when the diminutive bistro Le Petit Courageux opened late last year, foodies in the neighborhood had cause to rejoice. Tucked away in a residential area two blocks off the main drag, this one-room restaurant is headed by chef Masakatsu Wada, who worked for two years at Paris’ renowned Le Grenadin. It was time well spent: Wada’s wonderfully coarse paté de campagne (¥1,000) uses both pork and chicken livers, and comes drizzled with a top-quality balsamic vinegar. The chef also shows a deft touch with sauces, especially the cream-based, sherry-vinegar variety that we’ve enjoyed with both roast chicken and pork. Lunch in particular offers very decent value—the “one-plate lunch” (¥1,300) includes three hors d’oeuvres, a main dish, dessert and coffee (if you’re lucky, one of the starters will be a slice of Wada’s fantastic quiche). The chef’s allegiance to terroir is evident in the organic vegetables he sources from area farms, and a limited-time ¥5,800 dinner course features local beer and 150-year-old Yokohama recipes. Course meals from ¥2,500.
5-211-20 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama. Tel: 045-681-2665. Open 11:30am-2pm and 5:30-10:30pm (LO). Nearest stn: Motomachi-Chukagai (Minatomirai line), exit 5, or JR Ishikawacho. www.lpcfrench.com. Map. Directions.