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Bistro l'erable serves piece of France

Date Posted: 2010-06-17

Bistro l’erable combines the artistry of French cuisine with the talents of a Japanese chef, and then adds the freshness of Okinawa ingredients to create authentic French dishes.

Massa is the man behind Bistro l’erable, and his wealth of experience as a chef accounts for the restaurant’s high standing. Massa brought his expansive years of experience to Okinawa a year ago after working internationally in Singapore, Australia, Canada and France. He opened Bistro l’erable last September, setting out to offer Okinawans the ultimate French culinary experience.

Born in Ibaraki Prefecture, the 37-year-old Massa knew from childhood he wanted to be a chef, and began working in a Japanese restaurant after graduating from high school. From there he moved to Australia’s Sydney Salt Restaurant for advanced studies. After what he calls a life-changing thought, he decided he wanted to specialize in western culinary arts, and began travels to Singapore, Montreal and then France. That was nine years ago, with stops as vice chef in Montreal’s Les Caprices de Nicolas French restaurant, and then chef at Ariel Restaurant.

Returning to Japan, he decided Okinawa was the best place to ply his trade, committing himself to presenting true French cuisine to his customers. He focused on authenticity, creating not only fresh sauces, but fresh bouillon, sweets, ice creams and sorbets. His penchant for freshness means only the freshest of Okinawa vegetables are used in his kitchen; no frozen or canned vegetables permitted.

A first-time restaurant owner, he’s taken his own path, creating a countryside French atmosphere with the red tile walls. That relaxes his patrons as they file in for the lunches, which are typically crowded. So much so, Bistro l’erable takes phone-in orders to reduce the waiting time upon arrival. Lunch menus begin at ¥980. Wines are available starting at ¥1,800 per bottle. There’s a rich ala carte menu, and set menus that begin at ¥2,800.

Bistro l’erable is open Monday through Saturday, with luncheon Monday ~ Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant is located in Okinawa City, near the Okinawa City Office. The Okinawa Times Chubu Branch office is near the restaurant, which is on the second floor of the Heisei Building at 35-8 Nakasone in Okinawa City. Limited free parking is available. Reservations can be made at (098) 937-8901.

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