Tokyo's Roppongi isn't the neighborhood it used to be. The sleaze has gone, replaced by major urban-renewal projects, such as the mega shopping complexes Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. There's also a hefty dose of culture in what's being branded the "Roppongi Art Triangle," with the three points being the Mori Art Museum, the National Art Center and the Suntory Museum of Art.
Fitting in perfectly with the district's upscale makeover is 57, tel: (81-3) 5775 7857, a New Yorkstyle dining bar that mixes the Big Apple with the Big Mikan (satsuma orange), as Tokyo is sometimes called. A high-ceilinged space an anomaly compared with the usually cramped nightspots the city is known for is tastefully divided into smaller and more intimate zones, from lounge and dining areas to an invitation-only VIP room for those can't-be-disturbed celebs.
Billing the restaurant as a modern chophouse, chef Fumio Yonezawa has produced a chic take on hearty fare the root beerbraised short ribs are a must, as is the grilled chicken with kabocha puree and jalapeño. Cocktails run the range from classic to creative. Rose and plum liquors are used liberally in drinks like Broadway Rose (rose liqueur and sparkling wine) and Central Park (plum liqueur, vodka, mango juice and chili). But the most popular cocktails are the 57 martini, flavored with Grand Marnier, and the Big Apple martini, made with apple schnapps. Rarely have apples and oranges complemented each other so refreshingly.