Beard is a neighborhood bistro located in the leafy district of Meguro. A nondescript building on a quiet residential street, there isn’t much to set it apart beyond the chevron wood door.
Unassuming (but charming) is the word that came to mind once we entered the establishment. The warm industrial light, the intimate size, and the rough lux décor were the perfect antidote to the dreary Tokyo weather. Walking into Beard is like walking into your buddies Brooklyn apartment, if the apartment looked like it fell out of a rustic French cook book and was predominantly kitchen. A few rustic tables and bar make up the seating, worn pots and pans hang from racks, and handmade Japanese knives magnetically rest on racks.
Two individuals make up the staff at Beard, a server and the chef, Shin Harakawa. Per usual, Shin was in his trademarked Breton striped attire the night of our visit and as accommodating and friendly as advertised. Due to the unique size of the restaurant and the fact that we were sitting at the Bar (ask to sit at the bar), we were given a visual treat as well as served one of the most delicious meals of my life.
Beard is a one-man show. This allows Chef Harakawa to let his creativity shine and change the chalkboard menu based on the seasonality and quality of the local ingredients. Since these are the driving factors behind the food, the menu is consistently rotated (though the brunch burger and charcuterie plates are typically on the menu and excellent). The food exhibits a French influence, but the chef has globe trotted throughout his career and this international exposure is combined with local Japanese ingredients to create a style unique to Beard.
Comfort is the central theme driving Chef Harakawa and his restaurant. Excellent service is a requisite at any quality Japanese establishment, but Beard takes it a step further. It’s a bistro that excels at every aspect: food, service and atmosphere. It’s an experience that’s comfortable, rewarding, and delicious and one that leaves you wanting to return as soon as you’ve stepped out the door.