You’ve probably heard of Yellow Brick. It’s a covered street with a bunch of shops and restaurants in downtown Iwakuni. There are many places to eat and drink around the area, too. Bistro Chocolate (pronounced as the French word: Chocolat) is a French and Italian fusion bistro right in the center of the street.
You can see the menu outside of the bistro in both Japanese and English.
It’s nice and cozy inside with 7-8 counter seats and 3 tables for 4 people. There is a room in the back with 2 tables in zashiki-style where you take your shoes off and sit of the floor. Don’t worry, you don’t have to bend your knees and sit Japanese style; the floor under the table is a pit where you can dangle your legs just like you’re sitting on a chair.
The menu on the table is also in Japanese and English. Lunch set comes with soup, salad and bread. We got a slice of french bread and croissant, both of which were warm, crisp on the outside and air-soft in the inside.
In the picture below is shrimp and avocado tomato cream pasta topped with grated parmigiano reggiano.
And here is grilled vegetable bolognese also with parmigiano reggiano.
When it comes to the way some foods are cooked, personal preference becomes the barometer of whether the food is good or not. This is especially true with steak; some swear by rare while others think it’s inedible. This is also somewhat true for pasta. Al dente is supposedly THE way to cook pasta but some might find it “too chewy.” Pasta at Chocolate felt a little softer than al dente, but again, others may differ. Al dente or not, it was at a good consistency that mixed well with bolognese sauce.
The Chef himself comes out and grates cheese in front of you. He is friendly and funny, but not too much which is perfect in a small bistro. Sometimes when you go to places like this, the chef/owner of the joint can be very friendly and talkative where they make it about themselves that they forget that the customers may have something important to discuss or have a lot to catch up and they want to be left alone. The Chef at Chocolate is not one of them. He was very professional and quiet, but when we asked for his permission to take pictures of the food and the bistro, he struck a peace sign while being fully aware of what we meant. His character is reflected in the food which is simple and good that it brings you back to appreciate the basics.