Cignale Enoteca

Five days before, I had asked Christine if she wanted to join me for dinner—nice Italian place featured in Monocle, 10,000 yen, plus service.

“Not even Michelin-starred?” But she agreed—then reneged the day after. All it took was mentioning that I had already sent over my credit card information for her to change her mind again.

Christine and I differ quite dramatically in our ideologies: I, forever drunk on my ideals of authenticity and creativity; she, always with an eye to the bottom line. What we share is our impetuousness, which leads us to change direction as swiftly as the breeze.

At times I feel insecure about not having an office job as my friends continue to blaze down their career paths. First one, then another, then another, got into Harvard Law School. Classmates are getting promoted at their big-name firms. Everyone, everywhere, is adding lines to their resumes, and still I am searching.

Christine, her glass of Pinot Gris long finished, told me not to worry. She herself has floated, from Los Angeles to Taipei, Taipei to Bangkok, Bangkok to Tokyo. “You are young. Do it while you can.” Make money, travel, spend it all, make money again, in an endless cycle of discontent.

I never regret getting meals with friends, and I didn’t regret it then, even in the long moments when we sat silently, our plates cleared, and waited for the next course to arrive. I watched the other diners—well-dressed people mid-career—and wondered what turns their lives had taken to bring them to this place.

Five years from now, I hope to be less untethered. But until that day comes, I am learning to float along uncertainly until some dangling hook catches and anchors me in place.

The dishes at Cignale Enoteca are all solidly prepared, but arguably, the coziness of the restaurant is its biggest sell. Guests sit snugly next to one another before a wrap-around counter on which fruits and oils are stacked and presented; from behind the counter, the chefs prepare all of the food. Courses—Italian, with a hint of Japanese—are served at a leisurely pace, and the set menu, the only option available, takes the guesswork out of ordering, so make yourself at home. After a while, you may forget you’re not dining in a private kitchen.

Name in Japanese
1 Chome-5-11 Komaba, Meguro, Tokyo
Mon-Sat: 18:00-24:00
Around 12,000 yen per person (not including drinks)

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