I was immediately curious about why this restaurant is called “33.” Some North American restaurants have picked up the habit of calling themselves after their street number, so you end up with places called 941 or 587. In Japan this would make no sense since you'd end up with something like 3-12-15, which is not as glamorous. At any rate, the chef/owner of 33 opened it when he was 33 years old and hence the name.
Stepping into 33 is stepping into an oasis of quiet in Ikebukuro. The music is soft, the fresh flowers are gorgeous and the room invites to you relax and enjoy some exquisite French food. I ordered the lunch course which includes appetizer, main dish and dessert. I had heard that 33 is best known for their fish dishes so I ordered both fish to test them out (not to say that with 35 degrees outside I didn't feel like having a roast with creamy mustard sauce). The appetizer was a light salad with a confit of some small fish I couldn't identify. The fish came whole, and was supposed to be eaten heads, tails and all. I can't say I really liked this as the fish tasted a tad bitter. All through the meal, the waitress continued to bring me warm rolls with which I cleared a slab of butter that showed up before the meal started. The main course was a perfectly fried piece of aji served with assorted vegetables (cabbage primarily) on a lemony butter sauce. The waitress was quite knowledgeable about wine and picked an excellent light white wine to go with my fish. In fact, 33 has a good selection of wines by the glass, and a reasonably priced wine list that features only French bottles.
Dessert came in the form of a raspberry mousse with raspberry sherbet and half a fig. The sherbet was the best part ? sour and refreshing. A coffee to end the meal and I was ready to face the Tokyo summer heat again.
33 would be a great place for special occasions. The dinner menu features a longer course meal, and there's also the possibility of ordering a la carte. The space is quite small (I only counted eight tables) so reservations are definitely a good idea.