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TOKYO — If trying to astound that special someone, Trocadero House is the place to go.

Tokyo is loaded with eateries that must stand out to survive. But if you want style with substance, check out this little gem in the Shimokitazawa neighborhood.

Located in a Bohemian district crisscrossed by alleys with live music venues and unique stores, the Trocadero House is adorned with original French antiques and paintings. The romantic ambience is completed with jazz in the background and dimly lit tables.

The essence of the French bistro’s fare is simple and satisfying, and this is not a restaurant where eating small portions is fashionable.

Though my wife and I had been to Trocadero House on previous occasions, this was the first time we brought along our 3-month-old son, but the staff was accommodating.

The easy but attentive waiters are as happy to serve as they are to laugh, but won’t cramp your conversation by hovering.

We ordered from the specials. My wife decided on le poisson du jour, or fish of the day, which happened to be white fish. I ordered the pork dish. Trocadero also has two-course ($28) and four-course ($38) dinner sets.

Knowing that it takes nearly 30 minutes for the entrees to arrive, we decided on an appetizer — the large cold meat pate — and a bottle of wine.

Because I’m no vino specialist, I asked the staff wine expert to recommend one of the restaurant’s 16 selections to complement the meal. He retrieved a red and was kind enough to teach us wine-tasting etiquette. Glasses of wine here are priced $6 to $10, while bottles range from $38 to $140.

After sipping the wine and sampling the assorted pâté that came with an unending supply of fresh rolls, our meals arrived. We like to share our dishes, and we couldn’t help but slowly relish the food while sharing our hearts in conversation — a tremendous value for the $128 we dropped.

Meat and potato fans will be pleased with the selection of protein-rich entrees. Lovers will feel affection for the coziness that envelops the senses. And many will depart Trocadero House with a feeling that this is the way life was meant to be celebrated.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to: stripes.com/afterhours

Trocadero House, Tokyo, Shimokitazawa

Hours: Noon to 5 a.m. weekends and 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. weekdays but closed Tuesdays.

Payment: Yen and all major credit cards.

Reservations: Yes, but walk-ins are welcomed.

Prices: Draft beer starts around $5; wine starts at $6 a glass. Most menu entrees are $22 to $40.

Menu: French and Japanese, but the wait staff speaks English.

Dress: Casual to business.

Clientele: Adults.

Location: Kitazawa 3-30-3 in Setagaya Ward. From Shimokitazawa Station, turn right at the ticket gate and go up the West Exit stairs. Take a U-turn and turn left at the corner of Ishimaru. Walk straight, pass Starbucks and up to Lawson. Turn left at Lawson, and Trocadero House is on the right.

Web site: trocadero-house.com

Phone: 03-3467-1991

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