19 Rue Lauriston (16)
For a careful reader of this Diary, it must be clear we have a strong preference for traditional French cooking and only occasional admiration for modern cooking, what I sometimes refer to as “tweezer” food. Sadly, in Paris at least, traditional food in restaurants is in decline and modern food on the rise, in addition to fast food, sushi, pizza and burgers. So many different factors are at work to explain this.
Alan Geaam is a contradiction. As modern as can be, but in a small space (what was once the even more modern Akrame) of eight tables, the five people in the kitchen produce a five course meal with an array of extras of beautiful, delicious food for 60€. Astonishing (and unlikely to last; the numbers just cannot work.) You will not recognize without help what you are being served, but it is a meal of high order at an astonishing price.
A cracker-like snack followed by three carefully imagined small bites. Raw scallops with kohlrabi, followed by quickly seared foie gras as two entrees.
Main course of slow cooked (sous vide) chicken breast with Lebanese spices (the chef is Lebanese). Cheese as an option, followed by two complex pastry desserts. Modern, but delicious.
Two professional, bilingual servers. One doubles as sommelier and oversees available wine pairings – 40€. Helpful. Professional. Relaxed.
A bargain. Five courses, no choice, 60€. Seven courses 80€. Five is plenty to eat. Wine pairings 40€ and 50€ with the five and seven course meal, respectively.