5, rue Perronet (7)
Tel : 01-75-50-00-05
Unquestionably, New York has great food. Boston too (although I know it less well). But the food in Paris is different, as is the entire eating-out experience across the price spectrum.
Clover is a good example. It is a new restaurant, the third opened under the Jean-Francois Piège name. He is a Michelin 2-Star chef and a hot property. At Clover, not surprisingly, he is nowhere in sight, except on the PR blogs. The restaurant is in the supremely capable hands of a 10 year Asian protégé, with help from two waitresses, a (Bangladeshi?) dishwasher, and two sous chefs. Not a Frenchman in the kitchen, but what a kitchen!
First the space: a narrow storefront, no more than 10’ wide. Deep enough for 10 closely spaced tables for 2 along one wall, opposite glass fronted refrigerators holding fresh produce. In the back, an “open kitchen”, not one where you see the top of the cooks’ heads, but not the mess on the floor. This kitchen is open – in the room, with no separation, installed galley-fashion stretching the length of the space, with no dividers.
In New York/Boston, 20 seats and 30 covers at a multi-course dinner with no choice would be a financial non-starter. It seems to work in Paris.
A fixed menu. No choice except for the main course. On our night, filet of merlan or ris de veau, quinoa crackers with eggplant; cured bacon with foie gras; asparagus with hollandaise; scallop in shell cooked on a burning hot rock; the chosen main course, followed by strawberries with rhubarb ice cream and meringue, and a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie.
Every dish inventive and beautifully executed, but be prepared for a menu replete with unfamiliar ingredients.
Two helpful, bilingual waitresses handle the 20 or so guests with ease. If I was to make one complaint, it is that the food emerges too quickly. (Increasingly in Paris restaurants, no lingering over aperitifs. Guests are seated. Menus are immediately handed out. Orders expected to be taken 2-3 minutes later. Food arrives promptly.)
58€ menu at dinner. A bargain. Fairly priced wines from a limited list. With wine and 2 aperitifs, water and coffee, 182€. And at the moment, among the hottest tables in Paris.
At lunch two menus, 30€ and 42€.