27/29 Rue de Beaune (7)
Nothing about this Diary favors neighborhood restaurants. The geographical spread among the city’s 20 arrondissements reflects largely where the restaurants are which we want to try.
That said, it didn’t go unnoticed that a long vacant wine store on Rue de Beaune in the 7th, a 3 minute walk from our apartment, had been transformed into a small, upscale restaurant since our last trip. In fact, it had opened barely a month before.
It was between meal times, but we walked in and asked for a card. The chef opened the door to greet us. Someone has spent a great deal of money with obvious attention to tasteful detail. Clearly, as supported by the menu prices, this restaurant is intended neither for casual tourists on their way to the nearby D’Orsay, or exclusively for locals. This is intended as an ambitious destination address. We hope it succeeds. There is so much going for it, but with some concept-tweaking still necessary.
Without reservation, the food was terrific; upscale, ambitious, artfully plated, many layered with multiple subtle elements. Hand-made, tweezer-assembled. A la carte and two menus, 5 or 7 course. The 69€ menu offers three courses from the small a la carte list, plus 2 desserts, plus a charming selection of house-baked breads and rolls, plus a small pre-taste, plus a generous tray of small pastries with coffee. Nothing simple.
A “declination of cabbage”, a tasting of cabbage, prepared three ways and duck foie gras and radish in radish cream; sea bass; squab (“pigeon”), both with “declination” of leeks and carrots, respectively. Granita and a remarkable “declination” of apple; dried thin apple slice rolls filled like cannoli with apple cream served with apple strips and roasted apples.
The plats are complex, not too rich and very time-consuming to prepare. It is not clear the model is scalable should the restaurant become busy. (8 tables plus basement cave private room).
Four tables filled on our visit. (The waiter’s constant use of the word “declination” with each course description became comical. Clearly, the chef’s style is sophisticated, time-consuming, intellectual and interesting but, four times (cabbage, leek, carrot, apple)? Translation didn’t help, but it is not only about language, but excessive complexity.
Two balletic, hard-working (running, actually) servers clear, pour, return (repeatedly) with new bread services and present new utensils from a tray for each of seven courses. Exhausting, but seemingly not to them.
High relative to the average of this Diary, but with 69€ menu, good value for a quintessential high-end French meal; a meal which could not be duplicated except at multiples of the price in New York or Boston.
With a total of 5 glasses of wine (wine prices may be fair, but few lower priced bottles), 206€.