91, rue de Grenelle (7)
By far, the discovery of a month-long stay in Paris in late 2014. I had failed twice before in trying to book ES for dinner. Both times, its 20 places were already full by the time of my call. Yet at a pre- Christmas lunch, we were two guests of only four.
ES is barely recognizable as a restaurant in walking by. No sign. No view inside. Only a small card in the window listing the lunch options, 42€, 55€ or 80€. No menu because there is no menu. Chef’s choice.
I know from the avalanche of favorable reviews the chef is a young Japanese whose primary training was at 3-Star Astrance (See 16th).
The food is French, but the sensibility is Japanese, reflected in the “hidden” location, the delicacy of the plating, the incredible attention to detail and the Zen- like, undecorated, all-white space. Open less than 18 months, it already has a Michelin star. The food and experience merit more, although you pay for the experience.
The mid-price lunch menu began with cream of artichoke soup. The entrée was two beautiful, delicious scallops, followed by cod followed by pork, followed by dessert followed by delicate pastries. Every course a marvel of taste and presentation.
The tri-lingual French waiter – English/French/ Japanese – was kind, proper, professional and informative. Of course, he and his assistant served only 4 guests!
Very high – and worth it. The wine list was impressive, but devoid of less expensive options. The 5 wines by the glass offered were very fine, but in the range of 18€!