4, rue De L’Exopsition (7)
This relatively new French-Basque restaurant has received major publicity and uniformly strong reviews. At the 8:00 p.m. seating (there is also 9:30 – 9:45) every seat taken with mostly middle-aged, serious-looking French. The chef comes with a pedigree tracing to the nearby Les Fables de la Fontaine.
As far as the food goes, the buzz is justified, but Pottoka doesn’t fully come together for my taste, despite exceptional plats.
The room is small, modern and narrow; a few seats at a bar, high tables for two or four mixed with small tables for two. It isn’t comfortable. The great food comes too quickly. An 8:00 p.m. table has us back on the street close to 9:30 p.m. – after 3 courses. The combination of tight conditions and excessively quick service combines to explain the two service business model, but does not add up to gracious dining for me.
Very good. A 35€ menu, plus a la carte specials, plus a tapas menu.
We began with two a la carte tapas, basque charcuterie – enough for 3, and wonderful sautéed calamari. Our a la carte plats were wild striped bass in a white truffle foam over slow cooked chopped leeks. Outstanding. We shared a freshly assembled chocolate dessert with passion fruit sherbet. Sophisticated.
Young. Bilingual. Helpful, but no space for anything like traditional service.
With 32€ wine, 142€. Also 3 courses for 35€. 22€ at lunch. A la carte bass 33€, tapas 19€.