EAT WELL IN PARIS #64 — Restaurants, grocery stores, wine shops, cocktail bars… Our food critic hands out the “T.” This week on the test bench: Octave, Starving Club, Carboni’s and Mobster.
Successfully marrying French and Korean cuisine: this is the wish of the young chef Juliette Ju, who worked for Ferrandi and then for restaurants with several stars. At the head of his refined restaurant in 16e the district sets the bar high in terms of elegance and combinations of delicate taste experiences. After an original alcohol-free cocktail that mixes grape juice, lime and yuzu, the kimchi ravioli covered with a very fragrant broth is a delight. The bream marinated in soy goes well with a miso soup with mustard leaves, served with black rice with lotus leaves and very successful diced pumpkin. Very nice dressings, marigold leaves and other flowers that are also there for their taste: the bias is confirmed on a risotto of rice noodles with seaweed and fish tempura, as original as it is delicious. Black sesame, praline and vanilla form a final point of honor at this lunch, which certainly has a gastronomic price, but a unique experience of its kind.
23, rue Saint-Didier, 16e. 01 73 74 57 57. Tue to Sat noon-2.30pm and 7pm-10pm. Lunch menus €45-65, tastings €80. Vegetarian option. Res. advised.
Starving Club Q
Three restaurants rolled into one: it took an appetite and a desire to satisfy delivery platforms to envision such a business. This is the bet of Thibaut Spiwack, who is already leading Anona (17e), which saw its popularity boosted by its stint on Top Chef. A bit of Vietnamese inspiration, a touch of Greek cuisine, all sprinkled with the indispensable burger: it’s hard to choose between so many different influences. Go for a pea falafel pita (not bad, but a bit dry) and very good ultra-crispy fries. But what is this rice dish with raisins, pine nuts and mint? These are “revisited” vine leaves that prove how treacherous this adjective is on a menu! It’s hearty, quickly served, with some transparency about the produce (French poultry and lamb, pickles made in Île-de-France, house sriracha sauce). Bonus: the sunny terrace, welcome on sunny days.
11, bd Pasteur, 15e. 07 88 52 64 04. Daily. 10:30 – midnight. Sandwiches €12-14.50, side dishes €4. Vegetarian option. Terrace.
Scratched walls, smart banquettes, designer lighting, the omnipresence of designer sneakers and diners eating lunch with their caps on: there is no doubt that I am in a trendy restaurant in the Marais. Formerly known as Carbon (grilling ruled there), here it is again in Italian attire. Chic, arancini! Fan of these breaded risotto buns, the size of an orange (hence their name), I get a little mad in front of these croquettes in the XXS version, priced at €3.50… The service (used and adorable) quickly sends a great plate vitello tonnato to be forgiven. The homemade pasta is more subdued. My plate of ditali cacio e pepe is pale, and the pasta all’amatriciana from my dinner companion hardly generous. This leaves room for dessert, which it would have been a shame to miss. The baba with kumquats is mind-blowing, and the affogato, with ice cream flavored with kombu seaweed that intensifies the aromas of the espresso, is one of the best eaten in a long time. Good and bad surprises…
45 Poitou Street, 3e. 01 42 72 49 12. Wednesday to Saturday noon-2pm and 7pm-2pm. A la carte €45 approx. Vegetarian option. Res. advised.
Pioneers of the cocktail scene remember this address as the legendary Artists’ Entrance, a bar run by Édouard and Fabien. Back to the mixology box here, but in a speakeasy version. We tell ourselves every time that we have already been hit, but it works! First, take an old phone and answer a trick question to retrieve the password. Once inside, it’s a throwback to the past with a distinctly American decor from the 1920s and prohibition, when jazz players rubbed shoulders with gangsters in secret bars. The nocturnal and dark atmosphere evokes Death & Co, one of the most distinguished bars in New York. Many Americans visit the place, curled up on the small velvet benches, hidden in the back alcove or sitting on the barstools, in this mini room where everything is neat, from the Art Deco sconces, the vegetal wallpaper patterns on the walls and geometric patterns on the ceiling, the stylish service, right down to the cocktail menu. Six creations are proposed, from fruity to bitter in a desire to surprise. And if the prices may seem a little prohibitive, we imagine it’s the price of the staging… —Laurent Jezequel
8, rue de Crussol, 11e. Daily. 19.00-01.00, Friday and Saturday until 02.00. Cocktails €14.