EAT WELL IN PARIS #64 — Restaurants, grocery stores, wine shops, cocktail bars… Our food critic distributes the “T”. This week on the test bench: Octave, Starving Club, Carboni’s and Mobster.
Succeeding in marrying French and Korean cuisine: this is the desire of the young chef Juliette Ju, who worked for Ferrandi, then for multi-starred restaurants. At the head of his refined restaurant in 16e district, it sets the bar high in elegance and combinations of delicate flavors. After an original non-alcoholic cocktail mixing grape juice, lime and yuzu, the kimchi ravioli covered with a very fragrant broth are a delight. Sea bream marinated in soy goes well with a miso soup with mustard leaves, served with black rice infused with lotus leaves and particularly successful diced pumpkin. Very neat dressings, marigold petals and other flowers that are also there for their taste: the bias is affirmed on a risotto of rice noodles with seaweed and fish tempura, as original as it is delicious. Black sesame, praline and vanilla make 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-2.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Lunch menus €45-65, tasting €80. Vegetarian option. Res. advised.
Starving Club q
Three restaurants combined into one: it took an appetite and the desire to satisfy delivery platforms to imagine such an establishment. This is the bet of Thibaut Spiwack, already at the helm of Anona (17e), which saw its popularity boosted by its passage in Top Chef. A bit of Vietnamese inspiration, a breath of Greek cuisine, all sprinkled with the unmissable burger: it’s hard to choose among so many different influences. Go for a split 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, proving how treacherous this adjective is on a menu! It’s hearty, quickly served, with a certain transparency as to the products (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 a.m.-midnight. Sandwiches €12-14.50, side dishes €4. Vegetarian option. Terrace.
Scraped walls, chic banquettes, designer lighting, omnipresence of designer sneakers and guests lunching with their caps screwed on: there’s no doubt that I’m in a trendy restaurant in the Marais. Formerly known as Carbon (grilling reigned there), here it is again in Italianate attire. Chic, arancini! Fan of these breaded risotto balls, the size of an orange (hence their name), I get a bit pissed off in front of these XXS version croquettes priced at €3.50… The service (applied and adorable) quickly sends a superb plate of 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 of 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, intensifying 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. Wed. to Sat. noon-2 p.m. and 7 p.m.-2 a.m. À la carte €45 approx. Vegetarian option. Res. advised.
The pioneers of the cocktail scene remember this address as that of 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 each time that we have already been hit, but it works! First you have to pick up an old phone and answer a trick question to retrieve the entry code. Once inside, it’s back to the past with a special America decor of the 1920s and prohibition when jazz players rubbed shoulders with mobsters in clandestine bars. The nocturnal and dark atmosphere evokes Death & Co, one of the classiest bars in New York. Many Americans frequent the place, curled up on the small velvet benches, hidden in the back alcove or perched on the bar stools, 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 slightly prohibitive, we imagine that it is the price of the staging… — Laurent Jezequel
8, rue de Crussol, 11e. Daily. 7pm-1am, Fri. and Sat. until 2am. Cocktails €14.