This “gourmet counter” opened a few weeks back by Laurent Lapaire (former Arpege alumni and creator of the one star Agapé) and David Toutain (the brilliant chef at the helm) is the new insider darling of the Paris blogosphere and one of the best tables I’ve done for a looooong time, IMHO, the numero uno taste sensation of the moment.
After raves of “genius” from the establishment food press , I was understandably cautious, and luckily no critics or undercover blaggers were to be found (although François Simon did pass by the night before) basking in the mirrored neon glare of the communal dining room. Toutain, who did time at L’Arpege, Veyrat, Mugaritz and NYC’s Corton, looks, at the tender age of 30, to be one of the most exciting (and modest) of chefs in Paris. A little birdy told me that Alain Passard once termed him his spiritual heir and that he thought his talent even rivaled that of Astrance’s Pascal Barbot. Indeed, he should have been the chef at the original Agapé, but shit happened.
The menu is composed of a list of ingredients, from which the diner chooses either three (39€) or four (51€) dishes or the carte blanche (65€) surprise tasting menu. We went for the latter. Each and every dish was a subtly kiss ass culinary karate chop to the taste buds with each dish eclipsing the one before. The amuse bouche of berce (a plant coming from the Jura mountains) with a yuzu jelly and crispy rice wafer set the tone for an onslaught of unique and pristine ingredients. Other dishes included fresh hen’s egg with verbana and garlic cream, crab with pink grapefruit and grey shrimp consommé, carrots from Annie Bertin with galanga, zucchini with baby squid, monkfish with tonka bean cream and a fab nutty crumble and red forrest fruits with pistachio sponge cake and avocado ice cream. The wine (nature heavy bottles presented in iPad form) was a delish 2009 Domaine de Montrieux. I won’t go much further (the table has been covered better than moi by others) , but I do encourage to reserve now before it’s too late.
Oops, it already is.
66 rue Mazarine, 6th
+33 1 43 29 33 83