Shan Gout and yam'Tcha
Dear fellow chowhounds,
Have to take a Beijing guest to a Chinese restaurant this Friday. Anyone been to either of these joints? Hearing alot of buzz from the press on both, with Shan Gout getting three hearts on Figaro. I know yam'Tcha is more French/Asian but since my guest is a fan of Bo Innovation in HK where the chef used to work, I'm hoping to get away with murder.
I've been to Yam'Tcha, and the truth is, it is more Arpège-like (they wish) than Chinese. In general, it is the way to look at good Chinese restaurant in Paris: as a French adaptation.
A case in point is Chen, Soleil d'Est, rue du théatre, were I was last week, and which is in my opinion an excellent restaurant. They don't care about authenticity or Chinese tradition, but they do what would best described as nouvelle cuisine, only with Chinese codes and techniques.What sets them apart is not so much the Chinese roots as the excellence of ingredients, the balance and precision of actual cooking. Chen is by far my favourite among the fancy Chinese in town, but you might also consider Passy Mandarin rue du Bois-vert, Tang rue de la Tour, Vong rue de la grande truanderie, Tsé-Yang rue Pierre 1er de Serbie (the only Chinese restaurant in town where everyone speaks unaccented perfect French, to my knowledge), Diep rue de Ponthieu and Tong Yen rue Jean Mermoz.
Now in terms of more "authentic" Chinese joints, the places that come close are Likafo, av.de Choisy, Asia Palace, on the dalle des Olympiades, Tricotin, av. de Choisy too. And then there are two great and cheap Shuangdong restaurants: Délices du Shuandong, bd de l'hopital, and Yong, rue de la Colonie, where I had a feast for four yesterday night for less than 70€. All of them in the 13th.
Thanks for the comprehensive list! By the way, what did you have at yam'Tcha? Was it at least good?
And yes, the famous Chen. True, about the adaptation comment. I think that's why my Beijing friend didn't enjoy the place when she visited a few years back, calling it a cheap imitation. That automatically threw Tricotin and Tang out the window. Funny thing is Shan Gout's chef is apparently from Chen. Funnier still if we finally decide on Shan Gout, and she actually likes the food more now that the chef's left all the fancy stuff behind to whip up simple Sichuan.
Chen has had a tough time after Mr. Chen's death, and there's no question that it went downhill for a moment. That is why I hadn't been in a long time. From my recent visit, it has become an exciting, if utterly original and quiet, place to eat again.
Not sure what the connection with Tricotin is -- Tricotin is a dim-sum place. And, as far as Tang goes, it is strange to throw a restaurant out the window because it has a similar concept to one where you did not have a great meal. That said, I would throw Tang out the window foodwise. It's mostly a great place to drink exceptional wines (mostly Bordeaux) at excellent prices.
Yam'Tcha was good, yes. I actually mostly remember the tea pairing and some great clams, and also a wonderful pork from Desnoyer of course (wonderful meat perfectly cooked, nothing particularly Chinese about it).
Whose idea is it to eat Chinese? I tended to find that most visitors wanted anything but food from their homeland. A number of colleagues used to suggest "it would make them feel at home and is therefore polite" but guests were usually perplexed by this, they travelled to try local food.
Asian food in Paris has not been good in the past, however there does seem to be a spurt of innovation. It would be good to hear if it is really good, or simply an improvement from a very low base.
I hear Shan Gout is more traditional, therefore probably more risky for a Beijing guest. Given their like of Bo Innovation Yam'Tcha is probably the best bet. However if it was me I would be looking for cutting edge French inspired food rather than Asian/French based fusion.
Yeah, me too, but my Chinese friend went over-the-top. Her schedule's been chock-full - day and night - of hard to book French restaurants (L'Ami, Meurice, Comptoir, etc...). Looking for a break, she requested Chinese on Friday. Thought yam'Tcha might fit the bill and unique enough that it's not something that you'll find in Beijing.