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Sep 23, 2011 11:37 PM

Neva, a very pleasant surprise

Neva has only been mentioned here only once.
A friend suggested we go there.
The Servers smile, and it is real.
We were told that the Chef trained at Le Grand Cascade,
This was enough for us to make a Reservation.
We had an excellent Meal at Pierre Gagnaire this week, but there is not a single Dish that will be embedded in my memory.
The app. egg at Neva will.
Enjoyed it more than the famous egg at L;arpege.
Sitting on a bed of finely chopped Vegetables, and an incredibly light Mayo was an egg coated with what I though was chinese Vermicelli, ( the server shared the secret, and it was not)
Deep Fried without a hint of grease sat the Egg
When I cut into it a perfect soft boiled egg poured out.
It was a wow!!
He had the Shrimp Ravioli, and loved it.
I ordered the Sweetbreads, with Seasonal Mushrooms and they came beautifully glazed and crispy on the outside and creamy inside, another perfect dish.
He the slow cooked Veal, which was formed into a circle and beautifully plated.
Thought it was excellent.
We shared a Dessert
la sphere
We are not big on Chocolate Ice Cream Desserts, but were told that this is a must.
A perfect Chocolate Sphere covered with Gold Leaf, a spun sugar Flag fastened to the plate with an Almond and the Flag of Gold Leaf.
The server then poured Hot Chocolate over the Sphere which melted the surface and enclosed a Pear Helene Ice Cream.
Two perfect Truffles were presented beside it, mini replicas of the Large Sphere also coated with Gold Leaf.
3 Courses 36E
2 Courses 29E
As we shared a Dessert we were charged
1 two and 1 three course, plus supplement 3 1/2 E for the Sphere.
The Restaurant was not full, but I expect it will be when word gets around.

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  1. Erly, 3 of us enjoyed it so much for lunch that we are going back for dinner Mon. night.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Laidback

      Can we stop talking about this restaurant now so the NYT doesn't discover it before I get there in May? LOL.

      1. re: plafield

        I don't think the NYT is likely to spoil that one. It is very nice but not, in my opinion, a destination restaurant. It is well off the tourist paths and there's nothing to do in the immediate area except gaze at the railroad tracks over gare Saint-Lazare. Good neighborhood restaurant, but not worth travelling through Paris for. For the people working in the many neighboring law and insurance offices, Neva is the best thing that happened in years. Not so much for other people.

        The food is good but perhaps a little overfussy (my cod shaped into a perfect round shape for no serious reason, a tad overcooked, a slightly boring garnish of chopped bell peppers and Bayonne ham) — a good example of try-too-hard cooking when a simpler preparation would have benefited the products far better).

        The egg is a nice appetizer but not overly original — everybody is serving soft egg these days. Either low-temperature or just soft-boiled. Soft egg is now about as ubiquitous in restaurants as Robuchon's crème brûlée was in the late 80s when dozens of young chefs escaped from R's kitchens. For the record, there's no secret about this egg's coating, which is simply deep-fried kadaif vermicelli.

        I remember a particularly delicious ris de veau, which was the high point of the meal, unfortunately my companion ordered it, not I.

        Desserts are quite spectacular and may I say a bit out of place, being clearly designed for the grander dining-room of a Michelin starred restaurant. When the chef left La Grande Cascade where she was sous-chef to Frédéric Robert, she took the pastry chef under her arm and there you go. My strawberry soup was okay, it wasn't renewing the genre of strawberry soups in any way, but the huge mass of pink cotton candy freckled with a few bits of gold leaf was sort of incongruous with Pigalle a ten-minute walk away.

        The "Sphere" is quite impressive, and my companion liked it, but a couple of years ago the chef at Hercule Poireau (in Périgueux) was doing exactly the same thing, only crazier. Maybe he got the idea from La Grande Cascade, or maybe it is the other way round, or maybe the source is still elsewhere.

        1. re: Ptipois

          Geoffroy Maillard (La Table d'Eugene) has been doing a version of the chocolate sphere for a year now.

          1. re: mangeur

            So we have a terminus post quem which is Hercule Poirot in Périgueux, 2008. I wonder where it originated but I was having that dessert with food journalists who, like me, had never seen that sort of thing before. You can see a picture here - warm caramel sauce is poured over a sphere of white chocolate, revealing a volcanic chaos of dark chocolate, peanuts and vanilla ice cream. The photo was taken when the sphere was all melted down.

            1. re: Ptipois

              We are talking 29-36E here.
              Not hundreds of dollars.
              I am sorry that your Cod was a "tad" overcooked.
              This is a chance for people who do not want, or can't afford Star Restaurants to
              enjoy a Meal that is a visual treat, and in my opinion excellent Meal for a reasonable price.
              Possibly you could recommend a few Restaurants that fit this description, but are better in Paris, so that I can put them on my list for May?

              1. re: erly

                I don't think there is need of anymore publicity; 3 of us were there for dinner last night which was a Monday and it was complet.

                1. re: erly

                  Just giving my opinion here, based on the lunch I had. Nothing less, nothing more. And I think it is quite fair, with enough nuances to spare me any bitterness in the replies... It is not a bad place at all, it does have some very good points, and the dining-room has to fill up for good reasons, but a destination restaurant it is not.

                  Your answer is stressing what is probably the main weak point of Neva - squeezing the prices to the level of medium-range bistrot while trying to stick to haute cuisine preparations, food shaping and plating. Very fine but something inevitably has to drop on the way. Not in all dishes (no reproach to the ris de veau, which incidentally was the only dish that was simply cooked and plated), but there was nothing remarkable in anything I ate, though my table partner was probably luckier than I was.

                  That is precisely my point. For 29-36 euros I'm not expecting plates like I'd be served at La Grande Cascade for I know at what cost one usually makes that. So I fail to see the logic of being happy with star-restaurant plating for food that is inferior to star-restaurant standard, all of that for bistrot prices. For the same price I'd much rather have better-quality food, more simply plated.

                  To be more precise, my strawberry soup was visually spectacular, it could have been served in a 2-star Michelin, but it was dull in taste and made with pedestrian (or simply over-marinated) strawberries. When I see that I think 'to heck with fancy platings, give me good strawberries, and you can keep that cotton candy to yourself."

                  A few restaurants that fit this description (visual treat, excellent meal, reasonable price)? Hundreds of them.

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    Hi Ptipois,
                    I would very much appreciate it if you would recommend two or three such Restaurants for my next trip.
                    Had Lunch at Passage 53 last week, and the presentation and quality of the food was exciting, but the base price was 110E
                    We dined at 2- 3 star and 1- 2 star, and the perfect runny egg at Neva was my outstanding dish of the trip.

                    1. re: erly

                      Erly, Christian Constant was doing a good oeuf mollet croustillant about the time he opened Le Violon some 15 yrs. ago, but I agree that I never had a better one than last week at Neva. Here are pictures as presented on a purée of cauliflower and again after I attacked it.

                      As usual Ptipois is correct in stating that there are several other places with excellent young chefs offering this quality of cooking at reasonable prices...Septime, Les Bistronomes, etc. What sets Neva apart in my opinion is the more comfortable, sophisticated decor

                      1. re: Laidback

                        The œuf mollet croustillant has been a staple of the "Constant school" for quite some time. Yves Camdeborde makes the best version in my opinion, has been known to serve it at La Régalade, but I don't think he serves it at Le Comptoir. He does sometimes prepare it for stage demos at food events. He does not use kadaif but several layers of crispy breadcrumbs.

                        1. re: Laidback

                          Man. you are killing me. I had to cancel my Paris trip at the last minute and I had Neva booked for it although it seems to be in the middle of nowhere. I am a big fan of ouef mollet and ris de veau so it looked like I missed out.

                        2. re: erly

                          Would be happy to oblige. If you really want the "fine dining" look and the quality of food that comes with it, you won't find anything cheaper than 65 euros. I'll recommend the lunch menu at Les Ambassadeurs or at La Grande Cascade (both below 70 euros).

                          If you really want good lunch menus with great products and preparation, *and* classic plating on top of the bargain (I'm leaving aside the modern or bistrot platings, there's simply too many of them), try these:

                          Caïus (chef Jean-Marc Notelet), 39 €
                          Frédéric Simonin, 38 €
                          Le 39V, 39,50 and 49,50 €
                          L'Arôme, 37 €
                          Spring, about 42 €
                          Drouant, 43 €
                          Claude Colliot, 29 €
                          Chez les Anges, 35 €
                          Le Sot-l'y-Laisse, 14 and 18 €
                          La Cerisaie, 32 €
                          La Grande Ourse, 18 and 20 €

                          La Cerisaie
                          Boulevard Edgar Quinet, Paris, Île-de-France 75014, FR

                          1. re: Ptipois

                            Thank you for the suggestions.
                            There are several Restaurants on your list that we have not been to, and will keep the list for our next trip.

                  2. re: mangeur

                    Though recently Maillard started adding black pepper to his sphere, and I don't think it works that well... but I think he's changing it some times, I actually also had a Poire Belle Helene which had a milk-chocolate sphere which was delightful!

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