Paris: Japanese/French fusion: where would you go?
Hello again Paris hounds,
I'm back to Paris in January, this time with my 21 year old daughter in tow for part of the trip. She's been to Paris once (when she was 13) and is looking forward to accompanying me to my favorite Parisian haunts. She loves French food and is an adventurous eater so I know she'll be happy with my choices..but, she is also a big fan of all things Japanese, especially Japanese food. I really don't want to go the sushi route when I'm in Paris (even though it would make HER very happy) but, since this trip is also a birthday gift to her, I was hoping that you could suggest a place that had the best of both worlds: French food for me with a Japanese flair for her. I'm on somewhat of a budget so somewhere like Kei is a bit out of my budget. Thanks in advance!
There's no shortage of that sort of food in Paris, Japanese chefs cooking French food with a Japanese flair are literally all over the place.
First that comes to mind is Toyo, who used to be designer Kenzo's personal chef, very interesting but not cheap.
Then you've got oodles of them, from the rather elaborate sit-down tasting menu to the hastier lunch menu served in thimble-sized rooms. Results do vary in quality but the Japanese talent for cooking everything to the exact point is always there: La Table d'Aki, Sola, Saké Bar (ex-Youlin), Vivant Table, Abri, Passage 53, Kunitoraya 2 (this one is Japanese cooking with French touches), and I'm sure there's two or three more that opened while I was writing this.
Figaroscope and Elle both recently had listings of Japanese chef'd places (The Table d'Aki, Kei, Clandestino, Vivant Table, L'Office, Passage 53, L'Agape, Abri, La Bigarrade, Sola & Chez La Vieille) and since then two other places have impressed me - Les Degres de Notre Dame and H. Kitchen; but none are really fusion cooking, all are Japanese chefs doing mostly French stuff.
For fusion you might have to go back to the future and the first one to my knowledge in town - Cartes Postales in the 1st where there's a 25 E menu
A second rec for Toyo. But even lunch is relative pricey. Sigh.
le Petit Verdot on the rue du Cherche-Midi in the 6th ...but more French than Japanese;
le Concert de Cuisine on the rue Nélaton in the 15th near Bir Hakeim ... but more Japanese than French
I think Sola is a bit more Japanese-inspired than some of the others, plus the cooking is quite stunning and the room is good as well. I'm a big fan of Passage 53 but it's pricey, and although the cooking technique at La Table d'Aki is correct, the room and atmosphere are uninspiring. I have not been to Abri or Vivant Table but am eager to dine at each.
Thank you all! I know that there have been a wave of new places so this really gives me some direction. I really like Toyo and Sola...but they might be a bit over the budget this time (maybe I'll save that for when the Mr. comes along). But some of the others are perfect...after careful consideration I think I'm leaning towards being a nice mom and going for the more Japanese end of the spectrum - Concert de Cuisine and Saké Bar look really good, as does La Table d'Aki, although it was just written up in the NYT...hmmm
Anyway, thanks again, I'm sure she will be thrilled with my choice! :)
<I'm sure she will be thrilled with my choice!>
Not so sure about that. My bff took her granddaughter to Paris this past summer. GD speaks fluent Japanese and loves, LOVES Japanese food.
They tried Japanese food twice during their week and reported two thumbs firmly down for both although both places came "highly recommended." Major complaint was that the food was not really Japanese because it was so toned down for French tastes.
I wouldn't say don't try one, but don't be too optimistic,, either.