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May 26, 2014 08:31 AM

Neva cuisine - review

Neva cuisine has mixed reviews on Chowhound, and mine will probably add to the "mixiness".
Also, I find most reviews online describe this place as bistro or bistronomy... but I think things have shifted, because the food I ate was more creative and refined, and I'm pretty sure Chef Beatriz Gonzales is moving away from the bistros and has her eyes looking at the stars...

My dinner there was like a roller-coaster, with some amazing heights, and some rather dull lows...

-- The highs --

"Octopus 'a la plancha' - celery - cucumber - Kochi yuzu"
This dish (pictured above) looked amazing. Like an ikebana that has lost its zen, and went into a baroque mood. With a dish like this, there is a great risk that the tongue will not see eye to eye with the eyes, and if that happens the dish becomes a ridiculous joke... But hopefully it was the opposite. While the octopus could have been a little bit more tender, everything else was greatly balanced. The smooth guacamole was electric and whipped the cephalopod's ass which was itself seasoned with panache. And the vegetables added texture and mingled with everyone else with a green mellow and light taste.
A truly memorable dish.

"Mille-feuilles - Tahiti vanilla - fleur de sel caramel - peanuts"
I don't think I ever had a dough as flaky and light as this one. Nicely browned to bring out its nutty aromas, it contrasted beautifully with the whipped cream with vanilla, airy and comforting. The caramel added a nice spiky note to this otherwise very subtle dessert.
I love crème patissière, which is usually used in mille-feuilles, but in this case, I did not miss it one bit.

-- The lows --

"Cod brandade - amuse bouche"
I will not go into details about the lows, but this brandade was barely ok and soft, but definitely not a good amuse-bouche (which is supposed to awaken the palate).

"'Crousti-fondant' sweetbreads - cider braised celery - granny smith apples - meat jus
The sweetbreads were soft and tender (fondant), but not crisp at all ("crousti")... but what made the dish sink for me was a parmesan cheese sauce, with lemon and lemongrass, that gave the whole plate a slightly disturbing cheesecake taste.

I don't know what to make of this meal. Most people would find that at 42€ for the menu, if half the dishes were not up to par, then the dinner was a failure, but the good dishes were not just good, they were outstanding. So even though I may be in the minority, I do feel it was worth it, and I admire chef Gonzales' creativity, even if it is not always successful, because when it is, it's a freakin' party.


For a longer review in Moliere's language, and some other photos of the beautiful looking dishes, head over to :

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  1. Your photos are incredible! Thanks for the report.

      1. re: Parigi

        Yes -- and this review has put Neva back on our list to try. -- Jake

      2. Thanks to all, I'm glad you enjoyed it !

        If you visit, I hope you will get the same highs I did (and none of the lows).

        1. What great photos. Coincidentally, 3 of us dined with Mme Gonzales last night and the octopus dish was one of the best of our 2 month stay, visually a delight, with the juxtaposition of textures and flavors, the cucumber opposite the avocado with the octopus playing harmony. We eat here at least once each trip since she opened and one of our group usually gets the crousti-fondant ris de veau and last night was no exception. Perhaps she read your post because it had the same crispy exterior and unctuous interior that keeps bringing me back. Her pastry chef is a master, I hope he will stay put; as you undoubtedly know they were together at La Grande Cascade and I think their combination is symmetry of a high order for a restaurant at this price level.

          Thanks for the eloquent in both languages review.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Laidback

            You had no trouble paying the bill after Mrs Laidback's shoe follies ?

            1. re: Parigi

              Unfortunately I don't know how to do a Bronx cheer on the internet, Ms Repetto.

            2. re: Laidback

              Thank you.
              I'm happy you agree about the octopus. Honestly I would have been happy with this dish in a starred (1, 2, 3...?) restaurant.
              I know the restaurant is famous for their sweetbreads, and maybe I should have noted that on my review, so I was obviously there a bad night, as it wasn't crispy. However, what really bothered me was that cheese/lemon sauce. Did you have the same side dish ? Did you like it ?

              As for the pictures, I realized recently that "someone" had played with my camera, and changed the settings... I was feeling my pictures were not as they used to, but didn't bother to find why. Found it, finally, so I hope I will keep the same quality in the future (although I have to admit, at Neva Cuisine, I dined early, and had my back to the window, so had perfect lighting, which is not always the case).

            3. (On the train back to Paris after a day in Toulouse)
              Let me respond in not quite the language of Molière,
              tu déchires ! putaing cong !!

              5 Replies
                1. re: Parigi

                  Love it when Cantona remembers (to) parler marseillais. But "putaing cong" is even more common in Toulouse (or so it seems from a hour in the Marché Victor Hugo there)

                2. re: Parnassien

                  My heart is swollen by your compliment. :)

                  1. re: Rio Yeti

                    You mean: "Je t'en prie, putaing cong."