One of the most interesting recent trends in Paris is that the city’s culinary talent has become increasingly international. Giovanni Passerini, from Rome, has a hit on his hands at Rino, as does American chef Daniel Rose at Spring, and there are dozens of outstanding Japanese-born chefs cooking French food in the city today too. One of the best is Yasuhiro Kanayama, who cooked with Eric Frechon at the Hôtel Bristol and Pascal Barbot at L’Astrance before taking over the tiny kitchen at the funky bistrot Le Bistral in the Batignolles district of the Right Bank 17th arrondissement.
I stopped by for dinner recently with Bruno, my most indefatigable dining companion, and we started out with a brilliant pair of first courses: a scallop carpaccio with crushed roasted peanuts, a fine puree of carrots and a scattering of tart oxalis (wood sorrel); and a contemporary variation on vitello tonnato—chopped veal with celery, peas and a delicious, foamy green herbal tuna sauce. My main course was a succulent rack of lamb with eggplant puree and three different versions of braised carrots; his was sea bass in a light yuzu (Japanese lemon) sauce with baby vegetables. Instead of dessert, we shared a terrific quartet of cheeses from Alléosse, the excellent fromager in rue Poncelet. I’m looking forward to my next meal here, but I offer one caveat—when you reserve, make it clear that you don’t want to be seated in the narrow corridor at the back of the restaurant.
80 rue Lemercier, 17th, 01.42.63.59.61. website
Fixed-price menus €29, €58. A la carte €45. Prices are per person without wine.
Originally published in the January 2011 issue of France Today