It’s likely that the relatively remote location of this gourmet bistrot in the 20th arrondissement neighborhood of Belleville will discourage a fair number of people, but those who wisely venture forth will catch two rising young stars—the Anglo-American Michael Greenwold and his Italian souschef Simone Tondo. They cook in tandem, each bringing a particular background to the kitchen: Greenwold previously worked with Inaki Aizpitarte at Paris’s much lionized Le Chateaubriand in the 11th arrondissement, and Tondo was most recently at the excellent Caffé dei Cioppi, perhaps the city’s best Italian restaurant. The earnest young hybrid team produces a cameo suite of tasting portions that are focused on produce, aesthetically studied, technically alert and cautiously sensual. Even before the first dish arrived at the table, our group liked the brilliantly funky venue—a small and slightly ramshackle old tavern, named after a small red-skinned variety of potato—and the winsomely charming service by Erica Biswell, the lovely Colombian sommelier, and Clément Boutreux, previously a waiter at Le Bistrot Paul Bert.
If the first course of our tasting menu—a grilled langoustine tail with petits pois in a coulis of petits pois with raspberries— reminded me of Bertrand Grébaut’s cooking at Septime, the potato purée with onions, clams and toast crumbs was the dish that cued me to the serious talent in the kitchen here. The butter-rich purée was a brilliant foil for the small briny clams, and the soubise onion sauce added a sophisticated roundness, with a dose of something sweet, to the gastronomic composition. Our grilled steak with anchovy cream, potato purée—as the name implies, potatoes play a big part here—and roasted, riced cauliflower went down exceedingly well with a lush Sangiovese from Emilia-Romagna. The strawberry crumble for dessert was a final, sweet expression of Roseval’s eager young cooking.
1 rue d’Eupatoria, 20th, 09.53.56.24.14. Menus €35, €42; wine starting at €24.
Prices are approximate, per person without wine. Alexander Lobrano’s book Hungry for Paris is published by Random House. www.hungryforparis.com. Find Hungry for Paris and more in the France Today Bookstore.
Originally published in the September 2012 issue of France Today