EAT WELL IN PARIS #91 — Restaurants, grocery stores, wine shops, pastries, cocktail bars… Our food critic and our bar critic distribute the “Ts”. This week on the test bench: Tenzen, Ave Pizza Romana, Le Cyrano and Isola.
Sharp noon or 7 p.m. sharp, and there’s no question of being late: to access this restaurant nestled in the basement of Zen, you have to show your credentials and comply with the rules of the game. Because behind the sliding door hides a authentic part of Japan, where only twelve guests can nestle along a cypress counter. Behind the chef Jiro Kondo officiates and, against all odds, it’s not sushi that he’s going to prepare before our eyes, but… tempura. Yes, this little pagan temple is dedicated to the worship of these donuts imported into Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese Jesuit missionaries. The ceremony begins with a parade ofotsumami, appetizers composed of omelet, eggplant with miso, sashimi delicate brill and amberjack. This is followed by eight delicious tempuras fried in cottonseed oil: from the head of shrimp (offering of choice) to new potatoes, including monkfish, pumpkin or leek. To finish, a bowl of rice crowned with khaki (mixed vegetable pancake), then a delicate dessert based on pear, blueberry, marigold and chestnut. An exotic experience that is worth its price.
8, rue de l’Echelle, 1er (entrance through the Zen restaurant). Tue. 7 p.m.-11 p.m., Wed. to Sat. 12 p.m.-3 p.m. and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Lunch menu €65, dinner €120. Res. mandatory on tenzen.fr with bank imprint.
r Ave pizza romana
After a decade of reign in Paris from Neapolitan pizza to corner (sidewalk) thick and with a soft dough, has the time for Roman pizza finally come? A larger diameter, discreet edges and a very thin dough, which becomes almost crispy: romaine has its charms as well, which can be savored in this pizzeria with its trendy decor (raw walls, white Tolix stools at the counter, pedestal tables of marble). Red or white, it tumbles proudly accompanied by a pair of scissors to be cut more easily, because no one eats it with cutlery… apart from our American neighbours, happy to imagine themselves in the Italian capital for a few moments. Scissors are also good for sharing pizzas with friends: half aorto gialla (yellow tomatoes, artichoke, mushrooms and pesto), half of parmigiana (aubergines and parmesan), everyone finds their pleasure. Finally, the maritozzo (brioche filled with whipped cream) requires a strong appetite, while theaffogato has the merit of combining coffee and sweetness. Here is a scoop of ice cream stracciatella drowned in an excellent Trinci espresso and buried under whipped cream: a luxurious version of this always pleasant Italian classic.
90, rue de la Folie-Méricourt, 11e. 09 83 63 83 81. Tue. to Sat. noon-2.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Pizzas €13-18, desserts €5.50-7. Vegetarian option. Res. advised.
r The Cyrano
For a long time, we only found ordinary boards and halfbacks here. People came above all for the splendor of the zinc, the spectacular golden mosaics and the pre-war frescoes featuring Edmond Rostand’s hero. Formerly, the surrealists had even made it one of their headquarters. The charm of the place, founded in 1854, continues, but its takeover in August by a band of merry men gives it a second youth. In the basement, Charleyne Valet prepares all her clever mise en place, warms up and sets the plates directly behind the counter, where you can have lunch for a few euros less. The leeks with vinaigrette are skilfully surrounded by noris seaweed to compose a delicious mosaic topped with a confit egg yolk and are spiced up with a hazelnut vinaigrette, while the sausage-mash with mustard pickles plays the terroir without blunder chubby. We also appreciate the number of dishes featuring plants, such as this exquisite vegetable blanquette with crunchy black rice. Good news: Cyrano has finally regained his panache!
3, rue Biot, 17ᵉ. 01 40 07 55 05. Daily. 12pm-2.30pm and 7pm-10.30pm. Formulas already. €18-22, at the counter €16.50-20, bun to take away €8.50, dinner plates €8-12, platters €9.50-17.50. Vegetarian options.
Guido grew up in Venice and recreated here a bacaro, typical bar-restaurant of the city of the Doges, where you can taste the famous cichetti, these mini sandwiches covered with cod or artichoke cream, hard-boiled egg, anchovies or ham. He serves them with a glass of wine or spritz (12 euros) in pure Venetian tradition. You can also dine on excellent Italian dishes (parmigiana, gnocchi, cappellacci…). Natural or organic, the wines cover all the terroirs and grape varieties of La Botte; cold cuts and vegetables come from Veneto; and the cocktails are perfect, like this loaded yet well-balanced Negroni, with that little italian touch which sends us in direct flight to the paradise of theappetizer ! But the place also feeds the spirits, because it is the meeting point of the secular anti-fascist association I sentinelli di Parigi, necessary in view of the results of the last elections in Italy! LGBT causes also have their place here. Isola is also a literary canteen. Many events are organized there (meetings, debates, exhibitions, concerts, etc.) and unite a transalpine community that shares both the good taste of the land and progressive political ideas. Tutto bene!
15, rue Ternaux, 11e. Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight. Glass of wine €5-7, cocktails €9, mains €18.