"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Will -- Restaurant Review

75 Rue Crozatier 12eme
Tel: 01 53 17 02 44
Metro: Ledru-Rollin
email: willrestaurant@gmail.com
Open: Monday lunch: Tuesday through Saturday, lunch and dinner
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses) Note: Does not include beverages

1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-75); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-80); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)

  4.5 - stars...............................................................€€€........................................................... 1 - Bell

Note: If you order from the pre-fix menu, it's much more reasonable

What a find. This restaurant has just been opened for a little more than 2-weeks, but Chef William Pradeleix is no stranger to fine cooking. He has worked with the legendary Hélène Darroze at the Connaught in London and with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the St. Regis in Bora Bora. And, prior to Will, he worked at "Manager" in Paris which got rave reviews, although I did not particulary care for it, refer to (My review of Manger).

This restaurant is located right around the corner from "Marché D'Aligre" a very popular market in the 12eme. At first I thought it's sort of an out of the way location, since it's very much in a residential area, with little if any business traffic. But as I thought about it, this area draws alot of people locally and from all over the world for the market. For us, it's on the other side of Paris, so rarely are we in this arrondissement.

The interior of the building is lovely. Very new and modern, with extremely large, wide open windows. In fact, the windows gave it more of a sense of space, even though it's not a large restaurant.  My guess is that it probably holds 30-people.

The menu was presented in a slip envelop, they did not spare any expense on the quality of the menu. And, their logo reminded me of the "W" hotels logo, hmmm?  They do have a lunch special for 19€ which included 2 small entrees and the plat du jour or the plat du jour and a dessert of your choice.  Very reasonable. So, we perused the menu a bit before we made our decisions. It was a very interesting menu, first thought was this was going to be an Asian Fusion restaurant.


Originally one friend ordered the "Consommé Thai", to follow with the special of the day which was beef cheeks. The waiter spoke to the Chef, and said to our friend that the consommé and beef cheeks had the same broth, would he like to try something different to give him more of variety? Wow, now who does that in Paris. The restaurant went up a notch as far as I'm concerned. So, instead he opted for the "Hamachi -- bonbon de pamplemousse/réduction citrus" (Amberjack fish - sweet grapefruit / citrus reduction) . The two men loved it. I took a taste of it and thought it was delicious, but for me it's a taste preference, I do not like grapefruit in any form or shape! But objectively speaking, it was right on mark!

I had the "Carpaccio de maigre citronnelle/vinaigrette gingembre" (Carpaccio of fish lemon / ginger vinaigrette). This dish was to die for. It had a very, very light soy with the lemon, almost tasted like there was "mirin". This dish was perfect for a first start. The fish was so fresh and tender, and the radishes gave it a nice contracting texture.

Now in both cases of the fish entrées, they reminded me so much of sashimi, the difference being they already incorporated the sauces into the fish; hence no need to have dipping sauces (e.g., soy sauce and wasabi), or pickled ginger. They were both a hit. I bet if they added a touch of wasabi if it would been fantastic and brought it to the next level. But alas, it would be too strong for the majority of the French palate!

One person had the "Asperges blanches Mousse dashi/rhubarbe rafraichie" (White asparagus mousse dashi / rhubarb refreshed).  I am not normally a fan of white asparagus. I find them extremely boring and bland. However, the way the Chef prepared this dish was excellent. The creamy dashi was subtle and the rhubarb although not obvious added a surprisingly sweet note rather than a sour note, which rhubarbs are known to impart.


"Daikon en risotto à l'encre coquillages / émulsion curcuma" (Daikon in ink risotto shellfish / emulsion turmeric) thus far all the entrées have been excellent and this plat was over the top in terms of creativity and taste elements.  The daikon were cubed to make it appear like risotto, they were wonderfully creamy with the right amount of squid ink to give it a distinct taste. The shell fish were cooked perfectly. I am also a huge fan of turmeric, and the turmeric presented in the emulsion was subtle but wonderfully tasty. The color combinations really made it visually appealing and interesting. This plat was a big hit!

I had the "Poitrine de cochon confite du cantal artichaut / jus facon teriyaki" (Pork belly confit artichoke Cantal / juice teriyaki way). A lot of my friends know, one of my favorite comfort foods is pork belly, braised, fried, boiled, you name it, I love it. But if it's done wrong, then it's another story. I absolutely fell in love with this dish. The crispiness of the skin with the moist meaty interior with the teriyaki sauce caramelizing the meat was heaven.  Since I just fell in love with it  I forgot to mention the baby artichokes. They were a good side dish, but the star was definitely the pork.

Lastly our friend had the Plat du jour which was the "Beef cheeks in their consommé Thai". Although this dish was very, very tasty and good, after tasting all the wonderful flavors of the entrées, pork, and risotto, I found this my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, it was good, well constructed, and delicious, but it reminded me alot of typical stews that I could easily make at home, or any Asian household.  The kumquat topping was a very clever and delicious addition.


Comme d'hab, I had the cheese plate. It was two types of chevre served with a sweet spice and mango preserves and a dusting of "sable sweet crust" As I always say, you can't go wrong with cheeses in France, so I was a happy camper.

One person had the "Eton Mess fruits rouges / Zestes d'agrumes" (Eton Mess red fruit / citrus zests)  the Chef's interpretation of the traditional British dessert, "Eton Mess".  The dessert was very good, but nothing out of the ordinary. It was meringue topped with strawberries and raspberries.

Lastly our friend had the "Panna cotta basilic Thaï ananas rôtis/ sorbet mangue" (Panna cotta Thai basil roasted pineapple / mango sorbet). This was a wonderfully constructed and presented dessert. It was covered in a thin sheet of sugar waver that needed to be cracked, to get your reward. It was a bit humorous, cause I kept thinking of "creme brûlée", it was whimsical French take.

I loved this dessert. It was creamy, the basil was not overwhelming, the pineapples and mango was such a wonderful refreshing accompaniment


All I have to say is WOW! What a great find. The food is excellent, the service unbeatable. Everything was composed and presented with style without going overboard with pretensions. Although there are alot of Asian influences in the dishes, they aren't overwhelming. The Chef used his knowledge of Asian products and interpreted them into his dishes with his French cooking sensibilities.  All in all, CHAPEAU BAS (Hats Off). So, you can rest assured we will go back.

With a bottle of "Chateau de la Liquière", 3-glasses of white wine, 1-extra glass of red and coffee our bill came to 171€ for 3 people, not cheap by any means; however, worth every centime. You can lower your costs by ordering the pre-fix.  

Go quick before word gets out and you'll be unable to get seats!

Note: We went back on May 3, 2014, and it was just as good as the first time!

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