|10 Rue de Richelieu 1er|
Metro: line #1, #7 Bus 95, 69 (Palais Royale Musée de Louvre)
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)
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 - Star......................................................€€€......................................................... 3 - Bell
A good friend J, also a food writer, wrote this as one of his top 10 favorite restaurants to date for 2015. But it took another friend of ours Linda to say, let's go and make the arrangements. Thank you J and thank you Linda. What a find.
Located in the 1er arrondissement next to "Palais Royale," this is the second restaurant by the owners of "Pirouette", (click on link to see review). The Chef Yannick Lahopgnou originally from Cameron, worked in Osaka Japan where he worked for 4 years as executive chef of a 1* Michelin French restaurant, that explains the menu, which I'll go into later.
We were 4 for dinner. The interior of Zébulon had the same style sensibility as Pirouette. Clean lines, simple decor in a high tech style, but not cold or uninviting, probably because they used wood for the bar and had the softness of wooden chairs. I liked it.
They have a wall filled with wines, albeit a bit pricey. They're known for their extensive wine collection. We selected a more reasonably priced bordeaux, which we all had mixed reviews on. Even our waiter gave us the slight impression that maybe we should let it breath so the wine would soften. I personally did not like this wine.
For our amuse bouche we had a "gourgère" filled with salmon. I joked that it reminded me of a petite lighter version of bagels and lox. The salmon was good, but definitely had an intense strong salmon flavor.
Dashi, magret de canard, foie gras, navets, yuzu (Dashi, duck breast, foie gras, turnips, yuzu). Now what an interesting entrée. We were leery at first, after all "dashi", which is basically fish and kelp stock, with duck and foie gras? Wow, talk about a refined dish. Japanese are known for their subtle and refined uses of ingredients. This dish really worked. The dashi and "yuzu" worked. No one component overtook another. It all complimented each other. The broth was light with a slight fattiness from the foie gras and duck and we know fat adds flavor. The foie gras and duck were cooked perfectly, overall delicious. In fact, one of my favorite entrées. What a great start.
Rascasse, raviole, fenouil, saule vierge (Scorpion fish, ravioli, fennel, virgin willow). The two who ordered this dish loved it. I tasted and thought it was very good. The swordfish was cooked perfectly and sat atop a ravoli filled with fennel; it almost had a slightly sweet taste. Accompanying it was a roasted fennel stalk. Nicely composed dish. Although a very good dish, I preferred the other 2-plats, which I'll describe next.
Filet de veau fregula, asperges blanches, artichauts (Veal fillet fregula, white asparagus, artichokes). This dish was perfect. I don't normally like rare meats of any kind, but whoever their source is, my hats off to you. The veal was so tender and moist, and the "fregula" pasta accompanying the dish along with the jus was a nice accompaniment. This was another hit.
Pigeon royal miel-canelle, pommel gaufrette (Royal Pigeon honey-cinnamon, apple waffled wafer). This was my favorite dish of all the plats). I was surprised that there was a touch of cinnamon in the sauce, since it's pretty well known that French Chefs don't really like cinnamon in savory dishes, nor for that matter is rarely used in desserts. The pigeon sitting atop sweet cabbage was perfect. The pigeon was so succulent and the accompanying sauce was out of this world delicious. It was packed with so much flavor that a little went a long way. I could've licked the plat. And, who doesn't like crispy, crunchy potato chips! I will definitely order this dish again!
As some of my readers know, as a general rule I don't eat sugar, so I can eat savory without worrying about getting too fat. Unfortunately, they did not have a cheese platter, oh well. But the others ordered two of the desserts, which I did take a taste of.
Praliné noisette, biscuit, chocolat au lait, sorbet citron (Hazelnut praline, biscuit, chocolate milk lemon sorbet). Of the two desserts we ordered, I have to say, this was absolutely stupendous. Very simply presented. The bittersweet chocolate, encased a very beautiful soft creamy milk chocolate mousse was heaven. And the citron sorbet' was truly a nice "ying-yang" experience of sweet and tart. I loved this dish.
This restaurant has been opened for a little more than a year, and it's already on the radar of many food enthusiasts. The food is forward thinking, innovative and all-around presented beautifully, and they were uniquely delicious.
So, one word CHAPEAU! (hats off), to the Chef. This is my own prejudice, but I find Asian Chefs or French Chefs of late, who've traveled to Asia serving French food in Paris are truly wonderfully innovative, forward thinking Chefs. And, with globalization, Chefs who impart flavors from other countries with classical French cuisine are a hit. The French rigidity of classic French food is starting to soften, thank goodness. I believe Chefs who travel the world are truly the future of the culinary world. Imagine, a French classically trained Chef using ingredients from the world. A match made in heaven.
As for the dishes, my favorite entrée was the "Dorade confite avocat, pétales d'endives sesame, grillé", an East meets West dish. For the plats, hands down the pigeon. And, for the dessert definitely the chocolate. The service was EXCELLENT! The only minor complaint, is since the walls are bare, it can be difficult to hear. But that's a minor price to pay for the outstanding food!
This restaurant is a little pricey, but well worth it. With 1-bottle of bordeaux, 2-glasses of rosé (FYI, wines by the glasses are much more reasonably priced) our meal for 4-people came to 226€.
This has to be one of my favorite restaurants of 2015 to date!
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