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John Talbott

Truly creative restaurants anywhere in Paris

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Host’s Note

On another topic Al Wang asked us to suggest truly creative restaurants anywhere in Paris. I think it would be clearest if we separated this from restos in the 11th.

I'll start the ball rolling;

How about:

Les Magnolias

Ze Kitchen Galerie

Lena & Mimile (the Herve This items).


John Talbott

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Host’s Note

On another topic Al Wang asked us to suggest truly creative restaurants anywhere in Paris.  I think it would be clearest if we separated this from restos in the 11th.

I'll start the ball rolling;

How about:

Les Magnolias

Ze Kitchen Galerie

Lena & Mimile (the Herve This items).

ONe has to define creative?

TRuly creative like P gagnaire or modern cuisine with creative twists,i.e La table d'eugene.Jadis etc

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Host’s Note

On another topic Al Wang asked us to suggest truly creative restaurants anywhere in Paris.  I think it would be clearest if we separated this from restos in the 11th.

I'll start the ball rolling;

How about:

Les Magnolias

Ze Kitchen Galerie

Lena & Mimile (the Herve This items).

I have only been to 2 of the above and would agree. As you know, I think that Carte Blanche in the 9th also fits the category of creative.

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...I think that Carte Blanche in the 9th also fits the category of creative.

I would like to agree, but we found Carte Blanche, for want of a better word, thin. e.g., tremendously interesting ravioli fillings, but since served only as an assortment of three, difficult to get a fix on any single flavor, and similar difficulty in truly appreciating a possibly incredible taste before it was gone because of the tiny sample. This is not to say that the plates were stingy but that the flavors were spread so thin that they were hard to grasp. IMHO.

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ONe has to define creative?

TRuly creative like P gagnaire or modern cuisine with creative twists,i.e La table d'eugene.Jadis etc

I guess what I mean by creative is ingredients, flavors, and techniques that I'm unlikely to find elsewhere. That may include either:

- Truly creative restaurants, possibly like Gagnaire, which have few frames of reference for regional comparison, OR

- Modern cuisine with twists that I'm unlikely to find outside of Paris/France.

My own eating experience is based largely around New York City. I've had my fair share of molecular gastronomy meals in the US, so I wouldn't necessarily find rote mimicry of El Bulli techniques "creative". Since there are very good restaurants in NYC combining Western and Asian flavors, I also wouldn't find fusion "creative" in of itself, unless there was some intrinsically French twist on it. (That's why at least from the online menu, I have not been too excited about Ze Kitchen Gallerie)

Hope that clarifies, or at least fuels the discussion. ;)


---

al wang

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ONe has to define creative?

TRuly creative like P gagnaire or modern cuisine with creative twists,i.e La table d'eugene.Jadis etc

Interesting distinction Pierre.

But is Jadis, (or even Cameleon), creative or is its formula (finding an old cookbook and using contemporary equipment and ingredients) creative or "going back to the future?"

I'd agree that Gagnaire and the other starred boys, famously and formerly Loiseau, keep creating. To recall Loiseau's obsession with constant creation is to remember what a tough business this is.

And I agree with Margaret that Carte Blanche, which I originally thought was a slightly less impressive version of Ze, has not worn well with us.


John Talbott

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I"ll add one: Bigarrade Christophe Pele.

I would include the variable of price along with food when thinking of creativity. What he is trying to do for the price he is charging is for me very creative.

Cameleon I enjoy , especially the calves liver dish. It is a fine resto experience. But I do not think of it in the creative category.

sandy

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ONe has to define creative?

TRuly creative like P gagnaire or modern cuisine with creative twists,i.e La table d'eugene.Jadis etc

Interesting distinction Pierre.

But is Jadis, (or even Cameleon), creative or is its formula (finding an old cookbook and using contemporary equipment and ingredients) creative or "going back to the future?"

I'd agree that Gagnaire and the other starred boys, famously and formerly Loiseau, keep creating. To recall Loiseau's obsession with constant creation is to remember what a tough business this is.

And I agree with Margaret that Carte Blanche, which I originally thought was a slightly less impressive version of Ze, has not worn well with us.

One can say that ,Perhaps creative cuisine will cover the area of truly new forms such as nouvelle cuisine ,when it was created in the 80's, then recently molecular.However one could perhaps refer to a new style of cuisine under the name of modern french, a new style of cuisine that uses french methods of cooking but introduces new spices,ie, asian ,middle easter or adds non french elements or forms,I,e raviole,Mergez,Bulghur,etc

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I"ll add one: Bigarrade Christophe Pele. 

I would include the variable of price along with food when thinking of creativity.  What he is trying to do for the price he is charging is for me very creative. 

Cameleon I enjoy , especially the calves liver dish. It is a fine resto experience. But I do not think of it in the creative category.

sandy

So, Sandy, am I correct that it's your sense that what makes Bigarrade creative is its pricing not its food? If so, that would then open up a whole new bunch of places.

John Talbott

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I"ll add one: Bigarrade Christophe Pele. 

I would include the variable of price along with food when thinking of creativity.  What he is trying to do for the price he is charging is for me very creative. 

Cameleon I enjoy , especially the calves liver dish. It is a fine resto experience. But I do not think of it in the creative category.

sandy

So, Sandy, am I correct that it's your sense that what makes Bigarrade creative is its pricing not its food? If so, that would then open up a whole new bunch of places.

Hi John

Thanks for forcing me to be more exact. What I am trying to say is one view of creativity involves " what you make out of what you have to work with" compared to others. It is always about the food, but the food is created from the ingredients.

On one hand creativity will express itself independently at all levels of available resources(ingredients). However given two creative chefs the one with the most resources will always out since more resources will provide more options.

I appreciate both but respect more the creativity of a creative chef who inspires my taste having 10E worth of ingredients to cook with versus a creative chef who has 100E worth of ingredients with which to cook. I think I feel this way because with unlimited budget there is the danger that the ingredient itself will be considered what is creative in the dish as opposed to the creative use of the ingredient in the dish compared to how others have used it.

Sandy

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I"ll add one: Bigarrade Christophe Pele. 

I would include the variable of price along with food when thinking of creativity.  What he is trying to do for the price he is charging is for me very creative. 

Cameleon I enjoy , especially the calves liver dish. It is a fine resto experience. But I do not think of it in the creative category.

sandy

So, Sandy, am I correct that it's your sense that what makes Bigarrade creative is its pricing not its food? If so, that would then open up a whole new bunch of places.

Hi John

Thanks for forcing me to be more exact. What I am trying to say is one view of creativity involves " what you make out of what you have to work with" compared to others. It is always about the food, but the food is created from the ingredients.

On one hand creativity will express itself independently at all levels of available resources(ingredients). However given two creative chefs the one with the most resources will always out since more resources will provide more options.

I appreciate both but respect more the creativity of a creative chef who inspires my taste having 10E worth of ingredients to cook with versus a creative chef who has 100E worth of ingredients with which to cook. I think I feel this way because with unlimited budget there is the danger that the ingredient itself will be considered what is creative in the dish as opposed to the creative use of the ingredient in the dish compared to how others have used it.

Sandy

Understood and agreed with.

It reminds me of the way the Bocuse d'Or competition works and indeed, that's the way my daughter's graduation meal "test" at cooking school went; fixed ingredients, fixed time, pressure to put them together interestingly.

I'd rather have "trash" fish cooked inventively than the haute gamme stuff broiled.

In that light, a place that insists on holding prices down despite inflation and the economy is Clocher Periere and I guess that qualifies as creative.

I was thinking Al wanted more of the stuff he cannot get in coastal US gastro-bastions, eg

ingredients, flavors, and techniques that I'm unlikely to find elsewhere.

John Talbott

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A meal I ate at Itinéraires late last year might qualify here. The dishes - even though on the blackboard most sounded quite straightforward - all had enough creativity to surprise (with pleasure) and were all delicious.

Maybe the idea for the especially good jerusalem artichoke soup with a foie gras granita on the side that gradually melted into the soup was inspired by the grated frozen foie gras dish from New York’s Momofuku Ko that became instantly famous earlier last year, but even if it was, it was a sufficiently different to qualify as creative in its own right and was more satisfying than the Ko dish on a chilly November day. Neither main ingredient - the jerusalem artichokes or the foie gras - are particularly unusual but the unexpected way they were used qualified it one of my more creative 2008 dishes. Other more familiar sounding dishes, such as the mont blanc, were also uniquely interpreted.

(I think that means my definition of creative is something I would/could not have imagined myself, have not seen elsewhere, and to be worth mentioning, also tastes delicious. For the restaurant to qualify as creative, most, if not all of the dishes, would need to meet the criteria.)

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A meal I ate at Itinéraires late last year might qualify here. The dishes - even though on the blackboard most sounded quite straightforward - all had enough creativity to surprise (with pleasure) and were all delicious.

Maybe the idea for the especially good jerusalem artichoke soup with a foie gras granita on the side that gradually melted into the soup was inspired by the grated frozen foie gras dish from New York’s Momofuku Ko that became instantly famous earlier last year, but even if it was, it was a sufficiently different to qualify as creative in its own right and was more satisfying than the Ko dish on a chilly November day. Neither main ingredient - the jerusalem artichokes or the foie gras - are particularly unusual but the unexpected way they were used qualified it one of my more creative 2008 dishes.  Other more familiar sounding dishes, such as the mont blanc, were also uniquely interpreted.

(I think that means my definition of creative is something I would/could not have imagined myself, have not seen elsewhere, and to be worth mentioning, also tastes delicious. For the restaurant to qualify as creative, most, if not all of the dishes, would need to meet the criteria.)

If our meal at Itineraires compared with yours, I would agree.

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Well, Phyllis/Felice and I ate today at a really creative place run by a really creative guy - Gilles Choukroun's three week old MBC, 4, rue du Debarcadere in the 17th, 01.45.72.22.55, closed Saturday noon and Sundays. (I'll be posting my full report in 10 days, per usual.)

M. Choukroun is the darling of the Generation "C"/Omnivore/Le Fooding Gang but our incredibly genial/joking waiter confirmed that where we'd been eating since he left the Cafe des Delices in 2004 (which I loved) - specifically the Angl’Opera, Café Very + MiniPalais, plus other ephemeral gigs, were all really hands-off, consulting/overseeing/etc. jobs, not hands-on ones and he's at the piano again here (at least every night - we didn't see him exit after the lunch service today.)

Which to get back to Al's challenge, brings up all the other Generation "C"/Omnivore/Le Fooding favorites; eg David Zuddas, Iñaki Aizpitarte, Thierry Marx, etc. They're all supposed to be creative and not available in New York.

Thoughts?


John Talbott

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Any bets as to how long Choukroun stays here? He is coming close to unseating Michel Del Burgo as the king of ephemerality. Is Del Burgo still at l'Orangerie?

Hopefully he will last(Choukroun) until I get there in May.


Edited by Laidback (log)

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Any bets as to how long Choukroun stays here? He is coming close to unseating Michel Del Burgo as the king of ephemerality. Is Del Burgo still at l'Orangerie?

Hopefully he will last(Choukroun) until I get there in May.

I read on lesrestos.com that it closed 18 novembre 2008. As far as Pierre and I are concerned, not one day too soon.

John Talbott

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Which to get back to Al's challenge, brings up all the other Generation "C"/Omnivore/Le Fooding favorites; eg David Zuddas, Iñaki Aizpitarte, Thierry Marx, etc.  They're all supposed to be creative and not available in New York.

Thoughts?

Actually, I didn't realise that Chateaubriand was not mentionned, that would be one of my first choices for creative on the non-star end. And Gazetta as well, despite the mixed reviews.


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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This is my list of places providing modern cuisine with a creative twist

Jadis

Afaria at the communal table

Le Bistral

Table d'eugene

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This is my list of places providing modern cuisine with a creative twist

Jadis

Afaria at the communal table

Le Bistral

Table d'eugene

Pierre - We should clarify for Al and all that the reason to sit at the common table at Afaria is that you get the tapas-type stuff there and no longer at the tables farther inside and it's the tapas-type stuff that makes the place interesting. And it's hardly the Group "W" bench; Pudlo eats there.

John Talbott

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We should clarify for Al and all that the reason to sit at the common table at Afaria is that you get the tapas-type stuff there and no longer at the tables farther inside and it's the tapas-type stuff that makes the place interesting. 

Indeed. We visited without this information and enjoyed a very ordinary meal in the inside dining room. It was ameliorated by two charming young Basque couples sitting next to us who wanted to practice their English.

I will also repeat my past warning about Lena et Mimile: the modern menu is only served half the year! Check that it's available when you book.


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We should clarify for Al and all that the reason to sit at the common table at Afaria is that you get the tapas-type stuff there and no longer at the tables farther inside and it's the tapas-type stuff that makes the place interesting. 

Indeed. We visited without this information and enjoyed a very ordinary meal in the inside dining room. It was ameliorated by two charming young Basque couples sitting next to us who wanted to practice their English.

I will also repeat my past warning about Lena et Mimile: the modern menu is only served half the year! Check that it's available when you book.

Not to complicate things, but this represents a typical problem in searching info on hours, menus, etc., available. "Early adopters," (I admit guilt,) often report hours and days (cf Spring) and menus and meals (ie Afaria) and prices (too numerous to give) that change after the first few weeks. I just got caught in such a bind today at the Villa Pereire, reported to be open 6/7 in reviews and on their website, I called the repondeur to reserve, shlepped over - closed - but luckily I had Plan B in place. So phone, but even phoning does not ensure 100% compliance.

John Talbott

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This is my list of places providing modern cuisine with a creative twist

Jadis

Afaria at the communal table

Le Bistral

Table d'eugene

Creativity is in the eye of the beholder - an observation, based on Jadis in Pierre's list. It may be "truly creative" for Paris but I found it to be quite average compared to the UK. The UK has seen the early gastro pub/St John influence become common/mainstream, and Jadis seems to be in this genre. Thus it is tricky to recommend without knowing a persons experience.

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This is my list of places providing modern cuisine with a creative twist

Jadis

Afaria at the communal table

Le Bistral

Table d'eugene

Creativity is in the eye of the beholder - an observation, based on Jadis in Pierre's list. It may be "truly creative" for Paris but I found it to be quite average compared to the UK. The UK has seen the early gastro pub/St John influence become common/mainstream, and Jadis seems to be in this genre. Thus it is tricky to recommend without knowing a persons experience.

PLease not that I was referring to modern cuisine with a creative twist as i had defined previousely. My list has nothing to do with the truly creative ones such as P gagnaire or Bras, or even les magnolias.Even with all this clarification i am sure that each one of us has a different understanding about creativity.

Incidentally how would you classify the following

WD-50 (NY),Arzak,(spain),El celler de can roca(spain), etc

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We should clarify for Al and all that the reason to sit at the common table at Afaria is that you get the tapas-type stuff there and no longer at the tables farther inside and it's the tapas-type stuff that makes the place interesting. 

Indeed. We visited without this information and enjoyed a very ordinary meal in the inside dining room. It was ameliorated by two charming young Basque couples sitting next to us who wanted to practice their English.

I will also repeat my past warning about Lena et Mimile: the modern menu is only served half the year! Check that it's available when you book.

Thanks to all for the advice! I assume I just mention that I would like a seat at Afaria's common table when I make a reservation?


---

al wang

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We should clarify for Al and all that the reason to sit at the common table at Afaria is that you get the tapas-type stuff there and no longer at the tables farther inside and it's the tapas-type stuff that makes the place interesting. 

Indeed. We visited without this information and enjoyed a very ordinary meal in the inside dining room. It was ameliorated by two charming young Basque couples sitting next to us who wanted to practice their English.

I will also repeat my past warning about Lena et Mimile: the modern menu is only served half the year! Check that it's available when you book.

Thanks to all for the advice! I assume I just mention that I would like a seat at Afaria's common table when I make a reservation?

I forget if they take reservations there. I always go early (that is, on time) to make sure I can sit there.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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