Les meilleurs restaurants des ex-Top Chef à Paris

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Le concours culinaire de M6 fait son retour pour une 10e saison anniversaire, le mercredi 6 février à 21 h. L’occasion de revenir sur dix chefs parisiens qui ont marqué le programme autant que nos papilles.

Guillaume Sanchez

Le chef. Il avait les cheveux moins longs mais déjà beaucoup de tatouages et ce regard profond qu’il arbore en toutes circonstances. Même s’il a été éliminé à mi-parcours lors de la saison 8, Guillaume Sanchez a indéniablement marqué le concours par sa personnalité et son univers, quitte à paraître en décalage avec ce programme consensuel. Ce qui ne devait pas lui déplaire!

Le resto. Lors de l’émission, il est chef de Nomos, table du XVIIIe qui agaçait autant qu’elle passionnait avec ses assiettes modernistes. En 2018, il ferme Nomos et ouvre Neso. Là, il pousse encore plus loin le curseur, jouant avec les goûts, les textures, les fermentations au fil de menus dégustation en sept et neuf services (ce sera bientôt douze). Récemment, c’était par exemple une ultra-graphique panna cotta de seiche, grains de caviar et eau de pomme de terre. Des saint-jacques déshydratées, pulsées aux langues d’oursins, oignons fermentés et œufs de hareng fumé. Ou encore un morceau de …

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This Restaurant’s Commitment to Detail Is Bonkers and We Love It

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Yeah, we get it: The dishes at Atomix in New York City are dazzling. Just read all the reviews! But the thing that makes Atomix a true experience comes down to all the meticulously sourced details surrounding the food. The otherworldly ceramics. The personal collection of chopsticks generously shared. The menu presented on graphic flashcards—and coveted by every diner who comes through (I have two sets!).

For chef JP Park and general manager Ellia Park, who also run the more casual Atoboy just two blocks away, the presentation is about more than simply showing off their taste in the good stuff: It’s about handing the mic to young Korean creatives just like them.

“I want Atomix to be a way to introduce young Korean talent,” JP says. “There aren’t many channels to enter the market otherwise.”

Here, the couple uses their sumptuous halibut dish to show how each detail of their sleek, fine-dining restaurant contributes to that mission.

1. The Food: JP blends French (brown butter) and Korean (doenjang, a fermented bean paste) staples for jjim, Atomix’s steamed fish course. “The nutty flavor of the brown butter complements the deeply rooted umami of the jang,” he says. The sauce is then poured over a round of silky halibut, spoon-tender hunks of butternut squash, and fatty foie gras.

atomix chop sticks

Photo by Alex Lau

Take your pick from Ellia’s vast collection of chopsticks.

2. The Chopsticks: “When you go to a Japanese restaurant, you pick your own sake cup,” Ellia says. “I wanted to do the same.” So she lets diners choose their own set of chopsticks, crafted by different Korean artists, from her personal collection of 40 sets. She picked them up over the last two years from different shops throughout Seoul.

2. The Plate: Ceramicist Youme Oh, who also happens to be JP’s cousin, crafted this jade-hued ceramic bowl by hand to mimic traditional Korean wares. For the rest of the plates, the Parks commissioned all South Korean makers, including up-and-comers like artist Eunyoung Kown to more established names like porcelain master Namhee Kim.

atomix lede

Photo by Alex Lau

Gotta catch ’em all.

3. The Menu: Each dish on the tasting menu comes with one of these cards: The front side features a South Korean artist’s drawing inspired by JP’s dish sketches (Oh made this one), while the back details every component of the dish, from the sauces to the accompanying banchan.

4. The Spoon: Ellia stumbled upon these simultaneously rustic- and modern-looking spoons at Jeo Jip (저집), an old-school ceramics shop in Seoul. Each copper utensil is made by hand, hence the tiny variations.

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Elise McMahon Is the Designer Making Restaurants Way More Fun | Healthyish

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This story is part of the Healthyish 22, the people changing the way we think about wellness. Meet them all here.

Trendy interior designers seem to have the same checklist: Mid-century modern furniture? Check. Tropical wallpaper? Check. Rose gold accents everywhere? Check.

Not Elise McMahon, the brains behind LikeMindedObjects, a furniture and design studio based in Hudson, New York. She’s got decidedly different priorities A pink-highlighted, hexagon-ish-shaped table that bends the rules of geometry? Check. It anchors Relationships, a breezy cafe in New York City. Hanging fixtures that project kaleidoscopic light from floor to ceiling? Check. You bask in that psychedelic glory at the newly redesigned Lil’ Deb’s Oasis in Hudson, New York, which she just recently finished up. “It feels more like an installation than a basic eating space,” McMahon explains to me over the phone. “The chefs were up for a wild design, so of course I love to be as wild as a client will allow.”

Untethered creativity has been a constant in McMahon’s life. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, she lived in a house filled with hexagonal rooms designed by architect Edward Humrich. Her artist parents worked from home—sculpting, metalworking—so she had a front-row seat for the life ahead of her. “It was a very experimental household,” McMahon says. “Their work put the small-business mentality in me, and now I’m following that same lifestyle.”

Eventually, she went on to study furniture at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, where she met Hannah Black, one of the chefs at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis and at that time a painting student. At school, Black threw elaborate, epic dinner parties and commissioned McMahon to set the scene, with floral arrangements, lighting, and furniture.

“Food is such a equalizer of enjoyment,” McMahon reminisces. “I love making beautiful, fun furniture because it enhances the experience.”

After graduating from school—and brief stints teaching furniture classes, carving pumpkins, and designing small-scale farming equipment—she reconnected with Black when she moved to Hudson. Soon they were back to throwing experimental dinner parties—but this time at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Black’s kitschy, vibrant restaurant with co-chef Carla Perez-Gallardo. Since opening in 2016, it’s garnered a cult following—not just as a gathering place for Hudson’s queer community or the bright, tropical-y comfort food but for the funky, fun atmosphere McMahon has helped conjure in the space. Now, with the recent renovation of Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, she’s channeled more of an ’80s ski lodge for the brand-new upstairs lounge filled with furniture she’s designed as well as local artisans she wants to support.

“I know that furniture isn’t exactly solving world issues, but being a small business that can create spaces I support in a social way is a noble pursuit for me,” McMahon says. “By making these interiors, I feel like I can actually directly affect my community.”

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Fast Casual Restaurants’ Recipes: Make the Food That You Just Spent Your Whole Lunch Break Waiting in Line For | Healthyish

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This story is part of the Healthyish 22, the people changing the way we think about wellness. Meet them all here.

If you’ve bought a grain bowl anytime in the past few years, you know that fast-casual restaurants across the country are thinking about their sourcing in all kinds of innovative ways, and we’re all eating better as a result. We tapped three fast-casual chefs and restaurant owners for their recipes that are as good for the planet as they are for your lunch.

Farm Burger’s Sunnyside Burger with Salsa Verde

When Jason Mann was a rancher, he noticed that most of the buyers for grass-fed beef were fine-dining restaurants looking for specific cuts, inevitably leaving farmers with lesser-known cuts that they couldn’t sell. Mann found the solution to this dilemma in the humble burger. Farm Burger—which launched in 2010 and now has 12 locations—sources local grass-fed whole cattle that are broken down in-house. Here, burgers (like the ever popular Sunny Side) are ground from a « whole carcass blend » that includes anything from chuck to flank to sirloin. Offal goes into specials, and fat is rendered to create tallow butter that the burgers are cooked in. Jamie Ager, a fourth-generation farmer at Hickory Nut Gap Farm in North Carolina which sells to Farm Burger, calls the restaurant’s approach « a more holistic way of looking at the market. »

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What’s better than a griddled burger with the crispiest exterior? One that comes sandwiched between a vibrant tomatillo salsa and topped with a runny fried egg. Most domestic grass-fed beef includes cattle that also eat some grain; the meat is not too lean or “grassy” and makes for a very satisfying burger. This recipe is from Farm Burger.

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Homegrown’s Grilled Chicken with Quinoa and Matcha Dressing

After working at Per Se and Gramercy Tavern, Michaela Skloven wanted to bring that same sourcing-obsessed mentality to the fast-casual space. When she became the executive chef at Homegrown, a sandwich shop that launched in Seattle in 2009 and now has eight locations, she started a half-acre organic farm to grow produce—like the cucumbers and cherry tomatoes that go into this chicken and avocado bowl. Homegrown staff are invited to spend time working on the farm so they can see first-hand where the food comes from. « The more respect they have for the food, the less likely people are to do something like throw away a tomato, » Skloven says. « That’s how we change the whole food landscape. »

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The dressing on this bowl is a green goddess 2.0, with matcha adding an earthy undertone to the whole dish. Ceremonial is the highest grade of matcha and is made for drinking from the youngest tea leaves. Culinary matcha is still high-quality but has a more robust flavor, allowing it to shine through when combined with other ingredients. This recipe is from Homegrown.

SEE RECIPE

Cava’s Black Lentil and Harissa-Roasted Veggie Bowl

Hearty, nutrient-heavy, and endlessly versatile, lentils were a staple for Dimitri Moshovitis, who grew up in Greece. So back in 2006, when he cofounded Cava (which now has 74 locations across the East Coast, California, and Texas), Moshovitis saw them as an obvious base for the Mediterranean spot’s bowl-centric menu. He came across black beluga lentils from Timeless Natural Food, a company based in rural Montana, and was impressed by the varietal’s rich flavor. But he was more excited to learn that these lentils are enriching the nutrient density of large swaths of land in Montana, a state whose agriculture has historically been dominated by cereal grains that can deplete the soil. Win-win.

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This filling, endlessly riffable bowl is perfect with roasted sweet potatoes, but any hardy vegetable you have on hand would be just as delicious. Try delicata squash, cauliflower, or eggplant. This recipe is from Cava.

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Les petits bonheurs des restaurants de Deauville

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La Belle Epoque,au Normandy, La Folie Douce et Le Ciro’s, sur la plage : pas besoin de chercher plus loin. Les chefs sont motivés et le service, un modèle.

Christophe Bézannier
Christophe Bézannier Fabrice RAMBERT

Un week-end, l’hiver, à Deauville? La foule n’est plus là. On peut arpenter la plage, marcher sur les planches, faire provision d’air marin. Un hôtel de luxe: Le Normandy. Du monde, du mouvement, du service, voiturier, chambre douillette, belles boutiques en ville. Dîner sur place, à La Belle Epoque, décorée avec un goût sûr: banquettes intimes, lustres en cristal, moulures, et une belle verrière s’ouvrant sur la cour normande. Un menu du soir à 50 €, rare pour un palace. Et, surtout, un très bon chef, Christophe Bézannier.

J’ai été estomaqué par la qualité de sa cuisine, la gentillesse et les attentions du service. Les idées fusent. On est bien installé, heureux. Mon saumon gravlax, goûteux, à la moutarde Savora, précédait le filet de bœuf rôti pour deux (58 €). Trois serveurs pour apporter, sur une planche de bois, des tranches de viande découpées, une cocotte tenant au chaud les pommes grenailles. Un cérémonial à la Bocuse! Belle idée, cet «instant partage» où l’on peut choisir, pour deux, les coquillettes jambon, truffe, parmesan ; la cocotte dieppoise, confit de poireaux, sauce safran et riz carneroli et les crêpes Suzette.

Deuxième bonne surprise, dans un autre Barrière, La Folie Douce. Seules les planches séparent la terrasse couverte de la Manche. Un très bon chef, Wilfried Lacaille. Mon saumon d’Isigny était cuit à la perfection, accompagné d’un croustillant de blettes d’anthologie. Là aussi, des présentations malignes et un service jeune, débordant d’attentions.

Troisième lieu, sur la plage, le mythique et élégantCiro’s face aux promeneurs des planches. Ici, plateaux de fruits de mer, langoustines moyennes (ou grosses) cuites minute, homards du vivier, bouillabaisse maison et les «fameuses» soles (de 400 à 800 g) sublimées par le chef Philippe Lechanoine. Et, comme partout chez Barrière, un personnel d’une gentillesse exquise…

La Belle Epoque, au Normandy ;La Folie Douce et Le Ciro’s, sur la plage: pas besoin de chercher plus loin. Les chefs sont motivés et le service, un modèle.

A La Belle Epoque, ceviche de noix de coquilles Saint-Jacques ; homard aux petits légumes ; turbot braisé ; tartare à la truffe ; filet de bœuf wagyu ; baba flambé au calvados ; chocolat liégeois en aquarium, etc. (environ 63 €, 3 plats). (02.31.98.65.13)

A La Folie Douce, œuf parfait, émulsion pommes de terre ; ravioles de tourteau ; soupe de poissons ; risotto aux fruits de mer ; bar au fenouil ; lièvre à la royale ; ris de veau à la crème et morilles ; paris-brest, etc. (environ 60 €). (02.31.98.65.58)

Au Ciro’s, grande salade de légumes, fruits de mer ; filet de saint-pierre, ragoût de céleri et morilles, pommes charlotte ; mignon de veau poêlé aux langoustines, épinards ; poêlée de clémentines flambées au Grand Marnier, etc. (environ 90 €, 3 plats). (02.31.14.31.31)

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The 21 Restaurants That Turned Us Into Dedicated Regulars in 2018

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So many restaurants, so little time. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, it might as well if you’re dining out as much as we are.

We’re constantly looking for the next big thing that sometimes we miss out on the long-loved icons we should have already visited (a Hawaiian staple serving up sour, sticky poi!), the gems hiding in plain sight (a sublime steakhouse in the Connecticut suburbs!), and even the buzzy new ones (a much-trafficked wine bar in Brooklyn!).

Thankfully, this year we made sure to visit. Again. And again. Now it seems like every time we’re eating out, it’s at the same spots. Specifically these ones. Here, our favorite, new-to-us places that we added to our dining rotation in 2018.

 

“I usually have a rule against going out to eat on weekends in Brooklyn—the crowds!—but I’ve found myself bending for the incredible prix-fixe Saturday-and-Sunday-only lunch at Four Horsemen in Williamsburg time and time again. (I also have a rule about going to Williamsburg specifically on weekends, so a whole lotta rule-bending going on.) A mere $28 gets you three courses, a slab of homemade bread, AND dessert, which means you’ll have ample excuse to pad the check out with a bottle of amazing natty wine. Rules were meant to be broken, right?” —Amiel Stanek, senior editor

 

“I’m very ashamed to admit this, but after about 20 trips to Hawaii, I finally made it to Helena’s, the grande dame of native Hawaiian food, in 2018. For the last 72 years, the restaurant has been supplying locals, tourists, and people who wished they were locals (like me) with staples of the cuisine: pipikaula, jerky-like beef that you rip off the bone with your teeth; lomi lomi salmon, cured cubes tossed in a pico de gallo-like salad; squid luau, taro leaves stewed down with coconut milk and little calamari nubs; and sticky poi, so sour and tangy it makes you pucker and go back for more, like the weirdest palate cleanser. It’s food that’s storied and soulful, a slow burn compared to the click-bait-ification of poke. So, the next time you’re in Honolulu, don’t be like me and make sure you get to Helena’s ASAP.” —Elyse Inamine, digital restaurant editor

 

“A restaurant I can’t stop thinking about and cannot wait to go back to is Res Ipsa in Philadelphia. Res Ipsa was on our top 50 list in 2017, and it took me over a year to actually make it there, which was a huge mistake on my part. I haven’t stopped dreaming about the perfectly chewy pastas, simple but cool vibe, or the incredibly friendly staff. I’m so excited to grab a few bottles of fun natural wine, and make a wholeeee night out of it. It’s BYOB!” —Emily Schultz, social media manager

 

“There are a lot of reasons I don’t ever want to move out of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, but my proximity to June definitely ranks high on that list. The food is thoughtful, playful, and changes often (with some mainstays, like the fantastic little gem salad, evolving from season to season), which means there’s always something new to try. The natural wine list is full of fun bottles (chilled red! Skin-contact! Sparkling orange!), and the staff knows their shit when I’m looking to try something new. The space’s close quarters makes it a perfect spot to catch up with a friend or low-key celebrate over a carafe (or five). It’s where I went to fete a few major moments this year, including my engagement and a new job—this one!” —Sasha Levine, senior editor

 

“Every year I find an excuse to visit San Antonio, and every year I am dazzled by the vibrancy of that city’s dining scene. There are so many places to love but, this past visit, I fell for one of SA’s more old-school spots: a Mexican restaurant called Cascabel. I visited on a rainy Sunday, and was immediately charmed by 1) the colorful murals on the walls and 2) the amuse bouche of fideos (slinky noodles in the chicken-iest chicken soup) that every guest gets. I mean, I could have just eaten bowls and bowls of the fideos and been happy. But instead I feasted on chilaquiles soaked in salsa verde, and squash blossom quesadillas topped with crumbled cotija cheese, and black beans that tasted like they had been stewing for days. I have been thinking about this meal for months and months. I can’t wait to go back next year. Hopefully sooner rather than later.” —Priya Krishna, contributing writer

 

“My family took me to Fat Dan’s when I was home recently—we needed to go to a pro Chicago sports bar to watch the Cubs game! It’s Windy City–style deli food, done right. (Plus, they have great craft beer on rotation!) The Dirty Tots are my favorite: They come piled with smoky pulled pork, scallions, cheese sauce, and housemade hot sauce. Now when I’m home, I always go to Fat Dan’s—even when baseball season is over.” —Kate Fenoglio, associate production manager

“I live in the West Village and there’s this cute standing bar called Bar B on 7th Avenue. It’s from the same owner from Basta Pasta, and I’m slightly obsessed with them too. (You probably know Basta, but if not, it’s a Japanese-owned Italian restaurant that’s been here since the ’90s. Obsessed.) Anyways, I love the vibes in Bar B. Everyone is so friendly and happy, the small plates are delicious, and the wine and Aperol Spritz are fantastic! It’s super easy to pop in for a drink and bite and be on your way!” —Michele Outland, creative director

 

“When I went to New Orleans for my 30th (!!) birthday, we went to N7 three times. I’d never felt so seen by a restaurant. I could eat there every day for the rest of my life and die happy (or full of mercury from all the tinned fish, hard to predict). The wine is divine, the atmosphere is like a sexy secret garden, the fresh seafood and fried bar snacks all pull my heartstrings. Ugh, I want to get on a plane and go back right now.” —Alex Beggs, senior staff writer

 

“After visiting Portland, Oregon, at least once a year for the past five years, I FINALLY made it to Reel M Inn, one of the great dive bars in not just PDX but the United States of America. I truly did not believe that the fried chicken could be as good as everyone—and by everyone, I mean the Ace’s Donald Kenney—said it was, but it is so worth the excruciating wait. I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this for years.” —Julia Kramer, deputy editor

 

“I’m obsessed with this little joint in Houston called Better Luck Tomorrow. It’s from the same people behind Oxheart and Theodore Rex, and I’m in love with the massive shelving system behind the bar lined with neon lights. It’s going to be my go-to watering hole whenever I’m back home. Cool vibes, maddeningly delicious bites like spaghetti sandos, and pasta Tuesday (!!) make the technicolored bar feel simultaneously familiar and brand new.” —Jesse Sparks, editorial assistant

 

“I go to the Jersey Shore most weekends in the summer with my family. They have their own go-to pizza spot, so I hadn’t been to Talula’s…until I found myself in Asbury Park without the whole fam this past July. It’s pretty packed (clearly I’m late to the party!), but the Neapolitan pizza is so worth the wait. The crust is thin and charred in all the right places, and though some people find it controversial to put honey on pizza, the Beekeeper’s Lament with soppressata, mozzarella, and local honey is a pizza I’d eat weekly. I love it because even though it’s trying to be a ‘hip’ Neapolitan restaurant, it can’t shake its laidback Jersey Shore vibe.” —Elaheh Nozari, e-commerce editor

 

“I went to school in Chicago, where I subsisted mainly on a diet of frozen custard and Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza. But when I returned to visit friends this summer, I fell hard for the transcendent pastries and ultra-seasonal dishes at Cellar Door Provisions. The “no-vegetables-in-Chicago” trope isn’t exactly true, but they never tasted as good as this. Their small menu is seasonal, giving me an excellent reason to return again and again (although maybe not in winter) to see what thoughtful dishes are popping up.” —Aliza Abarbanel, editorial assistant

 

“Pyramids Halal has become my go-to lunch spot when I’m visiting family in Syracuse. Hani Mahmood runs the butcher shop while Tatiana, his wife, makes the incredible home-cooked lunches on the side. Everyday she prepares the most incredible beef gyro using a special blend of Egyptian spices. Hailing from Russia and Egypt, respectively, she and Hani relocated to Syracuse in 2004, and she’s inherited a lot of cooking traditions from her in-laws.” —Michelle Heimerman, visuals editor

 

“I stalked Konbi like an ex on Instagram for months before I actually went. But on a recent trip to my hometown of L.A., I got to experience it IRL. There’s the jammy egg salad sandwich that I could happily eat for lunch every day. The unassuming-yet-delightful turnips with toasted rice, sesame, and lemon. And the chocolate croissant featuring an obscene amount of flaky layers. If I lived in L.A., I’d, well, live there.” —Rachel Karten, senior social media manager

 

“I don’t understand why no one knows about David’s Cafe! My friend Jamie Feldmar took me here and we were pretty much the only people eating. Chef David Malbequi is French, so you’ll find cheap (but good) house wine and a raclette special that’s what dreams are made of. But Malbequi is best known his burger—and it may be my favorite in the city right now.” —Andy Baraghani, senior food editor

 

“I recently became obsessed with this totally suburban steakhouse in my boyfriend’s hometown of Bethel, Connecticut, called Barbarie’s Black Angus. It’s the only place in town where you actually need a reservation, and it’s always poppin’. I’ve heard the steaks are the best in Connecticut, but I go there for the grilled swordfish and the sides: roasted sweet potatoes, brussels and bacon, a skillet of mac and cheese that could be an entree for two. Yes, the portions are big, but in a high-quality, you-want-to-eat-the-leftovers way. I believe in fully embracing one’s time in the suburbs—eat like a local and such—and for me that means a trip to this steakhouse. LOL!” —Amanda Shapiro, senior editor

 

“SRV is where I go when I want to eat a bunch of small bites. The Northern Italian/Venetian spot in the South End is not billed as a small-plates restaurant, but they have a sub-menu of actually affordable—in the $2 to $4 range—cicchetti. I order a lot as an excuse to sample things I might not normally order, like olives in the castelvetrano fritte, stuffed with pork sausage and montasio cheese; giant corona beans in a soffritto vinaigrette; my first beef tongue, served with tonnato and gribiche (a twofer); and tempura blowfish tail with grappa sauce (whoa). But I will eat anything they put on crostini, from duck mousse to salt cod on black bread.” —Alyse Whitney, associate editor

 

“There’s a lot I love about Asheville (the Moog synthesizer headquarters! Basement record sales! The most microbreweries per capita in America!), but this West Asheville restaurant is one I’ll always go back to. The cinder block building’s vibe is part dive bar, part destination-worthy dance party, and part chef-driven restaurant. And like so many other places in Asheville, it delivers on each without being smug about it. I don’t know if it’s the drinks named after Rolling Stones deep cuts, the miso-glazed chicken with tatsoi, or the moody velvet curtains, but it sure feels like someone has been peeping my Pinterest page.” —Tommy Werner, video producer

 

“I was late to the Via Carota party. I went for the first time in January, and then went many more times after that. I sat at the sunny bar for a solo lunch of risotto and the most ethereal panna cotta on a chilly Wednesday and it warmed me down to my frozen toes. I found my salad soulmate in the spring pea salad months later, and shared it with some of my favorite people for my birthday in May. Over the summer I invited a man who I thought for a minute could be my human soulmate to dinner, and when he was unimpressed, I knew it wouldn’t work out between us. But it’s the verdue section of the menu that keeps me coming back: salads and sides that seem so simple in concept but are executed just so… all served in a space that feels always feels tumblingly buzzing and warm despite the long waiting list that quickly adds up, the service remains calmly attentive.” —Anna Stockwell, senior food editor

 

“I moved away from the Twin Cities a decade ago, but I would move back just for the restaurant scene, which keeps getting more interesting the longer I’m away. Several times a year, however, I’ll map out an eating plan weeks in advance of family visits, and I’ll always end up in Minneapolis. Not this year. In Bloom has lured me across the Mississippi River several times to St. Paul. It’s located inside the hip Keg and Case Market, a former brewery, and you know you’ve arrived when the scent of oak burning from the open-fire cooking hits you. It smells and feels like you’re hanging out in a cabin in northern Minnesota (albeit a more modern one). The menu is filled with game meats like pheasant and venison, with local ingredients including wild mushrooms and berries sprinkled throughout. It’s the food I’ve been thinking about lately as winter approaches, and I’m missing home.” —Bao Ong, research manager

 

“I’ve been to Philly four times in the past year, and I’ve had lunch at Suraya three of those times. The man’oushe and the labneh and the hummus and the ful madammas and the kafta kebabs and every other thing on the menu of comforting, immensely flavorful Lebanese food all make that two-hour bus ride well worth it. That, and my parents who live nearby, of course. Duh. Love you, Mom. Love you, Dad.” —Alex Delany, associate editor

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Le retour des plats «tradi» dans les restaurants à Paris

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On les croyait dévolus aux adresses compassées, aux auberges du siècle dernier hermétiques à toute diététique. Grossière erreur ! Les jeunes toques parisiennes s’emparent avec délice de ces grands classiques, quitte à les twister avec malice.

Quenelle de brochet sauce Nantua à La Poule au Pot

Le lieu. Et de quatre pour Jean-François Piège! Après ses deux Clover – le Green (VIIe) et le Grill (Ier) – et son Grand Restaurant (VIIIe), la toque étoilée et télévisuelle a repris récemment cette institution octogénaire des Halles. Qu’il a malicieusement laissée dans son jus tradi: papier peint vintage à fleurs, banquettes Moleskine, chaises en bois…

Le plat. Outre le plat totem qui donne son nom au lieu, la cuisine bourgeoise et classique truste évidemment la carte. À l’image de l’omelette aux girolles, du hachis parmentier ou de la quenelle de brochet, modèle gustatif du genre. Moulée comme un petit flanc, elle est nappée d’une délicieuse sauce Nantua dans laquelle baignent quelques écrevisses et des épinards frais… Sauçage obligatoire!

Bravo. L’atmosphère, les petites plaquettes en laiton au nom des stars venues s’attabler, rajoutant au glamour! Parmi les dernières, celles de Blake Lively et Ryan Reynolds, grands amis du couple Piège.

Dommage. Pas de voiturier dans un quartier difficilement accessible en voiture.

La Poule au Pot. 9, rue Vauvilliers (Ier). Tél.: 01 42 36 32 96. Tlj. Formule: 48 €. Carte: 45-115 €.

Chou farci à L’Ascension

Le lieu. En voilà un qui a surpris son monde! Avec sérieux mais sans se prendre au sérieux, ce bistro au joli décor contemporain (pierres apparentes, tons taupe et verts) est en train de devenir un classique du quartier. Et à midi, les tablées de collègues dénouent la cravate autour d’une chouette cuisine de marché: œuf mollet et tombée de champignons, poitrine de veau et tatin de carottes, filet de bœuf sauce Choron.

Le plat. Ah, le chou farci! Un classique intemporel de nos assiettes, bête comme… chou sur le papier, mais bien plus compliqué que ça à cuisiner. Et surtout à réussir! Pioché totalement au hasard dans le menu déjeuner du jour, celui-ci débarque en généreuse portion, pimpant comme tout avec ses feuilles extérieures bien rôties, sa farce goûtue (un poil trop poivrée), son mirepoix de légumes, son jus délicieux. De quoi militer pour qu’il s’installe durablement à la carte!

Bravo. Le rapport qualité-prix du menu déjeuner.

Dommage. Les vins au verre pas très passionnants.

L’Ascension. 67, rue de Clichy (IXe).  Tél.: 01 42 40 28 47. Tlj sf dim. Formule: 28 € (déj.). Carte: 40-50 €.

Bouillabaisse chez Baieta

La bouillabaieta de Julia Sedefdjian chez Baieta (Ve).
La bouillabaieta de Julia Sedefdjian chez Baieta (Ve). Pierre Lucet Penato

Le lieu. La plus jeune chef étoilée Michelin de France – à 21 ans aux Fables de la Fontaine – a ouvert son premier «chez elle», au printemps, dans l’ancien Itinéraires. Un «bisou» – en patois niçois, région d’origine à laquelle Julia Sedefdjian rend hommage ici – au décor chic et contemporain (tables en bois clair, cuisine vitrée sur la salle), qui a justement emballé la critique.

Le plat. Parmi les plats ensoleillés de son enfance qu’elle revisite (aïoli, petits farcis), l’incontournable spécialité marseillaise, néologisée en «bouillabaieta», fait figure de signature (36 €). Purée de fenouil, filets de poissons parfaitement cuits (lotte, saint-pierre et rascasse) et copeaux de fenouil cru sont nappés en salle d’une soupe veloutée de poissons puissante et iodée, tandis que croûtons et rouille maison patientent à côté. À slurper jusqu’à la dernière goutte!

Bravo. Pour prolonger la soirée autour d’un bon rhum, le bar caribéen , fraîchement inauguré par la jeune femme, à deux pas.

Dommage. Certaines tables un peu collées-serrées.

Baieta. 5, rue de Pontoise (Ve).  Tél.: 01 42 02 59 19. Tlj sf dim. et lun. Formule: 29 (déj.), 45 et 85 €. Carte: 50-75 €.

Pot-au-feu chez (V)ivre canal Saint-Martin

Le lieu. La seconde adresse, après l’Opéra Garnier, de Caroline Savoy, fille du triple étoilé, affiche un décor chaleureux tout en bois vieilli (la devanture de la rôtisserie Patache est restée), murs bleu canard et banquettes en velours ocre.

Le plat. À la carte, un peu foutraque, figure notamment un semainier de «cocottes du moment» (19 €): blanquette de veau le jeudi, bouillabaisse le vendredi, rognons flambés le samedi et pot-au-feu le mercredi, jour de notre passage. Servi dans sa marmite Le Creuset pour deux personnes, ou à l’assiette dans un dressage moderne en solo, le plat s’avère réconfortant à souhait (sans être trop copieux): bouillon corsé, viande fondante, légumes variés… Sans oublier la petite tartine grillée croustillante d’os à moelle et gros sel, ultra-gourmande.

Bravo. Les desserts en bocaux réussis, le café d’Hippolyte Courty.

Dommage. Le service trop lent, ce midi-là.

(V)ivre canal Saint-Martin. 60, rue de Lancry (Xe). Tél.: 01 42 40 73 38.  Tlj sf dim. (dîn.), lun. et mar. Formule: 16 (déj.), 39, 59, 65 et 98 €.  Brunch le dim. à 39 €. Carte: 30-45 €.

Épaule d’agneau confite chez Accents

Le lieu. La salle, à la fois dépouillée et raffinée avec ses beaux matériaux, ses éclairages soignés et ses bouquets de fleurs, est sous influence franco-japonnaise, marquée par les personnalités de la gérante pâtissière, Ayumi Sugiyama, et du chef de cuisine, Romain Mahi. Une belle ambiance zen et contemporaine.

Le plat. Produits issus d’une agriculture responsable et respect des saisons inspirent la cuisine maison. En témoigne l’épaule d’agneau confite, échalotes, topinambours et cerfeuil tubéreux (24 €): une assiette automnale aux goûts doux et feutrés, un peu lisse mais de très jolie facture.

Bravo. L’accueil délicieux, les tranches de chiffon cake offertes avec le café.

Dommage. Les portions un peu précieuses.

Accents. 24, rue Feydeau (IIe).  Tél.: 01 40 39 92 88. Tlj sf dim. et lun. Menus: 39 et 52 € (déj.) ;  62, 68 et 73 € (dîn.). Carte: 50-70 €.

Poule au blanc chez Cadoret

Le Cadoret (XIXe).
Le Cadoret (XIXe). LUCIEN LUNG/Le Figaro

Le lieu. Pas richissime en tables notoires, le Nord-Est parisien n’en reste pas moins un bastion de la bistrote. Avec notamment le Baratin en tête de gondole, Quedubon qui vient d’être repris, le Mensae de Thibault Sombardier… et ce nouveau venu. Hautement recommandable, il affiche un look apprêté de troquet tout ce qu’il y a de plus classique, si ce n’est les étagères à vins design et la cuisine ouverte.

Le plat. Habituée de la carte, la poule au blanc – version normande de la poule au pot – est un must eat! Elle réconforte immédiatement avec sa sauce crémée bien nappante, ses carottes et poireaux pétaradants de couleurs et cuits à la perfection et, surtout, sa viande (poulet fermier extra de la ferme avicole des Grands Champs) moelleuse et sa peau bien grillée… Autre plat déjà culte de l’ardoise: le Scotch egg, star classique lui aussi, mais de la cuisine britannique (un œuf mollet entouré de chair à saucisse, le tout pané et frit).

Bravo. Tous les vins nature qu’on aime, au verre ou en bouteille, mais aussi d’excellentes bières.

Dommage. Le paleron de bœuf et pommes dauphine croqué récemment, qui manquait indéniablement d’un petit quelque chose.

Le Cadoret. 1, rue Pradier (XIXe).  Tél.: 01 53 21 92 13. Tlj sf dim. et lun. Formule: 17,50 et 20 € (déj.). Carte: env. 40 €.

Cassoulet à l’Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes

Le lieu. Le chef Pierre Négrevergne (ex-Terrasse Mirabeau) a repris depuis quelques mois cette institution hors du temps aperçue dans le premier OSS 117. Mais ouf, le cadre n’a pas bougé! Nappes à carreaux violets, jambons et rosette pendus au plafond, tomettes et trophées de chasse continuent de nous transporter au milieu d’une auberge de province… à deux pas de République.

Le plat. Si le nouveau taulier a mis sa patte sur la carte – notamment via un excellent pâté en croûte au canard et foie gras -, celle-ci célèbre toujours la cuisine bourgeoise, à l’image de la blanquette (un peu fade) ou du cassoulet, plat phare de la maison (26,90 €). Ultra-copieux, il débarque en salle dans son poêlon en cuivre garni de haricots blancs fermes et fondants à la fois, de saucisse, confit de canard et poitrine de cochon mijotés dans une sauce tomatée goûteuse. Réservé aux estomacs solides!

Bravo. La générosité des assiettes, le cadre dans son jus.

Dommage. La clientèle 100 % masculine (ou presque), ce soir-là.

Auberge Pyrénées Cévennes. 106, rue de la Folie-Méricourt (XIe).  Tél.: 01 43 57 33 78. Tlj sf sam. (déj.) et dim.Formule: 36 €. Carte: 45-60 €.

Et aussi

Le Train Bleu

Les fourneaux du spectaculaire buffet Belle Époque de la gare de Lyon viennent d’être repris par la maison Rostang, qui bichonne ravioles de Romans au bouillon de poule, quenelles de brochet sauce Newburg ou encore côte de veau Foyot.

Le Train Bleu. Gare de Lyon (XIIe). Tél.: 01 43 43 09 06.  Tlj. Carte: 60-100 €.

» LIRE AUSSI – Le Train Bleu, sur ses beaux rails

Aux Bons Crus

Le second «routier» de l’équipe des Marches (XVIe), inauguré en début d’année dans un décor rétro, décline les classiques de brasserie en sauce: œufs meurette, chou farci, pot-au-feu végétarien, quenelles de brochet…

Aux Bons Crus. 54, rue Godefroy-Cavaignac (XIe).  Tél.: 01 45 67 21 13. Tlj. Carte: 25-40 €.

» LIRE AUSSI – Aux Bons Crus, relais routier plus vrai que nature

Nous 4

Le jeune chef Stéphane Browne, consacré «Jeune Talent 2017» par Gault&Millau, a repris ce petit bistrot à deux plats du marché d’Aligre. Autant dire que les propositions changent à chaque service, inspirées par la provende du jour. Ce fut, lors de ce dîner, une sympathique pintade pochée, panais et topinambour.

Nous 4. 3, rue Beccaria (XIIe). Tél.: 01 75 57 77 48. Tlj sf dim. et lun. Formules à 20 € (déj.) et 30 € (dîn.), menus à 25 € (déj.), 37 € et 58 € (dîn.). Carte: 30-40 €.

» LIRE AUSSI – Nous 4: une table pour soi, pour toi, pour nous

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned Her Most Important Lessons from Restaurants

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez orders a pastrami taco, hold the guac. It’s a cloudy Monday in late August and we’re sitting at a four-top near the back of Flats Fix, a narrow Manhattan taqueria sidled up next to Union Square. This isn’t just another random interview-in-a-quiet-restaurant selection, though—and not just because this place isn’t quiet.

Until last February, Ocasio-Cortez spent most of her days working here, slinging tequila-based cocktails and living off tips from the happy hour crowd. Everyone knows her: the servers, the bartenders, the cooks, the regulars. “I haven’t been back in awhile,” she tells me, as yet another former coworker comes up for a hug. “Things have been a little crazy.”

Yes. A little crazy.

Last night Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. But on the day of our interview, she’s still processing the reality of having trounced the 14th District’s powerhouse incumbent Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary. Crowley had been in politics since before she was born, repped the district unopposed since 2013. Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old self-described Democratic Socialist of Puerto Rican descent, didn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Her campaign spent just over 5 percent of what Crowley’s did. And yet, on June 26, 2018, she beat him by more than 14 percentage points and rocketed into the national spotlight; not just as an unexpected victor who proved all the polls wrong, but as a shining light for progressives—and especially young people of color.

Here at Flats Fix, with its a zigzag of fluorescent lights and trip-hop playlist and giant yellow surfboard affixed to the wall, she’s taking a moment to reflect.

“My campaign started in food, and in a lot of ways evolved out of food,” she tells me, motioning toward the wooden counter that runs the length of the restaurant, the bottles of José Cuervo and Patron stacked on shelves strung with red fairy lights and South American flags. “For 80 percent of this campaign, I operated out of a paper grocery bag hidden behind that bar.” Between shifts at the restaurant, she’d reach into the bag for her political literature and a change of clothes, then set out to canvass.

She leans across the table, her jean jacket buttoned all the way up, her large brown eyes intense, magnetic. “For me it was especially potent that I was working in the food service industry while running for office because I wasn’t, like, reminiscing on some summer job I had when I was a teenager. This was the life I was living.”

For Ocasio-Cortez, food is political, and the most tangible indicator of our social inequities. Sure, as living beings we all must eat to survive—and there’s unity in that—but what we eat and how much and where it comes from and what we must do to get it varies widely. “The food industry is the nexus of almost all of the major forces in our politics today,” she says. “It’s super closely linked with climate change and ethics. It’s the nexus of minimum wage fights, of immigration law, of criminal justice reform, of health care debates, of education. You’d be hard-pressed to find a political issue that doesn’t have food implications.”

Most politicians, she points out, are disconnected from these realities. At the start of this Congress, the median net worth of members across both parties was five times that of an American household. “Many members of Congress were born into wealth, or they grew up around it,” Ocasio-Cortez says. “How can you legislate a better life for working people if you’ve never been a working person? Try living with the anxiety of not having health insurance for three years when your tooth starts to hurt. It’s this existential dread. I have that perspective. I feel like I understand what’s happening electorally because I have experienced it myself.”

alexandria ocasio cortes vintage pic

Courtesy of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a baby with her late father, Sergio Ocasio.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, the only child of Sergio, a Bronx-born architect, and Blanca, a Puerto Rican immigrant who cleaned houses and drove a bus to make ends meet. “We were poor, so I was used to eating rice and beans every day,” Ocasio-Cortez recalls. “Also—what do they call it in English? Cream of Wheat. I loved Cream of Wheat. With sugar.”

Every year for her parents’ anniversary, Sergio would dig up a traditional Puerto Rican roasting pit in the backyard and spend hours turning a whole pig on a spit until the meat was smoked crisp on the outside, juicy-tender on the inside. Those are some of her best memories.

When she was five, her family moved to a considerably more affluent suburb of Westchester County, New York, where the public schools were better. But that didn’t mean life got easy, she says. “The thing that people don’t realize is that wherever there is affluence, there’s an underclass. There’s a service class. And that’s what I grew up in, scrubbing toilets with my mom.” But the Ocasio-Cortez family found their place in the community, inviting employees of the local Dunkin’ Donuts over for Thanksgiving dinner, serving their turkey with pernil, a Puerto Rican–style roast pork shoulder bathed in tangy sofrito.

“My dad used to say that he collected people,” she recalls. “If you didn’t have a place to go on Thanksgiving, you came to our place. We never had a table big enough to fit everyone, but we’d always have folding chairs. You’d make a plate, eat it out of your lap, and share stories.”

She wanted to be a scientist when she grew up, but her first on-the-books job was at an Irish pub, at 15 or 16 years old, working as a hostess to pay for her extracurriculars. She’d split up the after-school hours: a few days a week working at the pub, a few taking the commuter rail into Manhattan to run experiments out of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Spanish Harlem. She was competitive, won second prize at the world’s largest pre-collegiate science fair, got a small asteroid named after her as a reward: the 23238 Ocasio-Cortez. Oh yeah, and she always loved cooking because: “That’s what it is. You know? It’s chemistry.”

As a freshman at Boston University, Ocasio-Cortez moved into pre-med housing. More science; that was the plan. But then she studied abroad in Niger, doing rotations at a maternity clinic on the outskirts of Niamey. The country, ranked last in the UN Human Development Index, was recovering from severe famine. “I saw a lot of pretty brutal things there,” she says, recalling babies born on steel tables covered in nothing but wax print cloth. Cemented in her mind is one particularly difficult pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth: “The reason the child had passed was very preventable. For me it was a very powerful moment. This child’s life was literally decided because of where it was born.”

Suddenly the path she’d planned—medical school, becoming a doctor, having a family—no longer seemed like an option. “I couldn’t just go back home and lead a normal life,” she says. “I just…couldn’t.” Though she recognized the importance of individualized care, she wanted to go bigger, deeper, down to the dark roots of suffering. So she switched her major to economics and began to focus on policy—and in particular, the issues that affected her own community of working class people of color in the Bronx.

After graduation Ocasio-Cortez returned to New York where she was hired as an educational director at the National Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit serving Hispanic youth. But she also went back to the restaurant industry: bartending and waitressing were necessary to supplement her income, which she used to help her mother stay afloat after Sergio died of cancer. At restaurants, she worked side by side with immigrants both documented and undocumented. Their stories and experiences informed her work as a local organizer.

“For me what’s important is to value the hands that go into your food,” she says. “All of them.”

Credit Andy Hur 05112018 Business Walking Tour College Point 236

Photograph by Andy Hur

Ocasio-Cortez at a bodega in Queens, New York.

About one-third of the people working in the food-service industry are undocumented, with most holding the lowest-paying jobs, like bussing tables and dishwashing, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. In the agricultural industry, that number rises to more than half. As a result, restaurant kitchens, food-processing facilities, and commercial farms have been a frequent target for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since it was formed in 2003. But after President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, raids and arrests surged, and not just in the food industry.

During the current administration’s first 100 days, ICE apprehended 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period the year before, according to the agency. But arrests of immigrants with no criminal record represented the biggest statistical increase: that number more than doubled by the end of April 2017. And we have yet to see the results of more recent White House policies.

While these mandates aren’t the only factors contributing to the increasingly severe labor shortages reported at restaurants across the country, they certainly play a part, especially when coupled with ramped-up enforcement at the border. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of National Restaurant Association members reporting labor recruitment as their top challenge more than doubled.

“The tenor of working at Flats Fix became very different,” Ocasio-Cortez says. ICE never raided this particular restaurant, but the fear that they might permeated the kitchen. Immigrant workers, even many who were here legally, began quitting and returning to their countries of origin.

She recalls one long-term brunch chef, nicknamed “Grande,” who’d been at the diner next door (where she also worked) for 15 years. “He ran the line like clockwork,” she says. The Coffee Shop, as it was called, had once been an iconic New York City establishment, even a regular setting for Sex and the City. But after Grande returned to Mexico, the workers who were left couldn’t keep up with demand. “You can’t hire that back. That stuff takes years to perfect,” she continues. “Our kitchen got all messed up. We had to change our brunch menu because we couldn’t handle the same volume of orders anymore.”

Last month the Coffee Shop shut down.

06262018 CoreyTorpie ElectionNight 8

Photograph by Corey Torpie

Ocasio-Cortez celebrating her primary win.

Ocasio-Cortez’s platform is one built on her own life experiences. Her push for universal Medicare strikes a particular chord with the more than 85 percent of restaurant workers whose employers do not offer health insurance. Her proposed doubling of the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 addresses the income imbalances brought on by the tipping industry and the 40 percent of restaurant workers living in near poverty. Even her calls to abolish ICE tie in to the frequency with which immigrant restaurant workers are targeted.

“It’s one thing to put your head in the sand,” she says, “but it’s another to actively disrespect and hate the people who feed you. Because honestly, that’s what a lot of this anti-immigrant rhetoric is about. You’re hating the people who feed you, which is a pretty messed-up thing.”

It’s this conviction, perhaps, that allowed her to win a seemingly unwinnable primary, even as a young, unknown, and underfunded candidate. Taking a seat in the House of Representatives never seemed out of the question.

“Even when things looked their worst—like in January when it was just me and my partner in our apartment and I was bartending full-time while challenging one of the most powerful members of Congress—never did I feel like I didn’t have a shot,” she tells me. Her communications manager is signaling we’ve run out of time. “Because I’m an organizer. I’m on the ground. I know my community. We acknowledge that all this shit is stacked up against us, but we don’t get to give up. We don’t have the luxury.”

She pushes her chair back, gets up to go, her taco only half eaten.

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These Paris Restaurants Prove That There’s Something New-School In an Old-School City

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It used to be that New Yorkers—especially chefs—wished they were in Paris. Now everyone opening a restaurant in Paris wants to be in Brook-LEEN. In the 10th and 11th arrondissements, young chefs are forgoing the Michelin route to start their own lo-fi, high-energy spots where open kitchens, mash-up menus, and scruffy servers are the norm. How not-stuffy are they? Many of these places are vibey natural-wine bars that happen to have creative chef-driven food. You can dip in for a five-euro glass of Gamay—imagine!—and a dish or two without strapping in for a whole “experience.” It’s that kind of effortless French chic that we can never seem to re-create after our vacation—luckily, we’ll always have Paris.

It wouldn’t be accurate to call Camille Fourmont the godmother of natural wine in Paris—she’s only in her 30s! But her tiny DIY-distressed wine bar has converted many a drinker to the noncommercial side. Her spot-on palate extends beyond interesting wines: Even without a kitchen she assembles unforgettable plates from the country’s best raw, cured, fermented, and jarred ingredients. Trust us when we tell you that you will eat a bean off a toothpick and rank it among the best bites of your trip, if not year. So, yes, it’s worth waiting for the chill regulars to leave so you can snag one of the empty seats or an inch of the zinc bar.

paris city guide 1

Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Vibing in Paris at the construction yard turned hip restaurant-wine-bar hybrid Yard.

The closest Paris has to an American-style bar—if bars in the States drew so many good-looking 20-somethings in search of the next underground wine release from the Auvergne that the crowd spilled into the street for an impromptu weekend hang. (One can dream.) Tapas, like tacos made on a crepe iron, absorb all that funk. If you’re really hungry, Oliver Lomeli, the young Mexican filmmaker who owns this spot, also runs Café Chilango next door, where you can sink into queso and tostadas.

In addition to having the coolest design we’ve seen in ages, Déviant is an open-air destination for the Le Fooding set, where the only things missing are windows and chairs. Sure, you could just order pét-nat and hang at the snazzy terrazzo bar, but Pierre Touitou, chef at sister restaurant Vivant, is (literally) right there in the kitchen. You can rack up a few seasonal small plates—the spicy wings, which are simmered in a tamarind-galangal glaze for ten hours, have the sole permanent spot on the menu— without spending a fortune, leaving you wiggle room for a bottle of something intéressant.

paris city guide 3

Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Tender octopus with fresh peans brings all the boys… er, everyone to Yard.

Husband-and-wife team Omar Koreitem and Moko Hirayama have something magical. Their alchemical combination of Middle Eastern, Japanese, and French food, natural wine, and life-altering cookies is why this place bubbles over from breakfast until they leave to pick up their kids around 4:30 p.m. It’s casual and welcoming even to clumsy tourists and generous in both flavor and spirit. Whether you’re ordering a bowl of clams with chermoula and a cloudy glass of white or a slice of halvah cake with buckwheat tea, you’ll feel the magic.

Here it’s all about yakitori and…pasta! (And a funky wine list, of course.) The Japanese-style counter seating encourages you to focus on the food in front of you—in this case, binchotan- grilled skewers of poultry (try the pigeon), fish, and vegetables—each of which has its own brilliant flourish. There’s also a pasta of the day (maybe with liver, if you’re lucky) and other inventive bites from Franco-American chef Robert Compagnon. And because this is still Paris—and his wife and partner, Jessica Yang, worked pastry at Guy Savoy—the desserts are not to be missed. Order the 49-euro tasting menu and feel sorry for people eating at uptight three-star places.

paris city guide 2

Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Sipping wine at La Buvette.

Getting a table at Bertrand Grébaut’s Septime is worth the effort—there’s a reason it’s on the World’s 50 Best list—and so is securing one of the handful of stools at Septime La Cave, its spin-off wine bar nearby. This is the kind of place you wish you had in your hood: an atmospheric but relaxed little bar where you can enjoy a zippy pét-nat, a plate of thinly sliced ham, and some thoughtfully assembled seasonal dishes that Grébaut could easily serve as an amuse at his mothership—all for under 25 euros. La vie, she is not fair!

Sur Mer

Originally the seafood offshoot of the seminal natural-wine bar Le Verre Volé—still a must— young Belgian-Ugandan chef Olive Davoux bought the space last year to showcase her talents. Imagine raw seafood with gochujang mayo and Bordier seaweed butter, or an octopus bun with XO sauce. And you can have it all at lunch for under 30 euros. Or dip into Davoux’s Asian-accented creativity at night, sit at the communal tables, and drink a lot more wine.

paris city guide 4

Photo by Xavier Girard Lachaîne

Hanging out at Déviant.

Some come for its well-respected Mediterranean-ish food, like the stunning grilled peach salad with almonds. But this airy restaurant also attracts a devout following among natural-wine-bar owners and cult-wine importers. (You’ll find them Instagramming the latest Patrick Bouju bottles.) Recently, wine merchant Clovis Ochin, who made Action Bronson’s natty wine a sold-out success with Bouju, became a partner at Yard, expanding the space and increasing the wine focus with a bigger bar. Lunches are mellow affairs, while weekends go off the rails in a delightful way.

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A Local’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Detroit

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While Coneys and pizza are the most well-known Detroit food, the thing most argued about here is toum. This Lebanese garlic emulsion is the cousin to aioli and allioli, and its construction and personality are equally specific, differing, and well-guarded. Rarely called by its actual name, it’s often referred to as garlic sauce/dip/spread, or gruntingly, “garlic.” Omnipresent at Lebanese restaurants in metro Detroit, toum is slathered inside shawarma, eaten a forkful at a time on meats, and melted on fresh pitas. My current toum fave is at new-school banger Kanun Grill, but the Best in Show year after year is Beirut Bakery, where a touch of egg white turns it so airy and smooth that it becomes something closer to mousse.

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