Salt is yet another new gastro-bistro with a great value lunch menu (27 euros for 3 courses) that recently popped up in the 11th. The difference between Salt and similar places (like Le Servan, just up the street), is the vibe, the decoration and the super creative ingredients.
I totally fell in love with their beautiful ceramic dishes, and was so enamored with them I sometimes found myself forgetting exactly what it was I was eating! What was particularly memorable though was the use of fresh herbs I had never eaten before, like clover and all sorts of funky sea-grasses. Don’t ask me what they were called, but who knew such crazy things grew in the sea (aside from the chefs at Noma, that is!).
Seafood oriented with herbal accents
The dishes almost looked like they had come straight out of a pasture, despite Salt’s clear seafood-oriented theme. The staff were extra friendly (still always a shocker in Paris!), and the wine list was great, if not slightly expensive when ordering by the glass.
At the end of an immensely satisfying meal brimming with flavors that were totally new to me, I realized that I had pretty much eaten a carb-free, gluten-free, dairy-free meal that was actually pretty darn healthy! There are no fatty dishes on the menu, only extremely light, fresh yet supremely flavorful creations that change daily or weekly depending on the catch of the day and what’s in season. At night they have a tasting menu for 65 euros that seems to be pretty good, though I’ve yet to try it.
In any case, ‘ll definitely be going back to see what else they’re serving up!
Note: the lovely waitstaff are mostly native English speakers, making Salt a great place to go if you’re visiting Paris and your French is rusty! 😉
Push open the door of the tiny restaurant called 6036 on a Friday afternoon and prepare yourself to get blown away with Japanese ‘tapas’.
There’s only one chef, a Japanese woman who preps and cooks everything by herself. Thankfully, it’s one of the few places in Paris where you can actually get a table at lunch without reserving. It was quite refreshing to eat such a stellar meal and not be squashed or have to wait in line outside for 2 hours to in the rain. So embrace the lack of a lunch crowd (for the time being), and take a seat.
So what exactly is 6036? The number of miles from Paris to Tokyo, this tiny eatery boasts ‘Japanese Tapas’. A misnomer if you ask me, because basically what they’re serving is a tasting menu that you need to share with someone else. So be sure to choose your dining partner wisely (preferably someone you know won’t steal the best bites or eat faster than you!).
The server recommended ordering 5-6 shared plates for 2 people, for lunch. So we happily obeyed, and started with 2 little bowls each of a Jerusalem artichoke purée, topped with what I thought was fresh, raw cream, but in fact turned out to be an insanely creamy yet dairy-free cashew mousse. As an avid soup hater, this little velouté changed my mind in a single spoonful.
The second course, a poached egg surrounded by fresh asparagus and topped with toasted buckwheat grains for crunch had a szechuan-pepper taste to it, without the spice. Now I’m thinking, how on Earth did she get that flavor on the plate without the kick of the pepper? Hmmmm….
The third ‘tapas’ was a simple mache and shaved fennel salad with a wasabi dressing, which surprisingly wasn’t spicy at all. Yet again, I’m wondering how and why (why??) is she taking the spice out of usually spicy ingredients. Guess I’ll have to go back and ask her.
If you’re noticing a pattern here in the dishes, then you’re right: something creamy+something fresh+toasted grains for crunch. It’s a formula that works well and produces exquisite results.
And as each course arrived, the server would give us instructions on how to eat it. The concept is quite interactive, and diners are encouraged to participate in finishing off the preparation of their dish before digging in. Sounds vaguely Noma-esque, no? ‘Poke the egg yolk then mix it with the asparagus,’ or ‘make sure to stir the wasabi dressing first’ and ‘please make sure to eat the fish skin!’ are all instructions you’re likely to hear.
After that we had a delicious piece of fish with a Brussel sprout sauce (sounds gross, was delish!), followed by a stunning, still warm onigiri filled with salmon and trout eggs (and that came with its own comic-book illustration on how to eat it!) and then a meat course with finely shaved, raw mushrooms.
To quench our thirst we downed a couple of glasses of a Silex Chardonnay from Touraine, which at a mere 3,80 per glass, was a delicious contrast to the pricier fare on the menu. If you go for the 6 courses, lunch will set you back about 70 euros for 2 people.
And the special touch? They have what are probably the cleanest bathrooms in any bistro in Paris, with adorable hand-drawn Japanese comics explaining how to flush the toilet and where to throw your hand towel when you’re done. Don’t laugh, clean toilets are not to be shunned in Paris!
The verdict? This place is basically Dersou before it got discovered by Le Fooding, minus the cocktails and trendy unfinished cement wall. The chef and server are adorable, the food is amazing and the concept is great (if you don’t mind sharing your food, that is). The only downside is that the menu is the same at lunch and dinner, and doesn’t seem to change daily or weekly. So it’s not one to put on your weekly lunch roster, but is definitely worth venturing to once every couple months.