Restaurant Géosmine (Paris)

© Géosmine

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Géosmine? It’s a scientific term to describe the organic compound that gives wet soil its famous smell… And an indelible childhood scent for Sarthes native Maxime Bouttier, formerly of Mensae – so much so that he named his first restaurant after it, with its elegant rustic feel (unfinished wood, waxed concrete, bricks) and clearly stated ambitions. The latter of which translated into a fine dining menu (that wasn’t exactly cheap either), the day we went for lunch: a smoked eel tartlet and siphoned hollandaise sauce, charcoal sesame puff pastry to be dipped into a black garlic cream, as a tantalizing prelude to the meal; vine-ripened cherry tomato salad intensified by rice vinegar and ponzu sauce with lemon hollandaise sauce (again!), to be sponged up with bread from the nearby Graine bakery; haricots verts and ajo blanco hiding diced guanciale, drizzled with chive and leek oil; delicate turbot glazed in fish fumet beurre blanc sauce and brown butter, plus carrots prepared a variety of ways (roasted, purée, and as a spicy condiment) and roasted apricot; and finally, an ultra-creamy chocolate mousse served warm, surrounded by vanilla ice cream, rice flower crumble and cacao tuiles, all dotted with crushed praline and fleur de sel. // Eric Taylor   

FEELING THIRSTY? : A lovely wine list featuring 800 biodynamic and natural labels, with various degrees of affordability (Kalamite, a Gard red blend from Frédéric Agneray at €42), unless you’d rather go all out – a skin-contact gewürztraminer from Achillée at €16 a glass, Patchwork, a Jura chardonnay from the Tissots at €69 a bottle. 
PRICE: : Plates €11-32, desserts €13-15 and set menus €79 and €109 (lunch), set menus €109 and €139 (dinner), food and wine pairings €69-119. 

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