September 2020: Covidzilla put a serious halt to Otonali’s feasts. Formerly hidden in the heart of the corsair city of Saint-Malo, Covid restrictions caused the overly-narrow izakaya-esque spot from serial restaurateur Bertrand Larcher (who runs roughly 20 establishments in both France and Japan) to practice hari-kiri. But some 15 months later, it’s been reborn on the docks! What should you expect from Otonali 2.0? A port-side ambiance with raw materials (waxed concrete floors, unfinished walls, solid wood tables), a few neo-industrial touches, appetizer-main-dessert combos instead of small plates, and the ever-brilliant fare from chef Yasu Hayashi. We devoured all the following the night we went: a comforting potato salad with finger lime and Jean Lepage ham; stunning Breton lobster maki served with ginger and apple confit; deeply flavorful tuna and scallop sashimi; then delicate bites of ginger-marinated chicken fried karaage-style, and a delicious pork tonkatsu; before a mighty fine green tea crème brûlée and an addictive buckwheat ice cream. // Yvonne Gambetta
FEELING THIRSTY? A cosmopolitan and highly Japanese collection put together by sommelier Carine Bigot, featuring sakes (nigori kijoshu served warm at €15 for 150 ml, tasting flights of junmai, junmai ginjo and kijoshu at €15 for three shots) and fruit liqueurs – like the Akaï Umeshu plum liqueur flavored with red shiso (€8). And in the middle of all that, a few well-chosen wines, including a Loire Melon from the Domaine de la Sénéchalière (€48).