Restaurant David Toutain
Inside this beautiful two-story restaurant (hardwood floors, taupe grey walls, Kristalia and Elephant chairs), you’ll find David Toutain behind the windowed kitchen, whipping up modernist plates with a quasi-Japanese purity that sure stimulate the senses. The day we went for lunch, the virtuoso with an incredible résumé (Arpège, Ambroisie, Mugaritz, Agapé Substance) unveiled his Mélisse tasting menu (€90) in 10 masterful courses: a sweet clover fritter to dip in a cream of parsnip/white chocolate/home-distilled sweet clover oil (a flower with a honey-like flavor); graceful red pepper tuiles hiding red orache that’ll have you blushing with pleasure; a delightful oyster and shallot cream topped with a delicate raspberry ribbon; raw cuttlefish sliced extra thin, swimming in a lovely verbena, zucchini and lemon concentrate; cheeky chanterelles electrified by a lovage emulsion; orgasmic porcini mushroom sorbet with a walnut and fried chicken skin crumble, and a light lovage mousse covering an intense porcini mushroom cream; pearly monkfish fillet floating on a memorable chicken jus infused with savagnin, served with fresh walnuts and celery; two cubes of smoked eel over a black sesame cream and tangy, raw, julienned green apple; glorious mallard duck breast (presented whole before being carved at the table) intensified by a whelk jus de cuisson and charred cucumber; before the undeniably good cauliflower, coconut and white chocolate mousse served with an explosively flavorful honey-streaked corn puff. Stunning! // T.K.
FEELING THIRSTY? 700 references that crisscross France under the watchful eye of Suzanne Cochran (ex-Peninsula and Crillon), who has a tendency to choose natural wines: Hocus Pocus, a Marseille white from Fabienne and Lukas Völlmy (€15 a glass), a Loire red from Le Clau de Nell (€70 a bottle), a Condrieu from the Domaine François Dumas (€150), a 2013 Alsace Riesling grand cru Pfsingstberg from the Domaine Valentin Zusslin (€135), Cornaline, a 2013 Baux-de-Provence red from Dominique Hauvette (€90)…
PRICE: Tasting menus €90-250 (lunch), €170-250 (dinner), food and wine pairings +€60-150.