Bertrand Grébaut, Le Fooding Guide’s 2012 Man of the Hour
When you see the crème de la crème of Paris, L.A., Milan, N.Y.C., London and Tokyo all logging onto the website www.septime-charonne.fr every three weeks to try to get a reservation once it opens, you could almost forget that Bertrand Grébaut and Théo Pourrait’s Septime isn’t a hashtag-generating machine (#wheresBeyoncé?, #ManuelVallseatsduck!)…. Rather, it’s a graceful restaurant that’s been sending out enchanting compositions for five years now. The proof was on our lunch menu (€32.50) one Thursday in September, with an enchanted garden of heirloom tomatoes, bottarga, croutons and a hypnotic nasturtium sabayon; then, fresh hake from Saint-Gilles and grilled cucumbers, struck by a lively blood-red sauce vierge with blackberries, pistachios and Vietnamese peppercorns; and to finish the meal, fig leaf ice cream with stewed figs. At night? The panorama gets ever wider, with three amuse-bouches and six courses that really shake things up: a broth that smacks of vegetable flavor, chicken baked in clay with a fig leaf jus; turbot with browned butter and fresh almonds; floating island with spiced caramel and a corn velouté…. What else is there to say? That the staff are genuinely cool, the setting mixes industrial and country chic, and that the wines are chosen with care: a thunderous Greek Naoussa red from Dalamaras (€8.50 a glass), Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes from Valette (€64 a bottle), Beaujolais Une Tranche Fine from Philippe Jambon (€42)…. Menus €32.50 and €60 (lunch) and €70 (dinner). // R.deC.