The problem with highly-anticipated restaurant openings is that between the trainings, slow openings, PR dinners and invitations for journalists, it becomes impossible to book a table in the first few weeks. And so for us at Le Fooding, we can’t always cover certain new spots the way we’d like. We had to wait three weeks, from the day we made our reservation to the day of our dinner, to secure two small seats at the bar so we could show up anonymously and pay our own bill. But for once, it was well worth the wait! Why? Because in this rough (stone) world, Israeli chef Assaf Granit (Balagan) practices his sweet scales for an enamored crowd, gathered around the marble bar that’s wrapped around the candlelit central kitchen! Created with his accomplices Dan Yosha, Uri Navon and Tomer Lanzman, this magical den will grab you by the heartstrings (dishes inspired by the Jewish tradition, opera playing in the background, infinitely kind staff) and win you over with its generosity! Our à la carte dinner was sprinkled with unexpected gifts (challah bread, a small soup served in a mocha cup, a small dish of lamb shoulder and preserved lemon…) and presented on magnificent tableware: delicate pumpkin and labneh ravioli with tarragon-infused brown butter; sweet figs and dates stuffed with beef, bone marrow, root vegetable brunoise and pine nuts; lovely grilled leeks stuffed with crème fraîche and topped with chanterelle mushrooms and capers; melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef with freekeh, eggplant caramel and dukkah spices sprinkled on top; before, a big ladle of chocolate mousse, sprinkled with Maldon salt and olive oil – plus some added extras (a spiced compote here, some pistachios there). Fair warning: despite all those “on-the-house extras,” you should expect to pay around 100 bucks per person – but it’s worth it! // Jeanne Leroux
FEELING THIRSTY? There’s an ecumenical wine collection: a Venetian Pinot Gris from Frassinelli (€7 a glass), an Austrian white from the Domäne Wachau (€12), a Fleurie from Julien Sunier (€70 a bottle)… Along with Canadian Neige ice cider (€12 a glass) and, of course, small shots offered by the house – eg: gin, orange and carrot juice.
PRICE: Appetizers €8-19, mains €26-46, desserts €12-14. Tasting menu €81.