Montalembert

November 24, 2006

3 rue de montalembert, 01 45 49 68 00, http://www.montalembert.com

This small hotel restaurant, tucked next door to Joël Robuchon”s Atelier, is a real find. There are only about thirty seats, some of which are banquettes along the window and others are tables. Mercifully there is no smoking in the dining room. The linens and other fabrics are all beige and brown, and on each table was a vase with tiny birds of paradise. We were only there to meet our friend Myriam, who is the GM of the hotel, but were so pleased that we had that excuse to find this gem of a restaurant.The lunch menu is divided into three sections, vegetal, mer and terre. The four or five dishes in each section are the offered in two sizes, dégustation and gourmet. We each had the small salade de riquette et parmesan (€9). The tartare de dorade royale aux senteurs d’Asie, nori maki de conconcombre (€21), we proclaimed the best sushi ever; and the salade de soba au thé vert, blanc de volaille et sésame was well-spiced. The plateau de fromages de chèvre de M. Fabre, avec confiture de myrtilles maison (€11) was aged to perfection and beautifully selected and garnished.At this point, the chef, Eric Brujan, came out and introduced himself to us. During our conversation, he explained that because his wife is Japanese, many of his creations have a decided Asian influence. We, of course, told him how much we had enjoyed everything, especially the sushi; and he announced that he had prepared a special dessert for us. It was caramelized bits of pear on a whole wheat cake-type crust and was absolutely superb.The hotel is also superb. Not only well-positioned, but relatively small and very elegant with a large and attentive staff. It should be at the top of anyone’s list for great places to stay in Paris.

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