Ze Kitchen Galerie, Paris
September 23, 2014
The son of a butcher and a traditional French cook, William Ledeuil has been exposed to Asian cuisine on many trips and, early on, in the 13th Arrondissment of Paris with its Chinatown. He worked for Guy Savoy for ten years. Then, in 2001, he opened Ze Kitchen Galerie. His Asian/French fusion cuisine gained a Michelin star in 2008. Jean and Thomas joined Linda and me for dinner at Ze Kitchen Galerie on September 11, 2014.
The printed menu offers only nine dishes. One can order à la carte or choose Menus Dégustations of six or eight courses. We took the six course option. Except for the trout and cockles first course, our other five were on the menu and I have shown their menu descriptions, but the chef felt free to vary from them. I have had to guess on some of the flavorings.
We ordered a bottle of Condrieu. (I forgot to note down the vintner or to photograph the label, but it was quite good. The sommelier brought a magnum, as is typical here. He put half into a carafe for us.) It was followed by a 2012 Saint Joseph “Poivre et Sol” rouge from François Villard.
Wines of the Côtes du Rhône are said to go well with fusion cuisine, which is not usually friendly to wine, and that turned out to be the case here.
The second course was
Bouillon Thaï de coquillages
moules de bouchot, coco de Paimpol, persil
The foamy, lightly-spiced seafood broth was poured around the pile of mussels, white beans and other good things at the table. I think that the flavors included ginger and lemon grass. They nicely enhanced the other ingredients without overpowering them.
crustacé, condiment marmelade de tomates
The strands of thick spaghetti were dressed with flavors similar to the previous dish. They were on a base of tomato marmalade. On top were crisp pieces of soft shell crab, unusual in France.
Pêche du jour
“chou toute saveur”, jus gingembre-yuzukosho
The fish of the day was lotte, or monkfish. It was covered with a wide variety of cabbages. The foamy dressing was made from ginger and a fermented paste of chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt. The cabbages, sauce and choice of fish gave this dish a more solid, rustic feel than the two previous ones.
A slice of pigeon breast, a deviled pigeon leg, a chunk of sautéed duck foie gras and confit figs were served with a reduced pigeon glaze and a yellow sauce. Very good.
Our meal was very good; every dish was interesting and delicious in its own way. The Asian flavors were evident, but restrained. The dishes followed a natural progression from light to more substantial without varying from the underlying fusion style. There was no cream, butter or flour. The service, led by our somewhat comical waiter, was good; the pace was okay; the noise was vibrant and made it hard for me to hear some of the course descriptions.
In a few moments we came across the chef going up the street towards his second restaurant, Kitchen Galerie Bis. He had stopped by our table midway through the meal and later autographed his book for Thomas. Now he posed for a photo with three of us.
The plaque on the wall behind says (in French):
Pablo Picasso lived in this building from 1936 to 1955. He painted Guernica in this studio in 1937.
It was also here that Balzac set his short story “The Unknown Masterpiece.”
We had enjoyed a lovely evening.