Passage 53, Paris
February 14, 2017
Passage 53 opened under chef Shinichi Sato in 2009. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 and a second in 2011. Luc and Laetitia joined Linda and me for dinner there on January 20, 2017.
It is at 53 Passage des Panoramas, a charming arcade of little shops and restaurants, built in 1800. There are only 20 seats. The kitchen is up a narrow spiral staircase. The Maître de Maison, Guillaume Guedj, is proposing a truffle special of the evening.
The Passage 53 website says that: “The « surprise » Tasting menu is a unique experience.” Its page on the Relais & Châteaux website goes further: “Unique in the world: No menu, you just wait and see what arrives on your plate.” Well, this is quite an exaggeration. Many omakase meals are similar. Just in the last year, we have been to The Restaurant at Meadowood*** in the Napa Valley and Akrame** in Paris, which have the same idea. Those two restaurants give you a printout of your meal as you leave. The week following our meal, Passage 53 emailed me the titles of our meal, which I have used below, after the first two dishes in cups, with ingredients I never did know.
Linda and I started with glasses of Bollinger Champagne. The truffle special of two extra courses, at a supplement, was proposed to us and we accepted for three as Laetitia is not enthusiastic about truffles.
We ordered a bottle of 2013 Michel Bouzereau 1er Cru Meursault-Genevrières. Excellent.
Upside down cups were put in front of us. When turned over, there was a jellied soup.
Consommé with a truffled raviolo came next.
Araignée de mer, mayonnaise corail et piment d’Espelette.
There was good spider crab meat under the radish slice with dabs of mayonnaise on top.
Purée de Navets, gelée de radis à l’eau de rose.
A radish jelly with rose water surrounded a turnip purée.
Oursin, mousse de haddock fumé et gelée d’algue « Dulse »
Sea urchin with smoked haddock mousse. Very good.
Huitre poché et foie gras, sorbet pomme verte et cardamom.
Inside the apple rolls with celery slices on top were poached oysters and foie gras. An apple sorbet with cardamom was alongside. An oyster sauce was underneath. Luxurious and nice.
Noix de Saint-Jacques, chou-ﬂeur en velouté et a l’huile d’amande.
Seared scallops dressed with almond oil. A cauliflower cream was underneath and crisp cauliflower shavings on top. The ingredients were fresh, flavorful and went well together.
Lotte, salsiﬁs et artichauts, sauce au vin jaune et noisettes.
A piece of monkfish was served with braised artichoke quarters. It was sprinkled with salsify bits, hazelnuts and truffle juice. Underneath was a foamy, truffled vin jaune sauce. very good.
Riz, oeuf et truffe noire.
A risotto was made with truffle juice and pieces. A poached egg was in the middle. Thin truffle slices were on top. This preparation really brought out the truffle flavors.
Veau de Corrèze , choux vert et de Bruxelles, sauce coquillages.
A piece of milk-fed veal was served with a round of chicken terrine. Underneath were Brussels sprout leaves and a shellfish reduction sauce.
Boeuf de Galice et boeuf fumé, pomme de terre.
A flavorful piece of Galician (Spain) beef with was topped with a sheet of dried beef. Alongside were roasted chunks of potatoes. This was excellent.
Citron, crème, sorbet et gelée.
A hollowed lemon was half-filled with a lemon cream, sorbet and jelly with just the right amount of sweetness.
Mangue, gelée de vin rouge et crème glacée pain d’épices.
Under the wafers were mango pieces, a red wine jelly and an iced spice-bread cream.
Sablé breton, crème pâtissière vanille et truffe, glace à la truffe et copeaux de truffe fraiche .
A generous serving of thin truffle slices was wrapped around a shortbread biscuit topped with vanilla pastry cream and truffle ice cream. Like the risotto, this was successfully designed to bring out the truffle flavors.
The mignardises were dark chocolate tartelettes and madeleines.
Laetitia, Luc and Linda posed in the picturesque Passage des Panoramas as we left.
We enjoyed a very good meal with top quality ingredients, many dishes and impeccable preparation. But I came away thinking that to meet Passage 53’s reputation and potential there should have been more: more successful creativity and surprise. More global touches.
The service was always good and the pace very good. There were always sous-chefs or servers on that spiral staircase coming down from the kitchen. The noise level was low. I would be happy to go back in a different season.