Considered as one of this generation’s great chefs – David Toutain, of Agapé Sustance fame, opened a restaurant under his own name in 2013 to much fanfare. Vegetables play a starring role here – he understands produce and shows them tremendous respect. Each dish has a certain muted quality and elegance; simple in the way it looks but very complex in the way it delivers. It’s what you’d expect in a one-Michelin star restaurant, which he did receive. Textures and tastes are his playground – flexing muscles honed by years under the apprenticeship of famed French legends Marc Veyrat and Alain Passard. Under Veyrat he learned new techniques and was able to play with new ideas and exercise creativity. With Passard he learned to love the humble vegetable as well as gain a new understanding and respect for nature and its seasons.
I chose a “3-course” omakase-style prix fixe lunch for 55 euros. Jerusalem artichoke with a whipped white chocolate was a teasing start to begin showcasing his creativity. Asparagus from the south of France paired with yuzu, smoked egg yolk and parmesan crisp offered a surprise and stunning encore to what would continue to appear on my table. Eggs would reappear again when floating in a caramel cream and cumin, with a perfect consistency to the yolk - nearly lava-like. Grilled eel with black sesame pudding is a nod to Toutain’s delicate but playful use of Asian elements. Cod with carrot purree and blood orange sprinkled with mini-tapioca beads (resembling roe eggs) were again playfully prepared but was the absolute star of the meal - the fish perfectly slightly underdone. A pre desert of what could only be described as a deconstructed Snickers bar began the journey towards dessert, followed by a crispy corn crème brûlée topped with hazelnuts and a coffee ice cream center. The finale came in a white chocolate rosemary macaron cookie (sans ganache), with a Jerusalem artichoke in the form of a churro. The final result: Toutain is a master in not only his kitchen; but one of the best in all of Paris - his dishes sing and I'm one extremely happy customer; tremendous value and stunning cuisine.
29 Rue Surcouf
75007 Paris, France