Passage 53** – Paris
Passage 53: ‘Inventive cuisine in a city kept secret place’
Chef: Shinichi Sato
Paris has so many culinary delights and for this trip we followed some blog recommendations, posting about a great gastronomical walk through Passage’s menu.
Restaurant Passage 53 can be found (after a good stressful hunt) in an authentic covered small street. The Passage des Panoramas is the oldest passageway in Paris and located close to metro Grands Boulevards. Chef of the house is Shinichi Sato, a young Japanese chef trained @ Mokkaido, L’Astrance, Aida, Gagnaire & Mugaritz. The modern French cuisine of this young chef was quickly rewarded with a first star and last year even a second** Michelin star was celebrated.
The restaurant is very romantic and with only around 17 seats, the smallest 2 stars we have visited. Service wise 5 hosts were waiting in this minimalistic decor to exceed guest’s expectations. The interior was recently renovated with a nice wooden floor, black chairs, classical set tables and white walls. Even the artwork is mainly white driven! Seating is very comfortable and not crammed. After the challenge of climbing upstairs on the steep winding iron staircase, you can have a glimpse of the tiny kitchen.
There is no menu exposed on the website but also no printed menu in the restaurant. The chef is serving you a ‘Menu Surprise’, which differs per table. A bit similar to another Paris experience we had @Agapé Substance. Will this visit be as stunning again!
It was not easy; taking note of all pieces of our culinary walk as there was no menu or farewell note. Luckily we managed quit well in describing the main ingredients of a ‘Surprise Menu’.
Tempura of Baby artichokes, saffron mayonnaise & foam of mussels;
Oysters, shaved foie gras, granny smith & sorbet à la reine des près (queen of the meadow);
Calamari, cauliflower purée & shaved raw cauliflower;
Turbot, shells, cabbage, turnip, dill & mushrooms;
Coquille St. Jacques, Jerusalem artichoke, chestnut & agrum;
Foie gras poached & baked, coulis of clementine & jasmine;
Smoked cochon de Dordogne (pig), parsnip, jam & jus of bergamot;
Poulet de Bresse, roots, truffle & a creamy cereal risotto;
Lemon & lychee;
Banana & chestnut Mont Blanc with chestnut cream and ice of Pedro Ximenez;
Fresh & mousse of tangerine with tonka and jasmine;
Poached pear, cream, cinnamon & caramel;
Chocolate tart & caramel of tonka;
Describing all courses in full detail would lead to an endless post but walking through the menu, the use of top ingredients was very clear. Sato impressed with unique and innovative creations where respect of ingredients and pureness stays central. Their signature dish with cauliflower and calamari was very elegant and refined. The pairing of Coquille St. Jacques with chestnut, Jerusalem artichoke and agrum was excellent and very intense. The foie gras dish on the other hand could not convince us totally.
For quality in Paris you need to pay some more, but honestly spoken it should be advertised before getting the bill. On the website there was no note of a menu with the set price. In the restaurant window frame we did not see any price indication. Even at order taking there is no menu. So be aware as prices went up tremendously in the past years. For the Menu surprise today 130€ per cover is charged while our glass of champagne smiled for 30€ each. I do admit the balanced pairings, delightful innovations and top-ingredients are worth visiting ‘Passage 53’ but transparency is also key in today’s communication.
Our last evening ended with culinary ‘heaven’ in Paris!
Be-GustoPassage 53 53 Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris TEl: +33 1 42 33 04 35 www.passage53.com Sunday & Monday closed Be-Gusto score: 16,5/20