Youpi & Voilà

Youpi & Voilà

Opened last spring, Youpi & Voilà is just one of many neo-bistrots and wannabes that have recently popped up on the Paris scene, but it stands out from the crowd with its genuine southwest-style conviviality. In recent years, French restaurant guides from Gault&Millau to Omnivore have raved about self-taught chef Patrice Gelbart and his village restaurant near Toulouse, Aux Berges du Cérou, where he served a cuisine based on artfully elevated farm-direct produce. In moving to Paris he brought along his grandmother’s wooden table and a philosophy involving what he calls la cuisine philanthropique.

“It’s about preserving small farmers and a diversity of flavors,” he says. “It’s working with products that have a face behind them, and having the fairest prices possible.” Gelbart can tell stories about the men and women who produce every herb, fish or wine he serves—and there’s time to listen to them. In a city all too rapidly forsaking its own tradition of dining pleasure, with restaurants packing in diners elbow to elbow before rushing them out the door to make room for a second service, Gelbart serves only single sittings for both lunch and dinner.

“Parisian life is hectic enough already,” he says. “You don’t need that when you go out to eat, too.” He may seem a bit gruff at first, but Gelbart and his team strive to create a relaxed atmosphere where diners can enjoy one of sommelier Jean-Philippe Morice’s selection of excellent natural wines while savoring four courses of instinctive, incisive cooking. A few examples: lightly pickled mackerel fillet with fresh horseradish; pumpkin soup, raw foie gras and mushrooms; scallops with Jerusalem artichoke emulsion and botargo, or poutargue (Mediterranean cured fish roe); and Limousin beef with celeriac purée, anchovy and fresh walnuts. For dessert? Black radish “rice pudding style” with chicory ice cream.

8 rue Vicq d’Azir, 10th, Métro: Colonel Fabien. Lunch €20/€25,  fixed price 4-course dinner €38. Wines start at €25.

Price are approximate, per person without wine.

Originally published in the January 2013 issue of France Today

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