More than ever, Paris is a magnet for ambitious young chefs from all over the world. The latest cook to join the growing foreign talent pool is American Kevin O’Donnell, who worked in Italy and at New York City’s excellent Del Posto before teaming up to take over L’Office with French business partner Charles Compagnon. In an ever more gastronomic corner of the 9th arrondissement, L’Office was a good little restaurant in its previous incarnation, but it’s even better now. O’Donnell and Compagnon have given it an attractive makeover, with low lighting and sea-green walls curiously hung with a hunting trophy or two. The blackboard menu changes daily, but starters served at a recent dinner demonstrated O’Donnell’s inventive Italianate style—a serving of oven-roasted pork belly came with a fried egg, a rich puree of slow-baked tomatoes, a few leaves of arugula and a scattering of pickled red onion, while white bean soup was garnished with a large crouton topped with a few spicy sprigs of wild fennel and a transparent ribbon of lardo di Colonnata—pork lard cured and aged in marble basins in Colonnata, Italy. Main courses were excellent too: a rich “pot-au-feu” that was actually more like a deboned osso bucco and a juicy, alabaster chicken breast slow-cooked for hours before a final grilling, served with girolles, celery-root puree and pickled radishes. A “melting” chocolate cake with grilled bananas, hazelnuts and banana ice cream was pleasant enough but didn’t compare to the casual but confident culinary elegance of the main meal. Reserve well in advance.

3 rue Richer, Paris 9th, Lunch menus €19, €24; dinner €27, €33.

Prices are approximate, per person without wine.

Alexander Lobrano’s book Hungry for Paris is published by Random House. www.hungryforparis.com. Find it in the France Today Bookstore.

This article was originally published in the January 2012 issue of France Today.


Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

Previous Article Live from Aix-en-Provence: Day 4
Next Article Lacoste

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *