Destinations Magazine

AT Restaurant in the 5th: If You Liked Sola, Kei, Aki, Etc., You'll Love AT.

By Johntalbott

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8.0 AT Restaurant (named such for chef Atsushi Tanaka), 4, rue Cardinal Lemoine (next to Chez Rene) in the 5th (Metro: Cardinal Lemoine), 01.56.81..94.08 (but they're terrible about answering) is one more very minimalist place, from its signage with the AT logo, to the giant charbon chip in the window (more about that later), to the wall sculpture, to the 3 no-choice (except for allergy substitutions) "menus" - 6 (actually 8) courses at lunch for 45 E, 11 at dinner for 85 E and a wine-pairing one for 150 E.  Despite the lack of reviews since it opened 2 weeks ago (excepting Wendy Lyn's who recommended it to me last week and Yves Nespoulous of Le Fooding's) its 19 covers were filled today with one of my favorite TV personalities, 2 critic/food-writers, a boisterous table of - of all things - French folks - and one fellow but not pesky Yankee.

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- So the first dish arrived, a smaller version of the charbon chip on a bed of what?; everyone in the room looks at everyone else to see how they are going to eat these grains or whatever until I ask and am told they're black and white salt crystals meant for holding the chip not for eating.  Off they go.  Then came out (I'm remembering 25%, not remembering 50% and getting 25% wrong):
- an orange moussey thing with what looked like tiny young pickled beet bits
- a slice of lukewarm veal with rhubarb to be eaten with a fascinating giant tweezer
- three lumps of cool Breton lobster with daikon and many other things
- a perfectly cooked piece of (what must have been marinated, it was so flavorful) cod with a spring onion
- really, really bland foccacia with olive oil - the only missed step - drop it chef, it's a loser
- a healthy, under-cooked strip of duck breast from Madame Somebody-or-other in Challans, with a parsnip puree and root and tiny pickled onion slices
- a dessert of raspberry, cheese, beet and sorbet
- magnificent, terrific coffee, pricy (4 E) but making up for the weak foccacia.

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I was advised (correctly) that white wine would go best with the meal and the Catevela was nice but at 35 E a bottle a bit much, although 12 E a glass is not much better.  In any case, the bill for two persons taking the 45 E menus, a bottle of Catevela, 2 coffees and none of their self-filtered water, would be 133 E.

Go?  Better do it before the big boys discover it.  Just skip the 4 E self-filtered water (Chef - it's tacky if not illegal to not serve tap water when asked!)

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A bonus, the Orient Express Car is parked in front of the Monde Arab just a few meters away.

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