Destinations Magazine

Pierre-Sang Boyer in the 11th: If the Food Folks Are Flocking, Fly Don't Flee.

By Johntalbott

July-aug 2012 0157.5 Pierre-Sang Boyer aka Pierre Sang in Oberkampf, 55 rue Oberkampf (often thought of incorrectly as named after one more Napoleonic Victory) in the 11th, no telephone, no reservations (thus one needs to show up at the start of service - 12 noon sharp or 7 PM), no choices (Metro: Oberkampf) opened to one hand clapping, that of the famous Ptit Pois back in June.  But once the rentree re-entered the big boys couldn't sign on fast enough, and they are still there (today 3-5).  Once again, I walked past the place, the signage so understated one could easily miss it.

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The chef, Pierre Sang Boyer, is Korean-born, adopted at age 7, Auvergne-raised and a recent winner of the Top Chef TV show whose history is now legend.  My heart sank when I learned he was off today promoting sustainable fish at the Marche St-Germain with actress Melanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus in Inglorious Bastards) but not too far into service he appeared, none the worse for his star turn.

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He has a bit of a sense of humor, evidenced in his names for 2 courses = Simple, 3 = Initial and 4 = Freestyle; of course led by my famous guide, we chose to go whole hog.  The amuse-gueule was a veal tartare with figs that was out of this world.  Wow!

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Technically then, our first course consisted of gambas with a caviar of eggplant and slices of frozen bananas - Whoa! - and our second a joue de boeuf with ginger, sliced carrots, corn polenta, pickled vegetables, lettuce and a sauce that looked all the world like catsup but couldn't have tasted more different.

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The cheese course consisted of one of the nicest pieces of laguiole I've ever had with a most-forgetable coconut cream and date sauce that would have gone better on a sorbet or ice cream and then a granite of white nantines and mint as well as summer-fall fruits.

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The bill, with 4 (really 5) dishes, 2 coffees with really cool glass coverings, great bread, a very nice bottle of wine regotiated between my star-guest and the "som", was 105 E.

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Go?  That's not the question, it's when (at 12 and 1:30 PM there were seats) and where to sit, on the dreaded stools where one sees the 5-6 chefs going at it or at the 4 2-person tables which are more comfortable but don't have the "view."

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