Restaurant Les Deserteurs in the 11th

image_restaurant_deserteurs

At Les Déserteurs, chef Daniel Baratier’s modern French fare changes daily, and his tasting menus (3 courses at lunch, 4 and 6 at night) are elegant and inventive.

We started lunch with sashimi: thinly sliced raw mullet with grated black radish, watercress, lime and angelica vinegar. Sweet and sour, crunchy and smooth, this starter was invigorating and comforting at once, a pleasure to behold and to eat.

The braised pork belly that followed was succulent, and accompanied by a horseradish sauce flavored with Japanese dandelion. The last was a new experience for me, and was one of the adventurous details that made Les Déserteurs so much fun—and sets it apart from traditional French bistros.

I would have been happy to end the meal with a slice of cheesecake made with vanilla and Earl Gray tea OR a quenelle of mandarin sorbet with a side of crumble. Mais non. The day’s dessert contained both. Like the previous courses, it was a study in subtle flavors, surprising combinations, and beautiful presentation.

Gracious hosts, sophisticated food, and an excellent value: I will return. Reservations advised, as it’s a small place,

46 rue Trousseau, 11th, Métro: Ledru Rollin, tel: 01 48 06 95 85. Closed Sat, Sun, Mon noon.