What’s a Neo-bistro?

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My favorite Paris restaurants these days are Neo-bistros: small places, run by chefs with vision.

These chefs are classically trained, and gained recognition at grand, Michelin starred venues, in France and abroad. Then they stepped away from the constraints of the star system, to forge their own culinary paths.

Their restaurants are tiny; some fill with as few as 16 diners. And they’re affordable, with lunch formules costing as little as 24€, dinners a bit more.

Market-driven tasting menus change daily, and their originality and precision outweigh the lack of choice when ordering. I’ve come to look forward to letting the menu lead the way.

I’ve tried ingredients like Japanese dandelion and pouce-pieds, a mollusk hand-picked from the cliffs of Spain—which I might not have ordered if I’d had more choice.

I’ve also been delighted by surprising combinations of taste and texture, like white chocolate & parsnip purée, and wild mushroom soup with a hint of espresso, in the form of cappuccino.

Here is good article on the Neo-bistro trend, featuring 3 chefs — Greg Marchand, Yves Cambdeborde, and Bernard Doucet — who continue to dazzle.

Are you a Neo-bistro fan? What’s your favorite Paris Neo-bistro?

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