Chef David Toutain’s eponymous restaurant has been one of the hottest tickets in Paris since its opening in late 2013. The chef, who gained fame first at Agapé Substance before starting on his own, has been known for his creative take on French cuisine with technical sophistication. After touring the Louvre in the morning (I thought the Met in NYC was enormous, but Louvre was a whole different level), I went over to the Invalides neighborhood to visit this restaurant. A minimalist yet welcoming décor of the restaurant already gave me positive impression.
While the restaurant’s main tasting menus are on the pricier side (with an option for 98 euros and 158 euros respectively), the lunch offers more affordable courses like a 42-euro three-course option and a 68-euro lunch tasting menu option. I went with the 68-euro option that still featured 11 courses including amuse bouche. Throughout the meal, I was deeply impressed with the technical sophistication of the kitchen. Each dish was so meticulously executed with careful thoughts to harmony of ingredients’ flavor and texture.
I was particularly a huge fan of all the seafood dishes that came out. Three pieces of mackerel that came with coffee and eggplant was a triumph of inventiveness. The flavor of mackerel was soothed by coffee and eggplant to create a unique flavor and texture. While cod was perfectly cooked, I was even more in love with the roasted carrot that just had absolutely fantastic texture in harmony with the cod. Smoked eel dipped in black sesame and green apple (a signature dish according to one of the servers) had that rich flavor of French cuisine but I sensed a bit of Asian touch as well.
On the other hand, goose that came with foie gras and mushroom was well cooked but could’ve used less seasoning to enhance the texture of the meat. Even the desserts were outstanding and had a touch of refined brilliance. I had never seen ice cream made of thyme, but its vegetable flavor somehow worked very well with the chocolate. The dessert that I couldn’t stop thinking about, however, was the white chocolate, cauliflower and coconut ice cream. I’m not even a huge fan of coconut flavor in general and never expected to see cauliflower in dessert, but the dish was just so delicious with a complexity of different flavor.
The modestly sized dining room is served by young and good-looking staffs with level of attentiveness and professionalism you would look for at a hotel fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant doesn’t have a list of wines by the glass, but I had some solid sancerre glasses to go along with the tasting menu. David Toutain is truly a place worth visiting in Paris. It will show a more modernized version of French cuisine with the type of technical sophistication and inventiveness of an up and coming chef that avid foodies would certainly love to experience.
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 9.0/10
- Ingredients: 9.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 9.0/10
Address: 29, rue Surcouf, 75007, Paris