Paris’s Frederic Simonin: An Excellent Secret

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Sorbets and chocolate mousse
As mentioned, I am but one of the food-obsessed people in my family. My older brother, Matt, and his wife, Yuko, regularly explore great restaurants in Tokyo, where they live, and have come to befriend a 2-star Michelin chef there. On his recommendation, we lunched at the lovely Frederic Simonin. The easy-to-miss eatery on a side street in northwestern Paris debuted less than a year ago, but word has it that Chef Simonin—who worked at Taillevent, Le Cinq, and opened a Joël Robuchon restaurant in London—may be receiving some stars of his own soon.

Amuse bouche

The ubiquitous foie grass–Port reduction–Parmesan foam amuse bouche arrives!
(It’s still delicious.) In tableware news, the Mod glassware of varying patterns gave a playful spirit to an otherwise subdued dining room.

Vegetable salad

This got everyone craning their necks: a “vegetable salad,” but so much more than that. Various vegetables, some raw and some lightly cooked, with an anchovy-laced dressing. (Matt beamed at his shrewd pick.) I kept it on reserve as a final course in case I was still hungry (I wasn’t).


When in France, order escargot (snails)… with hazelnut, lettuce, and parsley sauce.

Scallops with radishes

Scallops with radishes… love the bright presentation.

Egg mushroom truffle cream

This won the appetizer race: a soft-boiled egg in truffle cream with mushrooms and herbs.

John Dory

John Dory with cockles and roasted green onions in light citrus sauce


Calamari with mixed vegetables and fried zucchini blossoms

Sea bass

Line-caught sea bass and rigatoni stuffed with tomatoes, olives, and herbs. The rigatoni might have been a bit fussy; they were better to look at than to eat.


Chicken with (one long) truffle-cream macaroni

Mashed potatoes

Simonin tips his hat to former boss Robuchon with this signature dish of potato purée. As local food writer Barbra Austin put it: “I don’t know if it’s more accurate to describe it as potatoes enriched with butter or butter enriched with potatoes.” (For the record, I thought these were better than Robuchon‘s—more butter, I’m sure!)


Venison and potatoes in a sauce that tasted of, among other things, chocolate

Squid ink risotto

Presenting the victor of the entrées! Squid ink risotto with calamari, scallop, and mussels.

Dessert #1

The desserts arrive for those with a prix fixe (not me)… I believe this was a play on an amandine tarte.

Dessert #2

Death by Chocolate, the French version

Dessert #3

Showing his Wisconsin roots, my brother described this as “caramel cream puffs.”

Pictured at top: Sorbets and two types of chocolate mousse

Waiter and Oliver

Finis! and getting some shelter from the rain outside as we wait for the taxi

Other Paris restaurant reviews:

Joël Robuchon’s 3-week-old L’Atelier Etoile
Nomiya: Art Installation or Lunch?

Christmas Eve dinner at Taillevent

Christmas dinner at Le Cinq

Casual Paris: Le 404 (Moroccan) and Café de l’Alma
Passage 53: We’re going out with a bang
Bonus Paris post: Le Chateaubriand, Darling or Dud?

Related posts:

The Top 10 Things I Learned About Paris
Paris Food Tour: Baguettes, Cheese & Chocolate
Paris: The Last Bits (Photos)

Jan. 11 2011 |
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