Our fifth week in Paris: Magma, Le Petit Boutary, Parcelles, Qui Plume La Lune, Chocho, Coda, Ilô

Magma - We met a friend at Magma to check out this hot new place in the 11th written up glowingly by Paris by Mouth, Le Fooding, SortiraParis, Parisbouge and LePoint. In order to really sample what Chef Ryuya Ono was all about we decided to all take the 7-course tasting menu. We started with a shot glass of butternut velouté, so perfectly hot and seasoned I was sure we were in for great things. Then our courses started arriving and all of the dishes looked mouth-watering (aside from the acid-green sauce/oil that appears in almost every one), and indeed the veal tartare, oyster, octopus, lieu jaune and porcelet were the absolute perfection of excellent sourcing, freshness and preparation. But something was off. At first I thought my taste buds had gone dead, until our friend said “muddy” and “no structure.” Then R chimed in with “no character”. It was like the Emperor’s new clothes. We were seeing, or rather tasting, the bare food on the plate, which by itself was okay, but without the chef’s magic that layers flavors to create a memorable culinary experience. Except perhaps for the fresh oyster with kiwano melon seeds and gochujang oil or the veal tartare/seiche amuse, every dish tasted flat. Even the lieu jaune cooked just the way I like it (i.e. barely) was set in a tasteless broth and the ubiquitous parsley oil. As I mentioned, everything, including an incredible heritage porcelet, was cooked perfectly. Maybe our palates are spoiled by so much exceptional food, but I’d like to think that they’ve become more discerning. But all was not lost - all of the tables were filled and the place was lighthearted and lively. Clearly this is a place we’ll have to try again in awhile to see if maybe the chef has found the wow factor for his beautiful plates.

Le Petit Boutary - Most people probably wouldn’t trek across town for this small place in the 17th, but we did and on a rainy day to boot. It may be small and modest, but Le Petit Boutary is a very charming bistrot with soul. Our relaxed charming server had us set up with drinks, water and bread in no time at all. Next came a warm and comforting velouté of potimarron with a rice crisp, a seared scallop on roasted salsify with a couple of brussels sprouts and sauce vin jaune for a starter, then daurade rôti or carré de cochon for a main, both beautifully presented with fall veggies: broccoli rabe with the fish, young purple carrots, baby onions and turnips with the pork. Great fall desserts. We could see why this is a favorite of so many locals.

Parcelles - I’ve already described Parcelles, (see Our Third Week in Paris) so I won’t repeat myself, but if you want to know more about Parcelles, click here to read Alexander Lobrano’s excellent article about the restaurant. This time we shared our evening with French locals we have known for years.

They loved it and said they planned to return on their own or with other friends.

Qui Plume La Lune - Ever since we saw this attractive looking restaurant across the street from Korus on rue Amelot, we wanted to check it out. It seems that Jacky Ribault is the owner and the chef is Jean-Christophe Rizet. We were familiar with Ribault from his restaurant L’Ours in Vincennes where he presides over the kitchen. But since we hadn’t been to L’Ours since 2019, we decided to give Qui Plume a try. I had no idea what to expect. Well, it turns out the 3-course lunch for 65€ was sensational. The flavors and combinations I thought exceeded even the new Granite, although R thought they were about equal. So hard to judge any place when you’ve only been one or two times. The ambiance at Qui Plume was relaxed enough but I thought the staff were more engaging at Granite. I think I’d have to visit many of our favorites on this trip several times more before I could really compare. I think we’re all looking for that perfect combination of superb plates in terms of tastes and creativity, a good wine list and an interesting ambiance that has the possibility of that indefinable element of soul. And really, why bother to compare at all? They’re all different and will appeal to some and not others depending on so many personal and extrinsic factors.

Chocho - I was a little uncertain about ChoCho from what I had heard about it being kind of a tapas place where you order several small plates off the menu and share. But now that we’ve actually had a meal there, I wouldn’t call what they serve tapas, but certainly plates that are meant for sharing although that’s not even necessarily required. For the two of us our delightful server recommended we choose four plates and we ended up selecting two lighter plates that might otherwise be entrées and two seafood and meat plates. So kind of like normal ordering, except we shared everything. Let me now jump to the bottom line: everything was fresh and delicious, and prepared right before our eyes since we were sitting at the kitchen bar counter, and just as important the place is lively, fun, really an utter delight. Thomas Chisholm (born NY, lived in France since he was 13) is the chef and has everyone justifiably exclaiming over the lively dishes and flavor combos he’s creating. A great Sunday lunch.

Coda - Coda is located the old Détour space, so it was a bit nostalgic returning there. The chefs are Pauline and Vincent DaCosta who apparently divide up the work. And from what I’ve read they put in a lot of work and care in their dishes. Thus, Vincent will cut down an entire animal to get the size and type pieces he wants. They also make some of their own charcuterie and fermentations in house, such as mortadella spiced up with a house-made kimchi. You can actually taste the special care taken in each plate. The night we were there Vincent was in the front and Pauline in the kitchen. I’m not sure that’s the way it always is. In any case, Vincent spent a lot of time with us explaining each of the menus items (they keep it small) - all on a chalk board. He was so charming - you could tell how immersed he was in all the details of making a fine meal. We will be back!

Ilô - Ilô is a small French/Japanese fusion restaurant in the Saint Paul area of the 4th. I read a little about it on some foodie site, then Parn mentioned it as a delightful hole-in-the-wall, or something like that. So our expectations were quite high, and it’s only about a 15 minute walk for us. When we went there for dinner Tuesday night we were the first to arrive, but shortly behind us were seven more, so the restaurant was about half-full. Our first courses, and dessert totally lived up to our expectations, but with the main course the meal became a “disaster”, as Carmenere might say. Small overcooked pieces of pork supposedly “caramelisé” (which sounded delicious) were instead coated with a dark Chinese tasting five-spice sauce that was quite bitter. Next to this on the plate was a partially braised quarter head of lettuce. I had really thought our dinner would be more like the many we had enjoyed in the past at Abri. Until we hear from several people otherwise, we will not be back to tiny Ilô.


Hot, glowing Magma, huh? Someone’s writing is on fire… :smirk:

Thx again for the write-up!

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Your reports are wonderful, thanks so much on sharing them :slight_smile:


Too funny! Well, the words were just flowing, virtually erupting from my head, and I wasn’t even aware of it. Must be the Mauna Loa effect.

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Thank you, oferl! I hope these little write ups are helpful to some. One more week to post.

But dear Carole, we don’t think you’re nuts… :grinning::grin:

[for non-Americans confused by the reference, see here: https://www.maunaloa.com/ ]

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So happy to read all of these! Qui Plume La Lune has been on my short list a while…am eating at Granite on my upcoming trip in the space where I would probably have put Qui Plume, so I thank you for a future trip…for sure I will go! These reviews are just great and incredibly helpful. Also, I think you must stay in much the same spot I do when I am in Paris, and Le Peloton is my coffee spot there, too! (I think I remember this from some posting of yours along the way.) Anyway, merci!!!

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Yes, in my mind Granite and Qui Plume La Lune are neck and neck. Either one would make me happy.

So, Ninkat, we have to figure out a way to meet up at the Le Peloton when we’re both in Paris (November for me next year)!

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You will have to send me your dates! I will try, though I will probably be around in September, but might try to sneak over for week in between!

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Brava! Lots of great info in here - thank you!

I knew I had read something about Chocho on HO and I finally found it! Thanks for your nice little write up @sfcarole and I’m going to reserve for our first Sunday night in Paris in May. It’s only a 10 minute walk from hotel and it’s been hard finding a place that is open on Sunday, is close by and casual but good food. And as always thank you @ParnParis for suggesting it in your great summary of places around the Hotel National des Arts et Metiers.

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I don’t think you can go wrong with Chocho, and the varied menu would make it perfect for a first night choice.

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Yes, we’ll be taking Eurostar over from London in the afternoon and then husband has a long work day on Monday so it sounds perfect. Still waiting to pounce on a Parcelles reservation for that week plus another Parn rec sounds great-Brigade du Tigre-started by the Eels chef’s. Trying to go to new places this visit.

Brigade de Tigre looks very interesting. An A-/B+ from Anthony Lobrano. I guess Adrien Ferrand is running both Eels (which we love and have visited many times) and Brigade de Tigre. But the food looks so appealing at the latter; I have to try it.

I note on Parcelles website that May 10 and 12 are available for dinner. Monday, May 15 is not yet open for reservations, but should be in the next day or two. Keep checking!

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Got my Parcelles reservation for Friday, May 19. During the week there seemed to be everything available but Friday night was going fast so I had to grab a 7:15 spot. Also have Bistrot Tournelles, Kubri and ChoCho reserved. One night my husband has a late panel he’s on, so we may just check out the Italian restaurant at our hotel, National des Arts et Metiers, or do Ramen or udon noodles at Kunitoraya.

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Well done!

For the night you were thinking of the Udon Bistro Kunitoraya, which closes at 4:30 pm, I would instead head east on rue Réaumur toward Square du Temple and check out the really lively wine bar Le Barav (with a nice small plates menu) on rue Charles-François Dupuis; or L’Îlot on rue de la Corderie for oysters; or the wine and cheese bar Monbleu Le Comptoir on rue Dupetit-Thouars (res. probably required); or any of a hundred other places in this lively evening quartier north of Square du Temple.

Unfortunately Le Barav is closed Monday night. The udon place we like is open 7-10 that night, but we may just eat at hotel late. Going to be a long work day for husband and the hotel has a rooftop terrace and maybe they serve small plates up there. Maybe we will check Le Barav out on Wednesday night in keeping with my vow to eat at new places all week. I also wanted to check out Brigade du Tigre but not sure if they’re open that week.