[Paris 11e] Maison by Sota Atsumi, excellent "traditional" French cuisine

We seldom chose a restaurant by its location (unless it is in the far end of Paris like 16th) By coincidence , several of our last great meals, and the restaurants were all located in 11th district, around République. This says something about hot spots for food in Paris.

You can find a lot of information on Sota Atsumi and his long waited project Maison in French and English, and even in NYT. Sota, originated from Tokyo, his CV includes Joel Robuchon and Troisgros, but his best recognition came from his cooking in Clown Bar. His new project, Maison, opened September this year, is dedicated to a traditional French cuisine serves biodynamic products and natural wines.

I read that the restaurant wanted to give a home feeling, I guess relaxed and comfortable feeling. According to the server, it was a small building converted from an ex-workshop repairing coffee machines, then to an ex restaurant. Sota has added a mezzanine to create the 2 floors. The usage of ground floor at the moment was reception area, a few chairs and a table, a day bed, and a lot of boxes of wine, which was not intended.

The loft-style dining room was located at the first floor with a big open kitchen, as long as the room. People could either eat at the counter, which was interesting to observe the busy kitchen. There was a very long wooden common table and a few individual tables at the side.

We reserved about 1 month in advance. Lunch was only served with 1 menu, a degustation with 5 courses, (or 6 if you would like an additional cheese course).

A few amuses bouches style tarts as first course - Pickles beet with Kalamata cheese, Onion, shallot and comté, veal tartare with an anchovy cream


All of them were delicious.

Tuna from the south western Vendée, eau de tomate, clementine, tarrogon and a cream with zest of kulu with nutmeg. I worried that I heard wrongly the sound “kulu” (syllables very short) and I tried to imitate the same way the Japanese serveuse pronounced, she nodded her head. At first, I was thinking of kumquat, but in fact kulu exists, it is a Japanese citrus called snow lemon. A fine delicate dish.

Red mullet of Noirmoutier, grilled leek, celeriac and a jelly like sauce prepared from collagen of fish skin

Wild duck Col Vert cooked with coal served with chestnut cream, beets and a lovely meat juice, sided with pithiviers with cabbage and foie gras

Cabbage (not very soft) with foie gras below with the same duck juice, excellent

Paris Brest with hazelnuts, pear caramelised with alcohol and vanilla ice cream and basil sauce

Waffle to accompany expresso

We order 2 glasses, a white Bourgogne for me, a red Bordeaux (Château Cazebonne - Graves) for mister. Too bad, my slight headache forbad for drinking more.

Food was well cooked, flavours were delicate and equilibrium. After eating a lot of creative tasting menus, actually personally, I appreciate a return to more traditional food. Service was friendly, though I would say still a bit young. The bread and butter disappeared after the tuna course and only returned with our duck course. My duck dish arrived without the beet, it was corrected instantly with an apology.

Go? Sure! It was an excellent value for a well executed 55€ lunch. Note that the place is spacious, diners shared their meals on a 8 meter common table, but a lot of spaces between each group. Quite noisy when the room was full because of the brick tiles on the wall and the floor doesn’t help to absorb sound, it isn’t a problem for us though.

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The pie before slicing up.

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Lovely looking food, naf. And I agree with you about the tasting/traditional food. There’s certainly a place for tasting menus but, increasingly, I increasingly look forward to traditional 3 or 4 course meals .

But, gosh, that duck is so rare I reckon you could almost get it to breathe again.

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Note that this place is traditional but modernised, I would say. In a truly traditional place, you will never find a nearly raw tuna.

For my own part, I am yearning for more traditional food. After many years of different tasting menus, while they could be good, not many dishes remained memorable. Maybe at times, going back to the root is important for every type of cooking.

We had some problem to separate the skin from the bone. Personally I don’t mind this cuisson, but maybe a slightly more cooked duck would be even better.

The ones that are memorable are, in my experience, the ones that didnt work!

Indeed! I guess since we live in an age of visual surprise and sensation, it is getting more and more difficult to be surprised. But there is always the comforting joy to eat some good that is familiar.

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I tried to reserve about two weeks ago and only made the waiting list. Looks like we’ll have to scratch it this trip.

Too bad. When is your trip?

Normally 2 -3 weeks in advance is about right for this place.

We’re in Paris right now.

Maybe you write to them to tell the days you are available and wish to be on the waiting list, they are quite responsive to mail.

I am on the waiting list.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold