Dersou won the award at Omnivore Food Festival for the best opening of the year, which made it apparent that I needed to go immediately, if not sooner. What a freakin’ gem.
Chef Taku Sekine, who formerly worked at stellar restaurants Saturne and Clown Bar, and barman Amaury Guyot, who co-founded Sherry Butt, founded Dersou. They are a force to be reckoned with, bringing their cooking & cocktail-ing skills together for a tasting menu that’s unique and worth talking about. Taku is barely peering around the pole above, and Amaury has a blurred face below. You are welcome.
If you want to reserve, then you have to sign up for the no-choice tasting menu, which is either 5 or 7 courses paired with cocktails rather than wine.
Hence the two barmen stationed in front of us all night, shaking and stirring without ceasing. We went for 5 courses, and asked to sit at the counter, since that’s where all the action is. Just like our front row seats at the Paris Popup, you get dinner and a show with an open kitchen, so why wouldn’t you?
We received an amuse bouche (if you can call it that considering its size) of chou rave, a type of cabbage that is decidedly uncabbage-like, drenched in a perfectly spiced kimchi sauce that I wanted to spoon out of the bowl.
Meanwhile, we watched co-founder Amaury hand carve giant cubes of ice for our first cocktail, and I became instantly aware that none of my knives are sharp enough to cut through ice. Or make ice sculptures, or produce finely shaved ice for any impending snow cone cravings, all which were achieved before my very eyes. The knife envy was real, and it was strong.
Cocktail 1: Sherry, apple juice, lemon, & rose petal powder, served over that lovingly hand carved ice cube, custom cut to fill the glass, and to show off how superior their knives are.
1st official course: A tartare of mackerel, cauliflower, iced fromage blanc, and horseradish
Course 2: Duck dumplings in duck bouillon made with Hanoi herbs & cilantro
Cocktail 2: Pisco, honey, lemon, lavender, cucumber & ginger with toasted almonds glued to the side of the glass with the best tasting of glues, honey.
My roommate and I thought this almond & honey posing as margarita salt idea was a clever trick to see how ridiculous and/or slutty we all looked while trying to lick the side of our glass to get to it. Were you on a date, this particular cocktail would put you in a precarious position to not appear to be lewdly propositioning your date.
Cocktail 3: Brazilian rum with rhubarb syrup, beet powder, and lemon
Course 4: Pan seared duck breast with black rice, quinoa, pumpkin, ginger, & cilantro
Cocktail 4: Reduced orange juice, sherry, smoked oak
Course 5 (Dessert): Beet root ice cream with blood orange and beet chips
Cocktail 5: Cherry blossum syrup, wheat syrup, whiskey infused with brown butter (yes), carrot, and lemon
Although 5 cocktails would normally be excessive, they obviously take this into account in the strength/size of each drink, so we didn’t walk out the door tanked from our meal. The cocktails were good enough that I would come by just to get one before a dinner elsewhere in the area, though I would have difficulty resisting the urge to stay.
I feel fortunate enough to have snuck in a weekday lunch before they decided they will also be offering the ever beloved Sunday brunch in a couple weeks, so basically I need to go back for brunch, lunch, cocktails, and dinner.
If you want to forego the tasting menu at night and eat a la carte, then you can get on the waiting list or just call right before to see if there are seats available. I don’t recommend that anyone do this, though, because I want there to always be a seat available for myself at any given time.
21, rue Saint-Nicolas
+33 9 81 01 12 73
Open Tue-Sat 7:30pm-12:30am plus Saturday lunch 12-3:30pm
Sunday brunch 12-4pm
Reservations only accepted for no-choice tasting menu; walk-ups for à la carte
90 euros for 5 courses + 5 cocktail pairings; 130 euros for 7 courses + 7 pairings; 15-20 euros per dish à la carte