Barbus carpaccio drizzled with sweet miso.
56, rue de Boulainvilliers, in the 16th Arrondissement.
01 45 20 18 32. Tues–Sat, lunch and dinner.
While Paris is obviously the place to go for the native French cuisine, it hasn’t hit the same stride as most cosmopolitan cities in offering diners a wide array of ethnic food options. Though there are quite a few places where you can get sushi to go—or on a conveyor belt—I’ve struggled to find good-quality Japanese cooking at a Paris restaurant. So it was with extreme jubilation that I accepted an invitation to a fairly new Japanese restaurant in the 16th Arrondissement called Kura.
Sleek dark wood covers the floor, tables and armless cushioned chairs. There is a counter with a view of the small open kitchen if you’d like to watch the live action, or you can sit in the Japanese-screened back room if you have a large group or want some privacy.
Lunch offers several menus of sushi, sashimi, fish and meat options, all in the above-20-euros range. Dinner is more serious business, with a 55 euro chef’s menu that drops to 45 euros on Sunday nights. You can order à la carte at dinner, but if you’re going to have at least two courses, it makes more sense to order the menu.
I went to Kura on a Sunday night, a notoriously difficult evening to find a proper meal in Paris, let alone a Japanese one. I ordered the chef’s menu, which started with a seafood amuse-bouche filled with an overly creamy salmon salad. I relaxed upon receiving a large plate of carpaccio of barbus, a flat sea fish, drizzled with sweet miso. The fresh seafood kept coming, with several generous pieces of tuna and daurade sashimi. The fish was all top notch.
Nigiri: tuna, salmon and daurade.
We then had a choice of mains, and I opted for the recommended lamb chops. They proved to be juicy and flavorful, and a nice transition after the courses of fish. We weren’t done yet, though: oddly, a miso soup followed. I had never seen soup served after an entree, but it did cleanse my palate and primed me to re-enter the world of fish, now with pieces of tuna, salmon and daurade. Though I was a little perplexed by the serving order, I found the nigiri a lighter, more refreshing way to finish the meal than the meat.
Dessert was a large bean cake cut in two and served with green-tea ice cream. Both were more savory than sweet. It was a different taste, but overall a very enjoyable Japanese meal.
In a nutshell: Kura offers sophisticated Japanese dining with a range of Japanese-influenced plates, from raw to well-cooked seafood and meat dishes.
Price check: Menus run between 21 and 25 euros at lunch and 45 and 55 euros at dinner.
If you like the sound of Kura, you might also like Sola. Read the review.
12, rue de l’Hôtel Colbert, in the 5th.
01 43 29 59 04. Lunch and dinner, Tues–Sat.
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