Since affordable rents made the 11th arrondissement the most popular for young Parisian chefs opening their own restaurants, the scene in the 5th arrondissement’s Latin Quarter – traditionally one of the capital’s youngest neighborhoods but increasingly recently gentrified – is rather quiet. It’s no surprise then that chef Tomy Gousset’s excellent new contemporary French bistro on rue Monge became an immediate hit.
This charming little dining room with artful decor of wooden vegetable crates on the walls, bare oak tables, caramel leather banquettes and Edison bulb lamps quickly drew a distinctly local audience of students, academics. and creative with an intriguing and reasonably priced menu. which reflects the impressive career of the young chef of Cambodian origin.
After studying at École Ferrandi, the best culinary school in Paris for professionals, Gousset began his career under the direction of chef Alain Solivérès at Taillevent, then worked under Yannick Alléno at Meurice, then made a stint in New York at Daniel, chef Daniel Boulud Three-star Michelin restaurant. Inspired by New York’s culture of free and infinitely cosmopolitan dining, he returned to Paris and took over the kitchens of Pirouette, a restaurant in Les Halles. “New York really opened my eyes to new ways of cooking and eating,” said Gousset, who opened his first restaurant, Tomy, in the 7th arrondissement, in 2012. Now he’s capitalizing on the success of his first restaurant with this excellent new table.
“Hugo & Co is comforting, easy-going international cuisine and good times to chill out,” added Gousset, and that’s exactly what I found when I dined here with a friend during a dinner party. ‘a recent rainy night.
We started by sharing several of the small plates that start the menu. We both loved the grilled pancake with a grilled topping guanciale, pecorino and arugula, marinated salmon with beetroot and horseradish, and a bowl of wonderfully lactic stracciatelle cheese with black olives and gomasio, which we ate with the excellent bread they serve here.
Then, a deeply satisfying Japanese inspiration tonkatsu-a breaded pork cutlet topped with a fried organic egg and a red curry sauce with a side dish of black rice and marinated red cabbage, and a more local dish of braised beef with green asparagus and panisses (lightly fried chickpea flour dough bars). We drank an excellent bottle of Dão blanc with our meal, and ended up sharing the mango ice cream with tapioca and white cheeses, a pleasantly refreshing dessert that benefited from the texture of tapioca.
“It’s kind of like a place you might find in Brooklyn, right?” The tattooed chef said with a smile when we chatted with him at the end of the meal. And yes, indeed, this place has a hip, laid-back Brooklyn sensibility, both in the kitchen and in the dining room. But wherever you live, this is exactly the kind of restaurant everyone would love to find just down the street.
48 rue Monge, Paris 5th. Phone. +33 (0) 9 53 92 62 77. Dinner for two € 70. www.tomygousset.com
From France Today magazine