10, rue Volney, in the 2nd Arrondissement. 01 40 15 20 30.
Open Tues–Sat; lunch, noon–3 p.m.; dinner, 7 p.m.–midnight.
Doni, my boss at the Girls’ Guide to Paris, was coming to town, so she asked me to choose a restaurant for us to check out together. This was a somewhat intimidating proposition, because she comes here often and her Paris restaurants are usually chosen by food critic stars like Barbra Austin. As my good luck would have it, that same day, Alexander Lobrano, author of Hungry for Paris, tweeted a rave review of the new restaurant Goust. I did not pass go, I did not collect 200 euros, I did not even take the time to check out the prices or the menu. I simply called and booked.
Three weeks later I found myself walking cautiously up to the Elephant Paname, knowing that I was at the right address but thinking I’d somehow gotten lost. A second later I understood that Goust is on the first floor of this historic cultural center. I was soon comfortably installed in a plush dining room that strikes the perfect balance between old-world charm and clean modern lines. It was luxurious and comfortable at the same time, just as the service was warm and friendly while efficient and professional.
Our waiter recommended the tasting menu with a pairing of wines, but being girls, we were afraid it would be too much for us, and we were both seduced by the dishes on the saveurs ibériques menu. The meal began with a tongue tickler (amuse-bouche) of royale de foie gras with a drizzle of olive oil and pine nuts. I often find foie gras too rich for my palate, but this one was so good that I remembered every element without looking at my notes, and I was inspired to learn that a royale is a form of crème brûlée. The next dish was a spring green cucumber gelée served in a shallow bowl before being covered with a coconut broth.
Chef Jose Miguel Manuel is a Spaniard from Valencia, and we ordered the Spanish menu, so it was completely logical that the sommelier offered us Spanish wines exclusively. I am not a connoisseur, but Doni is, and she nearly swooned over the Hermanos Lurton Rueda Verdejo white that accompanied a perfectly prepared, delightfully crisp red mullet with a potato croquette and an eel garlic sauce.
What had me weak in the knees was the filet ibérique bellota with a pumpkin carrot purée. The meat was formed into two towers like Stonehenge with a crunchy, crispy bridge of delicious goodness connecting the two. It was rich and savory and earthy, and Doni nailed it perfectly, proclaiming, “It’s like comfort food all dressed up.”
After all this goodness, dessert was something of a letdown, featuring a pastry crème cake that was just too dense and too subtle to be really appreciated. But the sweet wine that accompanied the course tasted like spring in a glass, and the mignardises plate had the best pistachio macaron either of us had ever tasted, and the absolutely perfect financier made up for it, ending the meal on a perfect note.
In a nutshell: A very sophisticated, elegant address for a romantic soirée with a very mixed crowd of food and wine lovers.
Price check: Saveurs ibériques menu, 75 euros; wine pairing, 25 euros.
If you liked Goust, you’ll also like Agapé. Read the review.
51, rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, in the 17th Arrondissement. 01 42 27 20 18.
Open Mon–Fri; lunch, noon–2:30 p.m.; dinner, 8 p.m.–10:30 p.m.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable Paris trips.