6, rue du Sabot, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 42 22 21 56.
Open Tues–Sat, noon–2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
I was sitting at home reading a press release about a tempting new Japanese place called Blueberry when my partner, who is not a foodie and never cares where we’re going to eat, as long as it is near home, called from his cell phone. “I was just listening to the radio and there is a new place near our flat that sounds amazing,” he said. “I think you’ll love it. Try and get reservations. It’s called Blueberry.” Fate was definitely having fun with me, and I knew that a meal at the Japanese-inspired Blueberry was in my near future. Not a major fan of fusion food, or the tortured stuff coming out of the modern kitchens in Paris restaurants these days, I was somewhat dubious.
The place was fully booked for weeks, but last Saturday, as we found ourselves strolling by between errands, my French man suggested we see if there was a table available for lunch. Two. There were two tables left at noon on a bright Saturday afternoon, when most Parisians are looking for a terrace. I had a feeling we were in for something good.
We walked into the rather unimpressive little space, which had an open sushi bar, and wondered what all the hype was about before passing graphic novel–style signs on the bathroom door and walking into the toy box of a dining room, with bright walls and beach ball–inspired paper lanterns. Lunch was going to be fun.
We ordered two menus, each with Mr. L’s special soup, a salad and two maki rolls: Little Miss Yuzu and Shizo Bomb. The soup was a clear, playfully spicy broth with a small bouquet of vegetables. The salad was amusingly seasoned spinach and arugula with a scoop of cold mashed potatoes, black sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
Then came the rolls. The California roll was good, but not exactly earth shattering, which made my first bite into Little Miss Yuzu all the more thrilling. An explosion of fun, bright flavors burst open joyfully on my tongue, a mellow bit of salmon, with dazzling raspberry, stunning mango and, of course, citrusy yuzu with crispy little sprouts. Delicious!
I couldn’t wait to try the green leaf–clad Shizo Bomb. More scintillating essence burst forth—the yummy, herby shiso, the sweetly pickled yellow radish, with avocado and more salmon to balance out the flavors. And it was all just as pretty as it was scrumptious, putting me in such a good mood, I couldn’t resist dessert.
Not known for being reasonable, I decided we’d try the assortment plate, with a red fruit cup that included whimsical red agar cubes; a coloring-book blueberry tart with a green cream; and the astounding, delightful goodness of a yuzu cheesecake, the perfect end to a marvelous meal in a culinary playroom.
In a nutshell: a delicious playground of flavors rolled into Japanese maki, with a few cooked options for the non-raw crowd.
Price check: menus at €23.
If you like the sound of Blueberry, you’ll also like Yen. Read the review.
22, rue Saint-Benoît, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 45 44 11 18.
Open Mon–Sat, noon–2 p.m. and 7:30–10:30 p.m.