Saturday, February 19, 2011

Isse - Paris

Although I am more familiar with the wine bars and traditional restaurants in the 1st, I have noted and read that the 1st is becoming the 'Little Tokyo' of Paris and is chock full of all types of offerings from 5 seat sushi hole-in-the-walls to high-end gastronomique affairs at 100 euros per person, and everything in between. My curiosity was peeked and I was ready for a change-up from steak frites.

Having walked past the windows the night before I was taken by Isse's clean decor and array of sake bottles, so we walked in and were ushered downstairs as the upstairs was full. And as I am no expert on Japanese cuisine or sakes we invited the server to throw down 4 to 5 courses paired with a variety of sakes which we all shared.

This has proven to unnerve some restaurants we have visited recently for some reason but I think it is a great way for a restaurant to showcase their best offerings. I know for a fact that at La Poste we would welcome the challenge, but as Isse had been only open (or, re-open) for a week I forgave their shyness and welcomed their grace.

Across the board the food offerings and sakes were enjoyed and there were some favorites. All in all it was a most enjoyable night and although I am no expert on sushi (and avoid all the half-off offerings in Cincinnati) I would say that the quality and freshness of the raw fish was the best I have had to date.

Isse is part of a four venue chain which includes a grocery store with sake tastings and a light lunch. It will be on my next stop to "Le Petit Tokyo de Paris" after crossing off a few more wine bars on the to-do list.


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