Here, striped Basque runners on tables and a wine list scrawled on distressed mirrors set the mood for chef Julien Duboué’s playful exuberance: a cheeky boudin noir “napoleon” richly layered with apples; a whole magret (duck breast) baked on a bed of grape leaves atop a clay roof shingle. Those without reservations can drop in for some equally whimsical tapas at the tall communal table in the front room—perhaps a wooden clog piled high with crisp-fried calamari? Wherever you sit, end with orange beignettes and a heady shot of raspberry-spiked, unoaked Armagnac (recipe courtesy of the chef’s Basque grandma). Having honed his craft at the luxe Four Seasons Hotel George V, Duboué got turned down by nine banks before securing funding for his new solo venture. Now, his backers must be patting themselves on the back. “You won’t believe how many famous Parisian chefs have been in!” Duboué adds. Hey, why not? They love a good tasty deal just like we do.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.