One night last week, we ventured halfway across Paris to experience the new culinary sensation that is Roseval. Located in the bustling quarter of Ménilmontant, this bistro seems a bit out of place amongst the kabob shops and couscous houses that are its neighbors. At the same time, it fits right in with the works of the major street artists that have decorated this quarter. The restaurant is located next to a huge mural done by the street artist Zoo Project, in a quiet plaza, removed from the noisy boulevard de Ménilmontant.
The exterior of the restaurant is unassuming, not even marked with a name. This simplicity was a theme that would repeat itself over the course of the evening. Outside is a small terrasse with several tables, perfect for enjoying a quiet summer meal in the shadow of the church of Notre Dame de La Croix. The interior, where we ended up sitting, is also quite small and simply furnished. It is reminiscent of the types of restaurants found in the countryside, with wooden tables and chairs and few decorations. There were also crystal chandeliers to give it a touch of elegance without being overstated.
Roseval offers a 4-course, no-choice menu with an optional cheese plate right before dessert. For a bit more, they also offer a menu with wine pairings. The combinations of items on the menu was often unusual and at first we were not sure how everything would taste. But we trusted American chef Michael Greenwold and Italian chef Simone Tondo, who have previously worked at restaurants such as Rino and Chateaubriand, and dove right in.
The chefs pride themselves on using fresh, seasonal ingredients and creating plates with simple presentations but complex flavors. We started out with potato gnocchi, with pieces of shrimp and pork in a broth. The combination of the seafood and the pork was unexpectedly delicious. This “surf-and-turf” combination would serve as the theme for the entire menu. Next, we had a piece of whitefish on top of bread drenched with a spicy tomato sauce, topped with an olive oil foam. We were impressed by the different techniques used in the dish. Each bite was simultaneously spicy and smooth with a hint of the mild whitefish.
We continued our meal with a plate of duck, mussels and eggplant, complimented by purées of 2 different beans. Our server encouraged us to try each ingredient dipped in one of the bean purées. It was wonderful to taste all the different flavors that could come from one plate. We finished with a brownie drenched in a sauce of pistachio and almond, a very rich finish to the meal.
The service was impeccable, with very little waiting between each course. The portions were modest, though they got larger as the meal went on and left us feeling very satisfied. Roseval offers a wide variety of wines by the bottle as well as several by the glass that are specially chosen to go with the menu of the night. This is the perfect restaurant for a date night or a small group of friends to go out. For the moment, reserving a table is not difficult, but as the buzz about Roseval continues to grow, I would recommend reserving a week or more in advance.Restaurant Roseval
1, rue d’Eupatoria
Paris (75020) Metro: Gambetta, Ménilmontant & Couronnes