One of the new restaurant Berty’s claims to fame, in the press at least, is that it is run by an all-women team. That seems rather beside the point. The other news hook is that vegetables figure prominently on the menu. That’s true, and my lunch partner the other day was visibly discomfited by the fact. He found his joy, however, in the starter of veal gyozas (Japanese dumplings) and the main course of sardines.
The gyoza were stuffed with some excellent shredded veal meat in an unusual take on the Asian specialty, but the wrapping was not up to par: too thin and a bit tough. The standout of this dish was a silky carrot-and-lemon purée.
The plump and delicious sardines were perfectly cooked and came with succulent, beautifully roasted new potatoes, zucchini and lemon-flavored yogurt.
I started with white asparagus served with cockles, orange and garlic-flavored crumble (I didn’t really taste any garlic; and what’s up with the crumble that we find on so many dishes these days? Another trend that will soon disappear, I imagine). It was an interesting idea, and the ingredients (including a couple of ice-plant sprigs) were all excellent, but they didn’t really come together in an exciting way.
Next, I had tagine-style chicken with confit lemon and couscous with raisins, orange-flavored fennel and some delicious olives. A felicitous touch of Italy was added by an herb pesto. Made with top-quality ingredients, the dish was a success. The other main course on the lunch menu, a vegetable stew, was also an amalgam of flavors from different countries – it came with hummus, naan, fava beans, cauliflower and pickles, a real international melting pot.
While the first two courses were mostly pleasing, the desserts were thrilling. The baba au rhum with vanilla cream was one of the best I’ve had, as was the luscious tapioca pudding with a hint of coconut, served with pomelo sections and caramelized pine nuts.
We also found the decor pleasing, with a mosaic of rough-wood panels inset with indirect lighting on the walls and hanging wooden light fixtures (watch your head!).
Two chefs, Valentine Guenin and Charlotte Thiercelin, formerly of (V)ivre, are at the stove here, while the owner and another young woman (wo)man the dining room. You go, girls.