The dining room at Coretta.
The owners of the restaurant Neva are staking out their gourmet territory in a previously neglected neighborhood in northern Paris right next to the Martin Luther King Park. They have had the good grace to name their new restaurant Coretta, after the civil rights hero’s wife.
To ensure that you do not have as much trouble finding Coretta as I did, keep in mind that it is on the same side of Rue Cardinet as the park and is housed in a handsome new wooden building.
Waiting for me – along with my friends, of course – when I arrived late was an elegant bite-sized appetizer of mackerel and radish with a touch of mild wasabi, which started the
meal out on a fine note. I chose the set lunch menu at €29.50 (€24.50 for two courses), while my two friends ordered à la carte.
A big “wow” was elicited by one of the starters, listed simply on the menu as smoked eel, pumpkin, yogurt and oats. Sounds like an odd
combination, but the realization and presentation were spectacular: thin slices of raw pumpkin were rolled up into little cones, each one individually filled with cubes of eel, and built into a rounded structure, with the oats and tiny purple flowers and green leaves sprinkled over it. It tasted as good as it looked.
My starter was a delicious, more subtly
flavored combo of raw oysters, “green meat” (a type of radish), cucumber jelly and blackberries.
For the main course, I had the pork belly, with lots of (perhaps a bit too much) flavorful fat. The crackling was so tough that I couldn’t cut it
with my knife, much less bite into it, but the baby potatoes cooked in their skin, perfectly cooked and seasoned, were far better than one would ever expect a potato to be. A few endive leaves and a swish of puréed parsnips finished the dish.
The other two artfully arranged dishes were pollock with artichoke hearts, broccoletti and
guindillas (lovely mild chilli peppers from South America), and half a Colvert duck with
pears, shallots and puréed purple carrots beautifully spiced with star anise and cinnamon.
The two desserts we ordered were also a hit.
For me, a delightfully refreshing vacherin framboise with scoops of raspberry mousse and sorbet with both soft and crumbly meringue. The other was a cinnamon/caramel
brioche, a kind of big, fat, luscious cinnamon roll, served with vanilla ice cream.
This was a very fine meal, served by extremely pleasant waiters and waitresses in highly attractive and comfortable surroundings (a designer decor with lots of blond wood and faceted columns) with a low decibel level. I can unreservedly recommend a visit to Coretta before or after a stroll through Martin’s park.