NOTE: THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED
About a year ago, a friend strongly advised me to go to the restaurant Cru. Although I greatly value her advice (it was Grace Teshima, a friend to many in Paris), I guess I was put off by the idea of eating a whole meal of only raw food, although it certainly could be excellent if done well. It turns out that I had nothing to fear: only a few things on the menu at Cru the night I ate there were actually raw, no more than at any other Parisian restaurant.
Three of us went there to celebrate my visiting sister Anika’s birthday. We liked the place immediately, with its banquettes, stone wall, and designer chairs
and light fixtures, probably purchased from one of the antique shops we could see through the big window looking out on the pretty courtyard of the Village Saint Paul (a fabulous, quiet place for a fine-weather meal). We also liked the friendly greeting of the manager, her willingness to speak English when needed and especially the way she offered us a free glass of champagne when she heard it was Anika’s birthday.
Anika, in a vegetarian mood, started with the soup of the day, chilled pea and asparagus. It was delicious, made with fresh seasonal vegetables from
Terroirs d’Avenir, purveyors of quality vegetables from small producers. Michael and I also went vegetarian for the starters. He had the artichoke with parmesan
cheese, mixed green leaves and truffled vinaigrette on a bed of puréed artichoke, which tasted like a distillation of the vegetable. He ate it up, both literally and figuratively. I had the green asparagus
topped with the poached egg and a tasty sauce vierge.
The main courses were slightly less popular with us, although Anika really enjoyed the large plate of spring vegetables the chef willingly made up for
her, which included some of that wonderful artichoke purée, along with peas, carrots, celery, artichoke and tender fava beans. They do have a way with raw vegetables here.
Michael thought his raie (skate) was good but
found it unpleasantly fiddly to eat with all those bones. He actively disliked the accompanying sautéed vegetables, although I thought they were just fine.
I had chosen a near-raw dish for my main
course: duck breast tataki with saté sauce, a very generous serving of nearly raw meat, which I found it difficult to finish even though it tasted fine. I especially liked the Chinese cabbage salad with a citrusy sauce that came with it.
I was less pleased with one of the desserts we
shared, which was called a millefeuille but was mostly whipped cream with some strawberries prettily arranged on top and a few paper-thin leaves of pastry. The other
dessert, chou pastry filled with with chocolate mousse, was more to my liking.
Although I wouldn’t say that the food was uniformly excellent, I would say there were many fine moments, and the highly agreeable atmosphere, reasonable noise levels and friendly service made the few little bumps seem unimportant. I will definitely go back, especially in summer, when the manager promised that there would be more raw dishes on the menu and the quiet courtyard terrace will offer a welcome breath of fresh air.