An attractive interior is only one of Dix-Huit’s attractions.The owners of Dix-Huit didn’t show as much imagination when naming their restaurant as they did when creating the menu and the casual-chic decor, with colorful cushions on the banquettes, a big sculpture of sticks and a rotating ceiling light fixture shaped like the spokes of an umbrella.
We got there early, one of only four people in the restaurant, all of us English-speaking, and were given a charming welcome by the staff, two waiters and a waitress.
The menu offered four choices for each course. My visiting American friend Tony chose the
Utah Beach oysters with a sauce of green mangoes, ginger and fennel. There were only three of them, but they were big, fat, fresh and juicy, and enhanced by the brightly flavored sauce. I had a richly delicious and original
Thai-style soup made with black pudding and shimeji mushrooms, with extra flavor and crunch added by crispy fried shallots.
My main course was Basque noix de veau
(round fillet of veal) with black-bean sauce and parsnip purée, accompanied by a few baby carrots and some bok choy for good measure. With its quality ingredients and subtle blend of
flavors and textures, it was satisfying and delicious, as was Tony’s pintade (guinea fowl) with turmeric-flavored sauce, perfectly cooked tiny potatoes and Tuscan cabbage.
For dessert, we planned to share the calamansi and lemon cream with physalis fruit, Italian meringue and combawa. They brought us two
servings by mistake, but we let it go and quickly devoured this utterly brilliant dessert, its tart lemon and exotic fruits contrasting wonderfully with the sweet meringue and cookie pieces. We were glad that we each had our own. The servers must have realized the error, however, because when the bill came, the price of the second dessert had been deducted, a much-appreciated sign of good will.
This was an all-round fine meal. Not surprisingly, by the time we left, the good-sized restaurant was packed. You don’t need 18 reasons to go to Dix-Huit. Here are three good ones: delicious, creative, high-quality food; charming service; and a great ambiance. Oh, and the address is easy to remember.