It’s always fun to discover and review a new restaurant, but it’s also important to revisit places that have been around for a while and find out what they have become. When Richard Hesse reviewed Kitchen Galerie Bis a few days after it opened in 2008, his only complaint was about the noise levels, a problem I did not notice at all during my lunch there last week.
Like chef William Ledeuil’s larger and more expensive Ze Kitchen Galerie down the street, Kitchen Galerie Bis has a modern, minimalist decor and walls hung with handsome, colorful works of contemporary art, creating an extremely pleasing ambiance, which was only enhanced by the big smiles on the faces of the youthful, highly professional staff.
The meal started brilliantly with an array of “zors d’oeuvres,” each of which showed
evidence of serious research and preparatory work in the kitchen. A study in contrasts, they included an emulsion of leeks with arugula, coconut milk, lemongrass and golden turnips; a chicken croquette; and a veal tartare with tiny navy beans and a touch of soy sauce. Those three were all standouts, but my absolute favorite was the crab ravioli with tom kha gai (Thai soup) foam and spicy Japanese green pepper. The only one that wasn’t very exciting was the razor-clam tartare.
For his main course, Jean-Christophe, a regular at the restaurant who had invited me to lunch with him at the last minute, had the excellent plat du jour: scallops with baby
vegetables and citrus foam. “For me,” he says, “this is the Kitchen Galerie: fish, citrus and Asian spices.” I was jealous of his light, refreshing dish. Even though I enjoyed my
ground-pork-stuffed lumaconi (big pasta shells) with Thai curry jus and bacon, it seemed a bit heavy after those light and lovely hors d’œuvres.
J-C had to rush back to work, but I couldn’t resist sampling the desserts, so I stayed on alone and ordered the lemon curd with mango jelly and yuzu sorbert. The soft sweetness
of the creamy lemon curd was powerfully offset by the amazingly intense and refreshing sweet/sour sorbet and nicely complemented by the jelly. It was a fine finish to a wonderful meal.
I think regular return visits to KGB are vital. It’s my duty…