I try to avoid “trendy” restaurants in Paris because the noise levels are generally high and the food standards low. But when asked to choose a place for a reunion of a group of friends, I decided to give the brand-new Yacht Club a chance.
It turned out to be the perfect place for us with its rollicking atmosphere and – surprise! – great food. It was a bit noisy, it’s true, but not excessively so for those in a celebratory mood. The live piano music right next to us contributed to the noise, but it wasn’t overwhelming.
The Yacht Club has taken the place of Jean-Frédéric Guidoni’s restaurant Jean, a former standard-bearer in Paris. Although it’s far from any port, the decor in pale blue and white has a seaside feel, and the shark’s head sculpture on the wall is straight out of the film Jaws.
The servers were all charming and professional in this extra-large (for Paris) restaurant with Mediterranean influences (the owners, Luc Sananes and Olivier Chini, are also the proprietors of Les Niçois).
We were advised to order two dishes apiece, but we quickly overshot that goal after sampling and loving the first round. A great favorite, quickly reordered, was the matchstick fries with Parmesan, thyme and truffle oil, but we also loved the razor clams with garlic and parsley, Iberian ham, butternut squash with toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil, crispy squid with tomato sauce, sautéed gambas with lemon juice and Kampot pepper, Sardinian fregola, cheese croquettes and deep-fried octopus with tomato sauce. The only thing that was good but not out of the ordinary was the feta cheese. The one vegetarian at our table was able to choose from six options, which the meat-eaters also enjoyed.
For dessert, the succulent “Captain’s” baba au rhum was acclaimed by all, as was the chocolate mousse with hazelnuts, but the lemon tart with basil was a bit dull.
Eating at the Yacht Club was a good lesson for me: forget your a prioris and try everything! I’m looking forward to going back and hope I will have as much fun as I did the first time thanks to the food, the servers and my friends.