Les Résistants, a new restaurant in Paris’s 10th arrondissement, has only been open for a month or so and is already packed, upstairs and down. This may be a sign of support for the approach of the three young owners, childhood friends who have traveled all over France seeking out producers of everything from salt and fish to vegetables and wine to find those who are “resisting” by producing excellent products with natural methods that respect the environment and who have not succumbed to the tyranny of the agro-industrial complex. Hear, hear!
Along with the menu, diners are given a veritable book listing all of the restaurant’s current suppliers, with a long paragraph describing who they are, what they do and how they do it.
The partners have kept their promise to provide all this at reasonable prices, probably helped by the fact that they offer only two starters, two main courses and three desserts on the changing daily menu. On the night we were there, the starters were priced at €6.5 and €10, and the main courses at €16 and €18, a real bargain in Paris these days.
Adding to the appeal of the restaurant is the original, attractive and comfortable wood-dominated decor. Hanging over a large table in the center, the focal point of the dining room, are big upside-down basket-weave lampshades with plants growing under them, casting a gentle light and complex shadows on the ceiling. As full as the place was, the noise levels were perfectly reasonable, a big plus.
Already well disposed to the restaurant by the friendliness of the young man who greeted us (one of the partners, Yannick), the pleasant ambience of the room, and a glass of a wonderful 2015 Macon Villages from Julien Guillot with plenty of character, we tucked into the first courses.
One was a thick, rich delicata-squash soup, the sweetish vegetable counterbalanced by a salty chorizo-flavored foam in a winning combination.
The marinated Atlantic bonito was served with a salad of julienned vegetables in a honey vinaigrette.
Mary liked her main course so much that she did not want to share it with me, but in the end she gave in and let me have some of her dumplings stuffed with shredded Berkshire pork, served with celeriac purée.
I was less taken with my golden gray mullet, which was too fishy-tasting. It was served with flavorful carrots and turnips in a sauce studded with raisins.
For dessert I chose the spelt pudding with chai milk, raisins soaked in smoked tea and Armagnac-Ténarèze, which sounded like an interesting interpretation of rice pudding. The sauce was delicious if a bit too sweet, but the big, chewy grains of spelt were just too wholesome for a dessert, and I missed the creaminess usually associated with rice pudding.
Mary was once again better off with a terrific chocolate tart with hazelnut and nutmeg, which looked more like a cookie. That’s my idea of a fantastic dessert.
With our meal we drank glasses of 2015 Les Calcinaires, Côtés du Roussillon Villages from Domaine Gauby: fruity yet clean and well-structured.
While I wasn’t bowled over by every dish, I found the restaurant’s values so laudable and the overall experience of eating there so enjoyable that I won’t be able to resist going back.