The Latin Quarter, around Rue Mouffetard and Place de la Contrascarpe, was positively roaring the other night, with every café and restaurant terrace packed with mostly young people raucously enjoying themselves. Luckily, I had reserved a table for two at Narro, an island of calm and good food in the midst of the pandemonium and cheap eateries.
Inside, quiet jazz music was playing on a good sound system. Friendly servers smiled and brought a glass of wine while I waited for my dinner companion in the pretty dining room with colorful patterned textiles, marble tables, some exposed brick walls and a little raised platform on one side of the room with a table for four under a white neon sign spelling out the name of the restaurant. Fancy hanging light fixtures, supplemented by little lamps, provided soft lighting for a cozy atmosphere.
Narro is yet another Parisian restaurant with a Japanese chef, Kazuma Chikuda, but there were few signs of his origins on the menu. One exception was the starter I chose: tataki of amberjack, served with paper-thin slices of radish, citrus jelly and fennel salad, a fantastic and refreshing blend of brightly flavored ingredients.
My dinner companion had a wonderful starter with just the opposite qualities: an earthy, warming organic œuf parfait (an egg slow-cooked to perfection) with mushroom “cappuccino” (fabulous mushrooms), chestnuts and Bellota chorizo chips to contrast with the subtle flavors of the rest of the dish.
He followed that with the catch of the day, maigre (meagre), served with risotto, tarragon-flavored bisque, cauliflower and puffed rice with Parmesan cheese. Another subtle blend of flavors, which he found highly pleasing.
Once again, I had a dish with more pronounced flavors: squab (which the French more honestly call “pigeon”), roasted in soy sauce and served with roasted carrots and parsnips and a sauce made with ceps. The generous serving of meat was pink, as it should be, and wonderfully succulent. A perfect dish for the beginning of autumn.
For dessert, we shared the sinfully delicious cookie “dough,” which thankfully was not too gooey and was made even more sinful by the addition of vanilla ice cream, caramel and lots of crushed nuts.
The wine list seemed a bit pricey, but we found a lovely 2018 Coteaux Bourguignons Pinot Noir from Michel Magnien for €35.
Thanks to Narro, there is no longer any need to avoid this part of the Latin Quarter if you have outgrown your rowdy student years and want an excellent meal. Go, eat, drink and enjoy – in peace.Favorite